North Carolina drivers are required to stop if they inflict damage on another person’s property or their person. A person’s property includes vehicles, mailboxes, bicycles, and even pets. Drivers have a duty to stop and to disclose the appropriate information to remedy the damage they caused. Drivers who do not stop, leave a scene prematurely, or provide false information could end up with criminal charges, including a felony.
North Carolina Duty to Stop Law
North Carolina outlines a driver’s responsibility in the event of a crash in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-166. Drivers who know (or should know) that they have been involved in an accident or collision of some sort should:
- Immediately stop their vehicle at the scene
- Exchange personal information with others involved in the accident
- Make sure any injured parties receive necessary medical care
- Remain at the scene until police to complete their investigation or permit them to leave
There are only a few acceptable reasons to leave the scene or remove a vehicle from the scene, even if only temporarily. For example:
- They had to go somewhere to contact the police
- They had to seek medical attention
- They had to move the vehicle or themselves away from the scene to prevent you and others from suffering additional injuries
There is a limited amount of time to carry out these actions before it can still be considered a hit and run. The person must return to the scene within a “reasonable amount of time” or may otherwise face criminal charges.
North Carolina Hit and Run Penalties
In North Carolina, hit and run charges can result in criminal charges and also civil damages. The severity of the charge or damages depends on the severity of the damage and injuries suffered by the other party.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Hit and Run Accident
If you are in an accident and the other driver flees the scene, you should first and foremost take care of your health and well-being and that of others. You may also:
- Move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road (if you can do so safely and no one is injured)
- Turn off the vehicle
- If anyone is injured, call 911 and offer assistance
- Contact law enforcement and remain at the scene until they arrive
- Move yourself to a safe location and instruct others involved to do the same
- Do not attempt to move people who are injured unless they are in immediate danger
Once you are safe, you should also do the following if the other driver(s) fled the scene:
- Write down the make and model of the vehicle, the license plate number, or any other identifying features you can recall
- Tell the officers at the scene everything you know about the driver and their vehicle
- Collect contact information from possible witnesses
- Take pictures and video of the accident scene and damage to your car
- Contact an experienced attorney promptly to discuss your case and protect your rights
What Are My Legal Options for a Hit and Run Accident?
Whether or not the other driver is found, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages and injuries. If the other driver is not found or is found but is uninsured, your uninsured motorist policy may cover your damages.
If the other driver is discovered and is insured, then you may be able to receive compensation from their liability insurance. If the driver has insufficient insurance coverage, you may have to file a claim through your underinsured motorist policy to recover the difference in their coverage and your losses.
If you were involved in a hit and run accident, the best practice is to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your individual case. Most attorneys offer a free consultation, so there is nothing to lose.
Asheville NC Hit and Run Attorneys
If you live in Asheville, North Carolina or the surrounding area, contact Fisher Stark, P.A. today for your free consultation. Our highly successful car accident attorneys can advise and assist you with insurance claims as well as legal claims. We can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.