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Hit-and-run crashes aren't legal; stay at the scene if you're hit

When you're struck by a driver who doesn't stop at the scene, you may be panicked thinking you'll be left to foot the bill. Fortunately, if or when the driver is found by police, that driver will have to answer for leaving the scene without stopping to render aid.

Do you have to stop at the scene?

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime, because state laws require drivers to stop and stay at the scene to help those who need attention and to wait for the police or other help. If you leave the scene of an accident, even if you weren't the one who caused it, then you could be found to be at fault and face criminal charges.

Why should you stay at the scene if you're not at fault?

Normally, state laws require that anyone who is involved in a crash stops and pulls over as soon as it's safe to do so. That driver should check on his or her passengers as well as the victims in the other vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. The police or emergency services should be called to the scene; emergency medical technicians help those who are injured while police take a report about the scene.

If no one is hurt or everyone has only minor injuries, then it's possible to exchange information. You should get information including a driver's license, proof of insurance and contact information for the other party. If there are witnesses, talk to them and get information to verify how the accident happened and to gain information on how to contact them for their testimonies.

Finally, you should contact your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company if that applies to your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Leaving the Scene of an Accident/Hit and Run," accessed Sep. 29, 2016

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