Why You Shouldn’t Flee the Scene of an Arizona Car Accident
Nobody thinks that they are going to hit another person or be in an accident when they hit the road. In fact, there really isn’t anyone who wants to be in an accident at all, let alone be the sole cause of an accident when they get behind the wheel. Yet, accidents happen all of the time. In Arizona, in 2019 there were close to 130,000 accidents that year alone. Across the United States, there are millions of accidents that take place every year. While you can reduce your risk for accidents by being alert and not distracted while driving, even the most cautious driver still faces some amount of risk for an accident.
When a car hits another car, object, or pedestrian and flees the scene this is known as a hit-and-run and it is an illegal act in Arizona. There are very specific requirements that drivers have when they are involved in an Arizona accident, and they are:
- Stop at the accident scene
- Exchange information with the other party or parties
- Provide assistance to any party that is injured and that could mean manually helping another party or calling an ambulance when the severity of injuries is significant and far beyond anything that you could manage
Fleeing the scene of an Arizona car accident not only puts you at increased risk for civil penalties but doing so now puts you in a position where you will face severe criminal penalties as well.
Repercussions from Arizona Hit-and-Run Accidents
Making the decision to leave the scene of an accident without providing aid to injured parties or exchanging information is against the law. Depending on the details of the hit-and-run you could be looking at a class 3 misdemeanor all the way up to a class two felony. Even with the lowest charge of a class three misdemeanor you could be fined up to $500, spend up to 30 days in jail, and be put on probation for a year. When it comes to felony charges the penalties are much steeper. Jail time can exceed 12 years and fines can be as high as $150,000. Any of these charges may also cost you your license.
An Arizona hit-and-run accident could occur when:
- car hits an object and damages it then flees
- A car hits a pedestrian and flees
- A car hits another car with passengers but no one is injured and the car flees
- A car hits another car and causes injuries or death and flees
Victims of Arizona hit-and-run accidents have two options for obtaining compensation. Should the driver be found and apprehended, the victim can file a civil suit against the driver. If the driver does not have enough coverage to pay for the costs of your damages, it is possible to file an underinsured motorist claim. Not every hit and run driver is identified and found, and when this happens a victim can pursue an uninsured motorist claim through the victim’s own insurance provider. Remember, underinsured and uninsured coverage is not required in Arizona, so you would have needed to purchase this extra coverage in order to utilize it.
Speak with an Arizona Car Accident Attorney?
If you have been hit and injured by a negligent and reckless party, you should know what legal options you have to obtain compensation. The Phoenix personal injury attorneys at ELG can examine your case and explain to you the best path forward for acquiring a settlement. Call ELG at (623) 877-3600 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.