When a driver is involved in an accident, New York law requires certain actions before he or she can leave the scene. It may be an instinctive reaction to flee the scene, especially if the driver believes he or she caused the accident through some negligence, but it is not wise to do so. When drivers involved in car accidents leave the scene without waiting for the authorities, they may risk criminal charges.
If the accident resulted in property damage, the driver may face additional misdemeanor charges if he or she fails to stop and take the appropriate actions. This means sharing relevant information such as proof of insurance, driver's license information and contact details. If the accident left someone with injuries, the driver is bound to call for police and medical responders, assist anyone who needs help and remain at the scene to speak with authorities. Failing to do so may result in felony hit-and-run charges.
The reasons why people flee the scene of an accident without waiting for authorities to arrive are numerous. Often, someone leaves the scene of an accident out of fear of further legal trouble. This may be because the driver has outstanding warrants, has illegal substances in the vehicle, has no insurance or has been drinking alcohol. Although facing these issues after an accident may be a challenge, leaving the scene may serve only to complicate matters for the driver.
A New York driver who is deemed responsible for causing an accident already has a lot to deal with, legally, financially and personally. Adding charges of hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident can compound matters. Those facing legal issues following car accidents would benefit from the assistance of an attorney.