Often, people assume those charged with a hit-and-run are driving while drunk, do not have insurance, or otherwise have a reason they want to flee the scene as quickly as possible. Sometimes, though, as evidenced by a recent hit-and-run accident, it is a matter of not understanding what constitutes a hit-and-run. In this example, a man hit a pedestrian who was crossing a crosswalk in Columbia. The man pulled over, but upon seeing the pedestrian get up and walk away, he did not get out of his vehicle to check on the man who had been hit. The driver has since turned himself in and faces hit-and-run charges as well as charges for making an illegal left turn. There are several things you can do to avoid facing hit-and-run charges.
- No matter how minor the injuries or damage to property appear, get out of your vehicle to check on people and property.
- Call 911 if anyone requires medical attention.
- Be sure to exchange information with others involved in the crash. This includes at the very least getting other people’s names, phone numbers, and insurance information. You may even want to get this information from witnesses of the accident. Having this information will be important if anyone files a claim, and it can be used as proof that you did not flee the scene.
- Whenever possible, stay at the scene until the police have arrived. If you leave, and the other person or people stay, it could appear to be a hit-and-run.
- If you hit a parked car and you unable to find the owner, you are still required to report the accident. Leave a written note that includes your contact information. Placing this under a windshield wiper or another place where it will not blow away is a good idea. You should also write down information about the vehicle you hit, including the make, model, and license plate number. Then notify the police and your insurance company of the incident.