Hit and Run Accidents
After being involved in an accident, it is very common for people to leave the scene. What they may not be aware of, is that leaving the scene of an accident is considered a criminal offense. If you have been involved in an accident, exchange pertinent information with the other drivers and if someone has been injured, provide assistance and call 911.
The information you need to exchange should include:
- Your name and address
- Address of the car’s registered owner
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle’s registration
Consequences of Hit and Run Accidents in Missouri
If you are involved in a hit and run accident in Missouri and leave the scene, when you are caught, your driving record will be marked with either 6 points if a local police officer issues the ticket, or 12 points if the ticket is issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
A hit and run is considered to be a significant offense and you may end up with your license revoked if you get 12 points within a one-year period. Worse than that, if you received the ticket from the Highway Patrol, this offense will remain in your record forever and you can not have it expunged.
When you are in a hit and run accident, you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor. This offense involves a $1,000 fine plus a year in jail. If more serious charges are brought, it could be a class E felony and the punishment would increase to $5,000 and four years in jail. The added penalties may be applied when there are property damages that exceed $1,000, the other party was injured, or this is your second offense.
Recovery in a Hit and Run Accident
If you’re involved in a hit and run accident and the other driver leaves the scene, then insurance companies typically treat these accidents like uninsured motorist claims because you are unable to obtain their information. In order to be able to make an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurance provider, these elements must be present:
- You must have incurred bodily injuries
- These injuries must be the direct result of the accident with an uninsured motorist
- You are legally entitled to collect from the owner of such uninsured vehicle
- Limits of all applicable policies are exhausted by settlement or payment
Actions you Should Take in Hit and Run Accidents
Even though there is no other driver present with whom you might exchange information, there are other actions you may take in these accidents. To begin with, talk to any witnesses who might be around and get their testimonies and information. Take notes on how the accident took place and call the police to come to the scene and make a report. Take pictures of the scene, especially any identifying marks that may contribute to understanding the accident, and photograph the damage that your car suffered. Finally, call your insurance company and inform them that you were the victim of a hit and run accident.
At all points, abstain from making statements involving liability and do not sign any documents that you may be asked to sign by your insurance company unless your Eslinger Law Firm attorneys have given you the green light to do so.
The hit and run accident attorneys at the Eslinger Law Firm are ready to work with you and your loved ones injured in a crash. Give us a call to set up a free initial consultation. We work on a contingency basis so there is no out of pocket cost to you.