Do I have to stop if I am involved in an automobile accident?

Do I have to stop if I am involved in an automobile accident?

YES. However, there are exceptions. A person who drives a vehicle involved in a crash is required to immediately stop at the scene of the crash. A failure to stop is a Class F or H felony or a Class 1 misdemeanor – depending on the circumstances. Failing to stop at the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury or death is a Class F felony. Failing to stop at the scene of a crash involving injury not amounting to serious bodily injury or death is a Class H felony. Failing to stop at the scene of a crash involving property damage only or when injury or death is not apparent is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This offense also applies to crashes involving a parked or unattended vehicle. A person may, however, temporarily leave the scene of the crash if an exception applies.

A person can fail to stop at the scene of a crash in the following circumstances:
(1) To call a law enforcement officer;
(2) To call for medical assistance or treatment; or
(3) Remove him or herself or others from significant risk of injury.

Note: vehicles involved in a crash on a main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent areas of a highway may move the vehicles onto the shoulder or designated accident investigation site if the crash does not involve injury or the drivers did not know or have reason to know that injury or death occurred and each vehicle can be normally and safely driven.

If a person fails to stop for one or more of the three reasons listed above, he must return to the scene with the vehicle within a reasonable time.

Remember to ALWAYS stop at the scene of the crash, unless an exception is applicable. You may feel obligated to leave the scene of a crash for various reasons such as not having a driver’s license or insurance or having a warrant for your arrest. However, your problems will only be exacerbated by failing to stop because law enforcement is aggressive in its pursuit of finding and arresting persons who fail to stop at the scene of a crash. Consequently, in addition to driving without a license or insurance, you will face an additional charge of failing to stop at the scene of a crash and likely a harsher punishment.

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