Involved in a hit and run accident? Being involved in an accident is bad enough when both parties are willing to exchange information. When the other driver is at fault and flees the scene, you may be left wondering if there’s anything that you can do to catch the culprit and avoid having to cover all of the costs yourself.
Unfortunately, hit and run accidents occur on a regular basis, but there are some steps that you can take to help the police to locate the other driver and get the justice that you deserve.
Did You Cause an Accident and Flee?
Leaving the scene of an accident in MA can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending on the type and amount of damage, injury, or death. You can find this information in the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24. You may see this abbreviated as M.G.L. c.90, §24(2)(a).
The penalties for a misdemeanor when there is only property damage can include the following:
- $20 – $200 in fines
- 2 weeks to 2 years of incarceration
If there is a personal injury involved, it is a misdemeanor and you may expect penalties that include:
- $500 – $1,000 in fines
- Mandatory 6 months of incarceration, and up to 2 years
- Suspension of your driving privileges for at least 1 year
Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death is a felony and can result in penalties such as the following:
- $1,000 – $5,000 in fines
- Mandatory jail time of 1 year or prison time of 2.5 years, up to 10 years
- Suspension of driving privileges for at least 3 years
What to Do If You Left the Scene of an Accident?
We understand the stress and fear that can come with involvement in an accident. The law provides that you must report the incident within five days if there was a death, serious personal injury, or extensive property damage according to M.G.L. c.90, §26.
If you left the scene of a collision without exchanging the necessary information, you can still turn yourself in. However, you might want to consider finding an experienced attorney to help you. A lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process and may even be able to reduce the potential penalties that you could face once fault determination has been made. Make sure that you write down every detail that you can remember regarding the accident so that you can discuss this information with your attorney.
Are You the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident?
If you are involved in an accident and the other driver flees the scene without providing you with the pertinent information that you will need to file an insurance claim, there are some steps that you can take since leaving the scene of an accident MA is a criminal offense.
- If you or a passenger in your vehicle were injured in the collision, the first thing that you will want to do is to call 911 for medical assistance.
- Once you are able, you should write down all of the information you can remember regarding the other vehicle and the driver.
- Find any witnesses that can corroborate the events of the incident and obtain their information for future contact by the police or your insurance provider.
- If you are physically able, you may want to take pictures of your vehicle and the surrounding area before your vehicle is moved.
- As soon as you are able, you will want to report the accident to the police and your insurance company.
Even if you are not at fault, you must report a hit and run accident according to M.G.L. c.260, §4B if you wish to have help from law enforcement or your insurance provider.
You can file the information on your own or have someone else do it on your behalf. A lawyer can help you with filing any necessary reports and can provide you with more information regarding deadlines and your rights and responsibilities as the victim of a hit and run.
Were you involved in a hit and run? Could you use some help whether you caused the accident or are the victim? You don’t have to face the situation on your own. Assistance is available.