Is it illegal to leave the scene of an accident?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011Fact Checked

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Is it illegal to leave the scene of an accident?

I was involved in an accident where a truck stopped in the middle of the road and when Icame around the corner. I didn’t have time to stop so I ran in to him and he sped off with out even seeing if there was any damage. My car was totaled.

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Accident Law, Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In all states in this country there are laws requiring that if one is involved in an automobile accident that regardless of perceived fault that he or she is required to stay at the scene and assist. Additionally addresses, names and telephone numbers are required to be exchanged.

In most instances a charge of leaving the scene of the accident is a misdemeanor and depending upon the amount of damages and injuries sustained, leaving the scene could be a possible felony.

You need to file a claim with your insurance carrier about what happened if you have not done so as well as assist police in any further investigation. Most likely your claims representative will request that you provide a recorded statement as to what happened since you were apparently the only witness to the incident.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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