Hit and Run Accidents
When a car crash happens, every second counts if there have been serious injuries. If a driver flees the scene of crash, they are not only attempting to escape from liability, they may also be denying medical assistance to those in desperate need of it. The unfortunate statistics seem to show that the number of hit and run crashes are increasing each year. As of September 4, 2012, Pennsylvania increased the penalties for those convicted of a hit and run crash. While the Pennsylvania legislature has increased the penalties for those accused and convicted of fleeing the scene of a crash, hit and runs still happen. If you have been injured in a hit and run crash, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your rights today.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run crash in Pennsylvania is defined as a crash in which the driver of a vehicle flees the scene of the crash without attempting to even stop to identify themselves, to either the other driver or the police. Under Pennsylvania law, even if no one is injured, a driver must stop to provide identification. Under Pennsylvania Statute 75 Section 3742, and 3745, a driver must notify the police department of the car accident, even if they were not responsible or at-fault.
If a driver is caught fleeing the scene of a crash, and there is a fatality, a driver can face one to ten years in prison and will be charged as a second-degree felony. If the crash caused serious bodily harm, a hit and run driver can be charged with a third-degree felony and faces a minimum of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Steps to Follow After a Hit and Run Accident
You may feel confused, scared and overwhelmed. Here are the steps you need to take to protect your rights after a hit and run crash.
- Stop Immediately After the Crash. Stay at the scene of the crash, and if possible, move your car to a safe location away from traffic.
- Call 911. Law enforcement will arrive and a police officer will create an official police report of the incident.
- Seek Medical Attention. Accept the medical services of the ambulance if one arrives, and if one does not arrive at the scene, make sure to seek the evaluation of a medical professional regarding any injuries, even minor ones.
- Visit with Witnesses. If you are involved in a hit and run, it will be important to have witness statements, if possible, especially for your insurance claim.
- Take Photos and Collect Documentation. Take photos of the scene of the crash. If you can remember the make, model, and color of the car or any unique identifying marks, such as bumper stickers or dents, it can assist in the investigation. If you are able to investigate the area surrounding the crash, you may find a paint chip or a broken-off piece of the other driver’s car which could ultimately be useful to the investigation.
- Contact Your Insurance Company. File a claim with your insurance company.
Let Us Help You Today
If you were injured in a hit and run car crash, you have the right to compensation for your injuries. Even if the fleeing driver is never found, you still have legal options available to you to receive compensation. If you or a loved one have been injured in a hit and run crash, contact the car accident lawyers, serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Pittston, at O’Donnell Law Offices today at 570-821-5717 or online for a free consultation regarding your case.