Do You Legally Have To Give Your Details if You Crash Into a Car?

by Joshua Thomas

Accidents can and will happen. Not knowing what to do next after you've had a fender bender can leave you rattled. Knowing what to do and what not to do after an accident can help protect you and your claim. Contact Brown & Gessell for a free consultation about your accident claim.

If you or someone you're with is injured, the first thing you should do is call 911 or your local emergency service number. Getting the medical attention you need as soon as possible can help protect you from worsening injuries and your rights to recuperate damages.

Do You Legally Have To Give Your Details if You Crash Into a Car?

Hit and Run Laws

Hit-and-run laws, also known as "stop-and-give-aid" laws, require drivers who are involved in collisions that cause damages to:

● Immediately stop your vehicle

● Provide the other party with your name and address

● Provide driver's license and car registration if requested

There are two types of hit and run crimes. Each type is considered a misdemeanor or felony offense. Regardless of who is at fault in an accident, hit-and-run laws require drivers to stop and exchange pertinent information immediately. Fleeing in an accident without exchanging information could lead to harsh consequences.

These laws were enacted to ensure that injured victims receive the appropriate financial compensation for their damages. Even if a driver is not at fault in the accident, failing to provide the proper information can lead to criminal prosecution.

Circumstantial Hit and Run

If you crash into a parked vehicle or cause damage to any type of property, you are required to make an effort to notify the owner. If you can't locate them, you are required to leave a note on the vehicle or damaged property that includes your name, address, and information that describes the accident.

Hit-and-run prosecutions are not limited to people driving at the time of the accident. If a passenger encourages an at-fault driver to flee the scene, they could be criminally liable. If a passenger in a car involved in a collision takes the wheel and drives away, they can be held criminally liable.

Let's say you're not the owner of the car you're driving, then it's your duty, as the driver, to stop and provide information about the vehicle owner. If the circumstances surrounding your accident are too confusing for you to bear, speak with a personal injury law professional for a free consultation about what to do next.

If a driver flees after causing an accident yet reports the accident within 48 hours, they have violated the criminal prohibition against hit-and-run, but some states won't hold their tardiness against them in a subsequent criminal prosecution for the hit-and-run.

Protecting Yourself From Hit and Run Charges

Drivers must be aware of an accident before stopping and providing information. Any fact that leads to a reasonable inference that something has occurred is sufficient to prove that the motorist knew about the accident.

Slowing down and speeding up after a collision, the noise of the collision, or the fact that the fleeing party drove a much bigger vehicle than the other driver, could suggest that they perceived the accident.

When Duty Begins

You may be curious whether the duty to stop begins as soon as the collision occurs or solely if damages occur. Each state answers these questions differently. California, for example,

requires drivers aware of both the accident and resulting injury or damages before they are obligated to stop.

Steps To Take After An Accident

Obtaining insurance information can be a pivotal step in filing an accident claim. Another driver's refusal to share their insurance and registration information is not ideal but manageable.

Car accident injury law professionals suggest the following when dealing with the aftermath of an accident:

Getting A Police Report

Call 911, and reporting an accident can help protect you, your passengers, and your claim. The police will write up a report describing the following:

● Time and place of the accident

● Drivers' contact information

● Road conditions at the time of the crash

● Factors that may have contributed to the accident

Your injury law attorney and the insurance companies representing the drivers involved in an accident will use police reports to determine who is liable for causing the crash. The accident report will include all the information necessary to file a car accident lawsuit.

Negligent drivers cannot refuse to provide certain information to the police. Being patient and informing the police officers that the other driver refused to share their insurance information will encourage them to pass it on to you.

Gather Information

While you are waiting for the police to arrive, it can benefit you to talk to any witnesses you see and take lots of pictures from the scene of the accident. Also, check and see if there are any local CCTV cameras or security footage that may provide video evidence of your accident.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Report the accident to your own insurance company once you have the other driver's insurance information. They will collect the other driver's information and speak with their insurance company to determine fault.

The other driver's insurance company may not offer you a fair settlement. They may outright deny your claim altogether. Contact a lawyer if you were injured in an accident caused by another motorist. Car accident lawyers can hold negligent drivers for the damages they cause.

Consult With An Attorney

An experienced lawyer can help you secure a fair settlement from the other driver's insurance company. Insurance companies want to save money, and trials are costly. That's why hiring an attorney can signal to insurers that you're willing to do whatever it takes to protect your claim.

Get The Help You Need from an Auto Accident Attorney

Working with an attorney who can identify key evidence to use in your claim, and protect your rights, is essential to recuperating damages. Experienced accident lawyers understand personal injury law and will use this knowledge to give you reliable advice.

About Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.

He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.

His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.

Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.

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