Hit and Run – What to do next
The law says that the driver of a vehicle that has been involved in an accident must remain at the scene of the accident, so that they can provide their name and address to the authorities. If, in the moment, you panicked and drove off, it’s absolutely essential that you heed the following advice.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, the worst thing you can do is just forget about it and hope it will go away. It won’t.
What are my legal obligations if I’m involved in an accident?
If you’re involved in a vehicle accident, even if no-one is injured, it’s the law that you stop and provide the following details to the authorities and any relevant third parties that ask for them:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the vehicle’s owner
- The registration number of the vehicle
If someone has been injured as a result of the accident, there is an extra requirement. If this occurs, you need to show your insurance certificate at the scene of the accident. If you can’t do this, you have to report the incident to the police.
It’s the law that you stop, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Failure to do so could result in your prosecution.
Failing to stop
If you do not stop at the scene of a crime and provide your details, you are required by law to report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident. The law says that you must report the accident in person, not by telephone. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is an offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, and can carry serious consequences for the defendant.
If you’ve been accused of failing to stop at the scene of a road traffic accident, we strongly recommend contacting one of our expert solicitors right away.
Do I have to stop if I hit an animal?
This depends on the type of animal you have hit. If you hit a dog, horse, sheep, mule, ass, pig, goat, cow or bull, you are required by law to stop and report the accident.
Can I go to prison for failing to stop at the scene of an accident?
Whether or not you go to prison for failing to stop at the scene of an accident depends on a variety of circumstances. Use the following penalties as a guide only:
- Failed to exchange details at the scene of an accident that resulted in minor damage and/or injury: fine and 5 – 6 penalty points.
- Failed to stop and report at the scene of an accident that resulted in moderate damage or injury: fine and 8 points, possible driving disqualification.
- Failed to stop and report at the scene of an accident that was caused by bad driving, and resulted in serious damage or injury: fine, up to 6 months imprisonment and 9 – 10 penalty points, possible driving disqualification.
If you’ve failed to stop at the scene of an accident, and require expert advice on your next steps, contact a member of our road accident offences team today.