Leaving the Accident Scene is Illegal in Missouri & Kansas
When you are involved in a car accident in Kansas City or anywhere in Missouri or Kansas, you are required to stop at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident is illegal in both Kansas and Missouri. A person who leaves an accident scene before the police arrive can be charged with a crime.
If someone is injured, state law requires you to remain at the scene of the accident and report the injury to the police. Even if no one is injured and the property damage is minor, you are still required to stop and exchange your insurance and contact information with the other driver.
If you or a family member were injured in a hit and run, you still have the legal right to recover compensation for your injuries. Call our Kansas City hit and run lawyer at 816-203-0143 for a free, no obligation consultation.
Why a Driver May Leave the Scene of an Accident in Kansas City
Leaving the scene of a traffic accident is often referred to as a “hit and run.” Hit and run drivers may leave an accident scene for a variety of reasons. Fear of being charged with another crime is often a strong motivator for people guilty of hit and run accidents.
Common reasons for fleeing an accident scene in Missouri or Kansas include:
- Driving without a license or driving with a suspended license is a common reason for a hit and run. A person could face additional criminal charges if they do not have a valid driver’s license.
- Impaired driving is another common reason a driver leaves an accident scene. DUI is a serious crime that is punishable by fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, probation, and ignition interlock devices. A habitual drunk driver may flee to avoid another DUI charge. Impaired driving includes drunk and drugged driving. Impaired and drunk drivers can cause serious or fatal hit and run accidents.
- No insurance coverage is also a reason for hit and run accidents. All drivers in Missouri and Kansas are required to maintain minimum liability insurance. Failure to have insurance could result in additional charges.
- Immigration issues can be a reason for a hit and run accident. If a person is an illegal immigrant, being charged with an accident could result in other more dire consequences.
- Fear of telling a parent, spouse, or employer about the car accident could be motivation for leaving an accident scene.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Kansas City
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and the other driver leaves, never try to chase the driver. You could place yourself and others in danger. Instead, you should:
- Remain at the accident scene and call 911 to request police and emergency services come to the accident scene.
- While waiting for the police to arrive, make notes about anything you can remember about the accident and the other vehicle. The information you write down, such as the make, model, and color of the vehicle, can help police officers locate the driver.
- Talk to any witnesses and get their statements about what they saw regarding the accidents and the other vehicle that fled the scene. You should also get witnesses to provide their names and contact information and provide this information to the police when they arrive.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle. Without the other vehicle, the pictures may not be as valuable, but they could contain evidence that you may not be aware of at the time. It is best to have the photographs, even if the accident was a hit and run.
- Be clear when you provide your statement to the police officer. Give the officer as much information as possible about how the crash occurred and the other vehicle involved. As always, do not admit fault even if you are unsure of exactly how the crash occurred.
- As soon as possible, report the car accident to your insurance company.
- Get prompt medical treatment for any and all injuries that you suffered in the hit and run crash.
If you have Med Pay or PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance, your automobile insurance provider should reimburse you for medical bills related to the accident. You also will have a claim against the Uninsured Motorist coverage in your own car insurance policy if the police never locates the hit and run driver.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Protects You When a Driver Leaves the Scene in Kansas City
Your Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance coverage may compensate you for damages incurred as a result of a hit and run accident. If the police never find the hit and run driver, your insurance company assumes the role of the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
In other words, you should be able to recover the same compensation under your policy as you would by filing a claim against another driver’s insurance coverage. However, your compensation depends on the terms of your insurance contract. It also requires you to prove that the other driver caused the car accident. Even though you are filing a claim with your insurance provider, you should treat the claim as you would any other insurance claim.
You need to be cautious and contact a Kansas City car accident lawyer for advice. Insurance adjusters, even adjusters working for your insurance provider, always try to find ways to pay as little as possible to settle an accident claim.
Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney for Help
It can be frustrating when a driver causes an accident and runs. The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus can help you gather evidence proving fault and file all applicable insurance claims to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with our Kansas City car accident lawyer.