Getting into a car accident can often seem like a nightmare — it happens so fast, and you will likely be in shock immediately following the crash. Regardless of who was at fault or how the accident occurred, all drivers involved must remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. You might be wondering what happens if you leave before this point.
The answer depends on a number of factors. The Daily Courier cites a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety which found that a driver left the scene in approximately 11 percent of accidents. There are several things to take into consideration when this seems to be the only option.
Staying may incur harm
In some circumstances, remaining at the scene of an accident could put you directly in harm’s way. This is true if your injuries are critical and waiting for an ambulance might be life-threatening. It is also true if you happen to interact with the other driver and find they are hostile to the point of inciting violence. If staying endangers your safety, it may be reasonable to leave.
You need to check for injuries
It is imperative that you check to ensure the other driver does not have injuries. Leaving the scene of an accident when another person suffered injuries or may even be dead is potentially a felony. Once you have checked to see whether the other person has any injuries, you should call 911 so the person can receive medical treatment whether or not injuries are apparent.
Damage may be to property
If your accident does not involve any other drivers, your liability might be substantially less than if you left a scene with other people involved. Accidents that only involve property damage still necessitate that you make contact with law enforcement, though, so you should be sure to report the collision and provide your information in order to avoid legal trouble.