When two drivers are involved in a car accident, they must follow Minnesota's state traffic laws right after the crash. However, the driver that hit the other car crash might try and escape before the other driver can get a better look at their license plate or vehicle type in an attempt to avoid the legal and financial ramifications they could obtain from a motor vehicle accident.
Failure to stay around and follow Minnesota's post-accident procedures can result in hit and run charges. Drivers who are victims of car crashes should be aware of what each driver must do after an accident to keep an eye out for any negligent behavior from the other driver.
Minnesota requires both drivers to stop after a motor vehicle collision that causes vehicle damage, injury or death. After the drivers find a safe place to put their vehicles, the guilty driver must exchange several details with the victim such as their insurance information, full name, address, car type, license plate and contact information.
If the accident is serious and causes bodily harm, one of the drivers should contact the police to help assess the situation, assist the victim and help clear the area. After both drivers exchange their information and leave safely, they should contact their insurance agents to process the information and provide damage compensation.
The consequences of leaving the scene of an accident
If one of the drivers does not follow the law and refuses to stop or exchange information after the accident, then their violation could result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Failing to report the accident to the police or insurance companies can result in suspension of their driver's license. Some hit and runs are misdemeanor charges, which results in up to 1 year of imprisonment and fines up to $1,000.
However, several hit and run cases are often result in felony charges. If the driver causes significant physical harm to the victim, then they could face up to 5 years or imprisonment and fines up to $5,000.
What to do if you are the victim
If a car crashes into you and takes off instead of stopping or exchanging information, gather as much information about the accident as you can. Report to the police details about the accident such as the time and location and what damages you got as a result. If you are able to get a glimpse of the other driver's car or license plate, be sure to include that information.
If you successfully identify who hit you, you can file a hit and run claim with the other driver's insurance company. You can also pursue legal action against the other driver for any personal injuries caused by the accident. If the other driver is never caught, you cannot make a hit and run claim for your own auto liability insurance. However, there are other car insurance options that might be able to cover for a hit and run.