From poor weather conditions to entertaining distractions, it’s not surprising that Arizona’s annual auto accident statistics run into hundreds or even thousands.
In some weird cases, there are hit-and-runs. This scenario is when the driver responsible for an auto accident flees the scene. Are you involved in a hit-and-run accident? Did the scenario leave you with significant injuries and damages?
If your answer is yes, the scenario can be a bit complicated and frustrating. Still, knowing what to do can be comforting. On that note, this article provides further information about the hit-and-run laws of Arizona and how our Phoenix injury lawyers can help.
Arizona Hit-and-Run Laws
In Phoenix and other locations in Arizona, the law prohibits any driver involved in an accident from fleeing the scene. Therefore, the legal responsibility for drivers involved in an accident is to stop and provide his or her full name, residential/office address, car registration, and license information.
In the scenario where a driver fails to fulfill the requirements of the law, he/she becomes guilty of a class two or three misdemeanor. What’s more, a driver can be found guilty of a felony if he/she fails to offer necessary assistance to the wounded at the accident scene. This is especially true if they entirely flee the scene.
One of the reasons people flee an accident scene is panic from not having insurance. Sometimes, they flee because they are under the influence of substances like alcohol.
Being responsible for an auto accident under the influence can attract serious consequences. Usually, under Arizona law, this depends on the severity of the injuries sustained by the victims.
According to the Arizona law (A.R.S.13-105), a serious injury is classed as one that results in a risk of death, significant disfigurement of face/body part, permanent impairment in the function of body parts, and other chronic impairment in health.
If a driver fails to act in compliance with the Arizona law (provide all their details), he/she becomes guilty of a class three felony, which could attract a sentence of 2.5 years.
If the driver altogether flees the scene after causing severe injuries to another driver, this could attract a minimum sentence of four years. On the other hand, if the injury is not severe and the driver refuses to offer assistance to the victims, that could attract a nine-month jail term, as they’ll be guilty of a class five felony.
We mentioned earlier that the consequences could be greater if the driver who caused the accident is under the influence of mind-altering substances such as drugs and alcohol. If a serious injury or death is involved in this case, the driver may lose his/her license for five years. If the accident results in death, this may attract jail time and loss of license for up to years.
Report Your Hit-and-Run Crash to the Police
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident with a hit-and-run driver, it can be a bit complicated as you may have to bear all the cost of damage if the driver is not found. Still, you must first dial 911.
The investigation of the police (while the incident is still fresh) may help find the fleeing driver. If you are conscious at the time of injury, chances are you may remember the model of the car and the color and the position of the damage. If you are lucky, you may have some or all parts of the license plate number.
Report the Crash to Your Insurance Company.
When it comes to car accidents, it helps to know that Arizona is an at-fault liability state. Meaning whoever is responsible for the crash should pay for the damages. Still, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report the incident to your insurance company. If it happens that the fleeing driver is never found, medical payments coverage or uninsured motorist coverage may also be available to cover some of your post-accident needs.
Many Arizona drivers carry the former alongside their auto insurance, which covers medical and funeral expenses. The latter may also be available to you unless you specifically rejected it in writing when buying your auto insurance coverage.
Let Us Assist You With Your Claim
Although you drive carefully on the road, many other drivers can drive drunk, carefree, or even sleepy. So, a hit-and-run scenario can happen to anyone. In such cases, you need all the help you can get when faced with this issue.
As you quickly alert the police, you’ll do well to contact our qualified Phoenix injury lawyers. These lawyers know how to help you achieve the best outcome from the situation, even if the fleeing driver is never found.