It can be very difficult to form a reasonable defense against hit and run charges. In many cases, law enforcement will automatically consider you entirely at fault for the accident if you leave the scene. Additionally, if you file a claim with your insurance company for the accident after leaving the scene, law enforcement can use that claim to build a case against you. Here's a look at some tips for defending yourself against hit and run charges as well as some advice to avoid a hit and run situation completely.
Building a Defense
There are few effective defenses against a hit and run charge. In most cases, you'll have to be able to convince the courts of some reasonable doubt that you were the one who left the accident scene to begin with. This is only effective if there's no physical evidence that puts you at the scene.
If there's solid evidence that you were at the scene, you'll have to convince the courts that it wasn't your fault. This won't necessarily protect you from charges related to leaving the accident scene, but it could protect you from liability for the accident. It may even protect you from reckless driving or endangerment charges.
Ways to Defend Yourself
You may be able to convince the courts that you are not at fault if you can bring in a reconstruction specialist to show that it wasn't your fault. You may also be able to show that there were circumstances beyond your control that contributed to the situation. If you can show that you were not the direct cause of the accident, it can help to reduce your liability.
Defenses for Civil Court
Civil suits are different than cases heard in criminal court. In these cases, you'll face a financial judgment, such as restitution to the other victims, instead of legal repercussions. Your insurance company can defend you in these cases and may be able to help either reduce the settlement amount. In order to do this, you have to admit that you were at the scene and you physically left the scene of the accident. This admission may be used against you in a civil trial.
How to Avoid Hit and Run Charges
If you are involved in an accident, most state laws require that you stop immediately at the scene or as near to the scene as you can. You have to provide your name, contact information and insurance company details to the other party involved in the accident. Failure to do this may result in charges for leaving the scene of an accident.
If the other party isn't there, such as in cases of property damage, you need to make a reasonable effort to find the owner of the property. If you cannot find the person who owns the property or the car's driver, you have to leave your contact information at the scene in an area where it is going to be easily identifiable. You should also file a police report right away. These steps will help to protect you from hit and run charges.
In the event that you do leave the scene, you should return right away or go to your nearest police department. With surveillance systems, witness statements and other information easily accessible to law enforcement, chances are that you'll be identified quickly if you don't. You do have to report the accident, but you don't have to admit fault in any statement.
Whether you are dealing with law enforcement on the scene or after the fact, you shouldn't make any statements without legal advice. Talk to a hit and run attorney from a firm like the Law Office Of Daniel E Goodman right away for support and to help you navigate the process correctly.