Liabilities for leaving the scene of a Massachusetts car accident

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2016 | Car Accidents

As a previous post discussed, a hit-and-run accident can be a complicated event to cope with. Not only is a victim injured or killed in a serious Massachusetts automobile accident, but also the driver likely to be at fault fled the scene. This causes an extra layer of complexity because victims and authorities must take additional time to uncover details about the vehicle that left the scene. Victims in Massachusetts and elsewhere should understand that because they were involved in a hit-and-run, does not automatically mean that the driver responsible will not face liability. Nonetheless, it does often mean a longer investigation period.

Leaving the scene of a car accident too soon or immediately following a collision will likely lead to a lengthy investigation process that relies on the assistance of the general public to help locate the hit-and-run driver. In most states, traffic laws require a driver to go through a specific procedure immediately following an automobile incident, and what this entails is dependent on whether the accident caused damage to property, injuries or death. Typically, this means remaining at the accident scene until it is safe to do so, which will likely occur when enough information has been gathered or exchanged.

If the incident was property only, such as a parked car, and the owner is nowhere to be found, it will likely be safe to leave the scene once all the information of the parked vehicle is written down and a detailed note is left at the scene. This information should identify the driver responsible for the crash and their insurance information. Authorities could also serve a role in this scenario.

For accidents resulting in injuries or death, drivers not only have a legal duty to remain at the scene, but to also administer any aid or help to those injured if possible. Additionally, the driver is required to call for assistance from emergency services and to report the crash to local law enforcement.

Therefore, whether a driver believes they injured a person or not, he or she will likely fail to fulfill their duties if they do not stop or remain at the scene of an accident. Those found guilty of such an offense could face traffic violations and even serious criminal charges. Because of that, it is important that drivers remain at the scene of a car accident, no matter the severity of the crash.

In addition to facing traffic and criminal penalties, a hit-and-run driver could endure civil actions. Victims harmed in the crash could file a personal injury claim, helping him or her collect compensation for the losses and damages suffered from the incident.


FindLaw Network