Knowledge is your first line of defense if you find yourself the victim of a hit and run. North Carolina hit and run laws exist to address drivers who leave the scene of an accident.
However, it doesn’t necessarily help you get compensation for your injuries and property damage if you can’t find who hit you.
That’s why it’s important to understand your options following a hit and run accident and why you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you.
North Carolina hit and run laws mandate all involved drivers to stop, offer necessary identification, and assist if needed.
Opting to flee the scene instead invites stern consequences, such as steep fines, possible jail time, and a likely suspension of driving privileges.
These laws aim to ensure accountability once the driver’s identity is discovered.
Consequences of Leaving the Scene in North Carolina
Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Even stopping but not exchanging information can result in legal consequences.
Charges vary significantly based on specific circumstances and the severity of the incident. Offenders could face criminal, administrative, and civil penalties, each bearing a distinct subset of consequences.
Individuals may face a misdemeanor or a felony charge in a hit and run. A misdemeanor typically arises when there is minimal property damage, or it is not apparent that someone was injured.
It can also be a misdemeanor to stop and not give information when it’s not apparent there was an injury.
Conversely, a felony charge is possible when an accident results in an injury classified as a Class H felony. A hit and run might sometimes qualify as a Class F felony when serious injuries or fatalities are involved.
Misdemeanor repercussions can result in up to 120 days in jail and a fine that is up to the judge’s discretion. Class H felonies can result in up to 39 months in prison and substantial fines.
Class F felonies have more severe penalties, with a maximum of 59 months in prison and even heftier fines.
Administrative penalties are when the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspends or revokes a person’s license. The duration can span from six months to a potential lifetime revocation. This administrative action is separate and in addition to any criminal punishments imposed.
Civil penalties come into play predominantly when the driver is at fault, potentially leading to lawsuits for damages.
In North Carolina, there’s a chance of the court awarding punitive damages, which the law caps at three times the compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is higher.
Steps to Undertake After Experiencing a Hit and Run
Understanding what to do following a hit and run is essential and can impact your potential claim. Initially, documenting the scene is crucial.
This step involves capturing photographs of the immediate environment, your vehicle’s damages, and visible injuries.
Take photos of any roadway features, such as skid marks, structural damage, and debris left behind.
Jotting down intricate details about the incident, with a keen focus on aspects related to the fleeing vehicle, such as make, model, color, and, if possible, the license plate, can prove instrumental.
Your memory is fresh since it just happened, so write down everything you can think of that might help identify the driver.
Promptly alert the authorities. Contacting the police and detailing the event with utmost accuracy adheres to legal protocols and ensures you have an official record of the incident.
Don’t run the risk of the other driver trying to claim later you were the one who left the scene. Stay there and call the police from the location. You’ll want to request a copy of the police report when it’s ready.
Seek immediate medical attention following the incident. Your well-being is essential. Rule out any potential internal injuries. Seeing a doctor right after the accident can also help your claim as it establishes a link between the accident and your injuries.
Keeping records of all related medical documentation, including bills and prescriptions, will be fundamental in ensuring you can substantiate any claims related to medical expenditures.
Then, contact a North Carolina hit and run accident lawyer at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC. We can help you explore your legal options and pursue compensation for your injuries.
Initiating a Car Accident Claim after a Hit and Run
In the aftermath of a hit and run, initiating a claim may seem daunting, but it’s an important step towards attaining your hit and run settlement. Do you have uninsured (UM) insurance coverage on your policy?
If so, you can pursue a claim through your insurance company. It’s important to note that your insurance company handles this like a third-party liability claim.
That means your insurance company acts as though they are the insurance company for the hit and run driver. You’ll need to prove liability and damages, just as you would with any other personal injury car accident claim.
Understandably, most victims want to know how much can you sue for in a hit and run accident. The answer will vary depending on your claim and damages.
Every accident is different, and hit and runs are no exception. If you’re pursuing an uninsured motorist claim, the maximum you can sue for will be whatever your coverage limit is.
Navigating an uninsured motorist claim in North Carolina can be challenging without a strong legal ally. Hiring an experienced lawyer ensures you have someone protecting your rights throughout the process.
Contact Our North Carolina Hit and Run Attorneys at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC
If you’re the victim of a hit and run in North Carolina, time is of the essence. As former insurance defense lawyers, we know precisely how challenging hit and run accidents are.
We also know these companies’ tactics when victims present an uninsured motorist claim. While our firm is only a few years old, we have over 30 years of combined legal experience.
When you need a legal advocate following a hit and run accident in North Carolina, Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, stands ready to help.
If you have questions about your rights under North Carolina hit and run laws, please contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us review your case and help you pursue justice after a hit and run accident.