Failure to remain at the scene of an accident is what is referred to as a hit and run accident. ARS 28-662 refers to the Arizona Laws that are used to regulate hit and run accidents in the state of Arizona. These statutes are in place and traffic laws are enforced to prevent hit and runs and to ensure that all parties involved in an accident receive help and are able to exchange information with one another.
What is a Hit and Run?
A hit and run occurs when there is an accident and one driver has failed to remain on the scene. The driver has a duty to stay until all parties have exchanged identification information and to check if anyone is injured or needs help. Willfully leaving the scene before doing these things, the driver participates in a hit and run accident, which is a crime. It does not matter who was at fault for the accident; all involved parties are required to stay at the scene.
What to Do After an Accident
In any type of accident, it is necessary that drivers do not immediately leave the scene. Failure to remain at the scene of an accident is a crime, so there are some steps that every driver involved in an accident must follow.
The first is that each driver must make an effort to stop his or her car as soon as safely possible following an accident.
After stopping in a safe manner, drivers should check to see if anyone needs medical attention or assistance of any kind. If needed, a driver should call for emergency medical services. There is no one person in charge at the scene of an accident; everyone shares equal responsibility after an accident, so it is up to each involved person to be sure that these steps are being taken.
The next step is to call the police. The police will do another check on everyone’s wellbeing, will document evidence if needed, and will provide an official report of the accident that all parties will need for insurance purposes.
After the police arrive, both parties need to exchange identification and insurance information. Parties should also exchange contact information should they need to contact one another later.
At this point, it’s also a good idea to see if there were any witnesses to the accident. Police officers may talk to witnesses, but it’s also a smart move for drivers involved to talk with witnesses so as to gather what happened and exchange contact information.
After the accident, if you believe that you were not at fault it is a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer, even before contacting your insurance company. The reason for doing this is that insurance companies will likely only want to cover as little of the damages that they have to, often times they will make offers way under what the value of the accident they should cover.
A lawyer will make sure that you have all the information that you need to proceed with both filing an insurance claim or filing a car accident lawsuit. In case the accident does require you to go to court, you will want to make sure that you have someone that knows Arizona accident laws on your side and will fight for what you deserve.
Responsibilities for Different Types of Accidents
Procedures vary slightly depending on the type of accident. In every case, the driver must stay on scene until contact has been made with other involved parties and until it has been determined if anyone is injured or not.
If it was an accident with property damage only, for instance, when a driver hits a stationary object or building, the driver still has a duty to report damages to the property’s owner.
If a driver has an accident with an unattended vehicle, the driver still needs to make every effort to identify whose vehicle was damaged and to contact that person. Most states require that reasonable effort must be made, which could include taking note of the vehicle’s license plate to follow up later, or leaving a note with contact information on the vehicle for the driver to find.
If the accident injures someone, most states require that the driver undergoes reasonable steps to help all injured parties. This includes offering help if possible and also contacting emergency medical services if needed.
Penalties for Failing to Remain at the Scene of an Accident
There are very serious consequences for someone who has a failure to remain at the scene of an accident. These penalties can include traffic tickets and fines as well as jail time. At a minimum, someone who leaves the scene of an accident will receive a traffic ticket; but depending on the severity of the accident and if other parties are injured or not, the driver responsible can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
A felony charge is usually given when a driver leaves the scene of an accident and someone has been injured or killed. A driver who has a failure to remain at the scene of an accident can also have his or her driver’s license suspended or revoked.
Legal Ramifications for all the Involved Parties
Anyone who has been injured in a hit and run accident may be able to sue for compensation and should contact an car accident attorney immediately. Injured parties may also contact the phoenix police department to file criminal charges against the driver who injured them and fled the scene.
Property owners who have their properties damaged in a hit and run accident may also seek compensations and press charges against the people who damaged their properties in an accident and fled the scene.
Failure to remain at the scene of an accident is a crime that can have very serious consequences for those affected as well as for the person breaking the law. Every state has laws in place to protect those who are in an accident with someone who flees the scene, and state prosecution departments take these charges very seriously.
Anyone involved in an accident must do the right thing: stay on site, check for injuries, notify emergency medical personnel and police officers, offer help, and exchange information. Not only is this the right thing to do, but in accidents which cause serious injuries, stopping to check on someone and calling for emergency medical help just might save their life.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.