How Common Are Hit and Runs?
Under North Carolina law, if you’re involved in a car crash, you must bring your vehicle to a halt immediately after the collision. A driver who’s been in a car accident must remain with their vehicle until law enforcement has arrived at the scene to investigate the crash. When asked to provide personal contact information and car insurance information, a driver is obligated to do so. Additionally, if anyone has suffered injuries in an auto accident, more able-bodied survivors of the crash should attempt to provide medical attention and call 911.
In 2020, there were nearly 250,000 hit-and-run crashes in North Carolina. Those numbers are a 9% decrease from the year before, but fatalities actually increased nearly 13% between 2019 and 2020. The hit-and-run accidents of 2020 resulted in 105,382 injuries and 1,658 fatalities, with 20% of all hit-and-runs involving pedestrians and bicyclists. The most common causes of hit-and-runs in 2020 were driving under the influence, speeding, lane departures, and distracted driving.
If you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident, you are almost certainly entitled to seek compensation. However, the legal battle to win a fair settlement following a hit-and-run crash is more complicated than other car accidents. It is highly advisable that you retain legal representation from experienced car accident attorneys. Please contact our law firm to learn more about our legal services.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Scene of a Car Accident?
Even though it is illegal to flee an auto accident scene, many drivers still do so. The reasons are many and widely varied.
Reasons that drivers sometimes flee the scene of an accident include the following:
- The driver does not have a driver’s license.
- The driver does have car insurance.
- The driver has an outstanding warrant out for their arrest.
- The driver was driving recklessly or engaged in negligent actions.
- The driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The driver’s license is suspended or expired.
- And, in some cases, the driver was simply afraid to face the consequences of their actions.
Whatever the reason that a driver may choose to flee the scene following an accident, their actions are simply beyond the pale and against the law. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a hit-and-run, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at our law firm. While your case may be difficult after the driver fled the accident, there are still legal options available, and we will pursue every course of action possible to help you recover maximum compensation.
What Are the Few Exceptions for North Carolina Hit & Run Laws?
While the general rule says that a driver must remain at the scene of an accident and remain with their car until the police begin their investigation, there are a few exceptions.
A driver may leave a car accident or remove their vehicle if doing so is necessary to:
- Contact the police or paramedics.
- Prevent you, your passengers, and others on the road from suffering additional injuries.
- Rush to receive emergency medical attention.
Although these exceptions allow drivers to leave the scene of an accident, the drivers are still required to return to the scene of the accident when they are next able. Failure to return to the accident scene could result in the driver facing criminal charges.
What to Do if You’re in a Hit and Run?
While gathering evidence is vitally important to holding the responsible party accountable and seeking compensation, the first step you need to take is taking care of your injuries after a hit-and-run accident.
Even if you feel okay, you should still seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries may take time to present themselves. If you elect to skip medical aid, you may not be able to prove your injuries in a personal injury claim.
If you are well enough, take pictures or video of the scene of the hit-and-run accident. Document as much evidence as possible from multiple angles and points of view in order to capture a complete picture of the accident scene. Also, take pictures of your injuries. If there are any eyewitnesses, ask them for their accounts of the story.
Write down or otherwise document any details you remember about the car that struck you or the driver. License plate numbers would be especially helpful, but the make and model of the car, plus if it had any unique colors or other defining features, can also help identify the driver that fled the scene.
If you have not done so already, call 911. The. police will file a report about the accident and will begin an investigation into the party responsible for the crash. Police will also check for security cameras in the surrounding area, which might help flesh out what happened at the scene of the hit & run.
Report your hit-and-run accident to your insurance company and then contact our law firm to speak with our experienced hit-and-run accident attorneys.
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Experienced with winning cases in and outside of the courtroom, our lawyers will provide you with compassionate and dedicated legal representation as we seek to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
To schedule a free case evaluation with our legal team, please contact our Raleigh law offices at (919) 277-0150.