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Why You Should Never Leave The Scene Of An Accident

by Eva Holmes

After an auto accident, adrenaline rushes through you. Whether you're at fault or not, fleeing the scene could be one of those thoughts you get. It's illegal in the United States to leave the scene of an accident. Here are four reasons why you shouldn't even attempt it.

You Will Get Caught

There will be someone who catches you leaving. This person could be a witness who sees your vehicle or someone who snapped a photo of your license plate. There may be security cameras on the street or police may recognize your car later. If you're caught being involved in a hit and run, which is what this will turn into, you will get in trouble. The accident may not have been your fault, but you are in the wrong if you leave and will be punished for that.

You Need to Exchange Information

While there are different rules to go through depending on the state, the need to exchange information is the most standard. You will need to share name and insurance details. This will allow both of you to claim on the other person's insurance.

What about when the accident involved a stationary vehicle? You need to make an effort to find the owner. If you can't find the person, you will need to take a note of the make, model, and license plate and also leave note for the other driver to be able to contact you when he/she returns to the vehicle.

You May Commit a Felony

All 50 states have the same rule for leaving the scene when there has been an injury or fatality: you will have committed a felony. You may not have been the person initially at fault, but you will look guilty and police can press charges.  In New Jersey, leaving the scene can lead to up to 180 days in prison and a fine of between $2,500 and $5,000 if you are found guilty of causing the accident.

In New Jersey, you will need to file a police report if the damage to property is worth $500 or more. Failing to report an accident isn't as serious as leaving the scene, but there will be a fine involved.

It isn't worth leaving the scene of an accident. There is no excuse to do it, and you will likely get caught in the end. Stay and give your details, and if the accident involved a stationary object, make sure you try to find the owner and leave details on a piece of paper. It's better than facing potential jail time. For more information, contact local professionals like Thomas A Corletta.