Leaving the Scene of an Accident - No Injuries | What Will Happen?
It is extremely important to understand that, if a person leaves the scene of an accident, even in a moment of misunderstanding or panic, they may face severe consequences. The reason that these penalties were put into place by the statute of Iowa is to deter drivers from leaving the scene and refusing aid.
Anyone who has made a mistake and has left the scene of a car accident, which has resulted in a hit-and-run arrest, will most likely require help from an experienced lawyer at Tom Fowler Law.
Having an attorney in one's corner can make a substantial difference for those who are facing hit-and-run accusations. A good attorney, like the professionals at Tom Fowler Law, will be able to analyze all the details of their client's car accident and provide them with an honest assessment of their available options.
On the other hand, anyone who is a victim of a hit-and-run in Iowa can also get in touch with a Des Moines auto accident attorney at Tom Fowler Law for the legal services offered.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit-and-run car accident is said to have occurred when the driver involved in an accident does not fulfill their obligations after the event of such accident.
Iowa law requires those involved in an accident to immediately stop and arrange for medical treatment if there is bodily harm, and lastly, report such accidents to police officers. All parties that are involved in an accident have legal responsibilities to fulfill before leaving the scene of such accident.
What are Iowa's Laws for Hit-and-Runs?
Iowa's laws for hit-and-runs cover just about everything, from criminal offenses to misdemeanor offenses. Below is a breakdown of the specific requirements for different traffic infractions:
#1 The Duty to Give Information, Notice, and Aid
After a serious accident, drivers are legally required to remain at the scene of an accident and fulfill the following requirements, even if they hit a parked car with no damage:
Obtain information relating to the other driver's license number, registration number, residential address, and name.
Drivers are also required to help those injured in an accident scene and arrange transportation for them to a surgeon, physician, or hospital for surgical or medical treatment. They should also arrange transportation for the injured person if it was their request.
If the accident involved any of the following, drivers should follow these guidelines:
Injury, Serious Bodily Injury, or Death of Injured Person
Should an accident result in death, serious injuries, or injury, the drivers must stop at the scene or as close as possible to the scene of the accident. A driver may also leave the scene to report the car accident and return later.
Damage to Another Vehicle
If a car accident results in damage to the other vehicle involved, the driver is required by law to stop immediately or return to the accident scene. They should not be obstructing traffic more than they need to in order to do this.
Duty to Give Notice to Law Enforcement Officers and Render Aid
The drivers must also arrange for medical treatment for injured persons, and if no law enforcement officers are present on the scene, then they should report the accident to the nearest police officer.
#2 The Duty to Report an Accident
Drivers in an accident resulting in injuries or property damage of any kind need to report it to the police. If the police require, the person should also remain at the scene of an accident until officials have arrived to carry out an investigation.
This law will apply to the following incidents:
If an automobile accident happens to involve an unattended vehicle, the driver is required to make a reasonable effort to locate the owner of the unattended vehicle.
In such circumstances, they can also leave their information on the vehicle for the owner to find later, or they can leave it in another conspicuous place.
When an accident results in damage to traffic control devices or fixtures, then the driver of such vehicle should notify the appropriate road authority with their vehicle registration number, name, and residential address.
#3 When a Driver is Unable to Make a Written Report or Give Notice
If the driver of the vehicle involved in an accident is not able to report the incident, then they should follow:
In the case where a driver is too injured to report their accident, then another passenger of the vehicle involved in the accident should report it.
What Are the Consequences for Fleeing a Car Accident Scene?
If a driver leaves the scene of an accident without providing the other driver involved with the above information, then the driver may face penalties based on the damage that occurred as a result of the vehicle accident.
To put this into perspective, if only vehicle damage occurred, and no one was injured, then the offender who left the scene of an accident can be charged with a misdemeanor, as well as 30 days of jail time and up to $625 in fines and penalties.
However, if there is an injured person who was hurt at the expense of a car crash, then the offender can be charged with a serious misdemeanor. This misdemeanor comes with fines of up to $1875 and up to one year in jail.
If the accident resulted in the death of the person injured, then the offender will most likely face what is known as a Class D felony. This Class D felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $7500.
Offenders also risk having their license revoked or their driving privileges permanently suspended if the offense is considered serious enough.
More consequences of a person failing to remain at the scene of an accident in Iowa also include an increase in insurance rates and the offender being dropped from their carrier altogether.
What Should Be Done If the Responsible Party Leaves the Scene of the Accident?
If the responsible party is caught leaving the scene of an accident, then the other driver should try to gather as much information as they possibly can. Information regarding the make and model of the other vehicle, the license plate number, and the description of the other driver may prove to be invaluable. Therefore, those who have fallen victim to a hit-and-run should immediately contact law enforcement.
Law enforcement may be able to investigate and find evidence by using nearby video footage that is available, keeping a lookout for any damaged vehicles, and talking to witnesses. There are some hit-and-run accidents that can be solved; however, a person's best chance at holding the wrongdoer accountable for their actions is to contact the police immediately.
Collecting Benefits from Uninsured Motorist Coverage
A person does not need to wait to discover the insurance information and name of the hit-and-run driver before they obtain compensation for their injuries. Those who have uninsured motorist (UN) coverage that forms part of their car insurance policy can claim from their insurance company up to the policy limits if they are hit by an underinsured or uninsured driver.
How Can a Lawyer at Tom Fowler Law Help?
A personal injury lawyer at Tom Fowler Law can help investigate a client's hit-and-run accident and access any compensation that may be available to them.
If the offender is known or found, then these attorneys will ensure that all measures are taken to claim the compensation their client deserves for the accident itself and for the consequences of the other driver's decision to leave the scene of the accident.
An attorney at Tom Fowler Law can also help their clients evaluate their insurance coverage and damages and will be able to provide assistance in relation to their client's compensation claim from their insurance company. Especially if the victim has a leased car. Victims of hit-and-runs will need an attorney by their side to help them in the best possible way and protect their rights.
These professional attorneys provide their clients with only the best legal services:
They speak with their client's insurance company as well as the other party's lawyers.
Analyze and search for any evidence that will support their client's claim.
Recruit accident reconstructionist and expert medical witnesses to provide testimonies.
Interview all eyewitnesses of the car accident.
Secure in their possession their client's report that explains who is at fault for the accident.
Value all of their client's damages.
Stand beside their client in court, should the need arise.
Help their client's case stay within its statute of limitations.
Keep their clients informed of any updates.
Retain Legal Help from These Car Accident Attorneys at Tom Fowler Law Today!
Anyone who has been injured in a hit-and-run accident can contact Tom Fowler Law today for assistance in pursuing a car accident lawsuit. This legal team can be reached via phone or by filling out their online contact form.
These attorneys cannot get started unless a victim of a hit-and-run crash has reached out to them first for a free consultation!