Hit and run collisions cause serious bodily harm, and the act of leaving the scene of an accident after causing a collision is considered a crime. Drivers who hit an object, another driver, or a pedestrian but leave the scene without giving them assistance or providing information may be found in violation of the law. Injured individuals can pursue a civil claim against the driver, if they are later located, and seek compensation for their injuries, emotional suffering, and property damage resulting from the accident.
Recently, New Mexico legislators are seeking to address what some have called an increase of car accidents and reckless drivers. Addressing dangerous drivers is one purpose of a proposed law that makes hit and run offenses a more severe crime, leading to a potentially longer jail term. According to the law today, those who knowingly leave the scene of an accident when someone is injured or dies may be charged with a third-degree felony.
In some situations, drivers may temporarily leave the scene of an accident to secure emergency assistance. In rural areas, or when an accident occurs late at night or early in the morning, there may not be others on the road to call an ambulance or secure help. Conduct such as leaving the collision scene to secure help will not necessarily be deemed careless or reckless.
However, fleeing the scene after an accident in order to escape liability or the consequences that stem from the accident is a different situation. Leaving the scene of a collision may subject an individual to legal liability. The proposed bill requires that a driver return to the scene and remain there until help has been secured.
If enacted, the proposed bill would make it a second-degree felony to leave the scene of an accident. Those individuals who are found to have violated the law may face up to three years behind bars, and up to six years if someone dies. While leaving the scene of an accident may not be an intentional crime, the policy behind the bill is intended to send a strong message to those people who make the decision to leave. Under the new law, damaging a car and leaving the scene of a crime would be considered a felony.
At the Law Office of Attorney Matthew Vance, we help accident victims pursue monetary compensation for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision. If you or someone close to you has been hurt by a hit and run driver, New Mexico car accident attorney Matthew Vance can help. The damage in a hit and run collision can be severe, and pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault party provides for a means to recover financial compensation. Mr. Vance has years of experience successfully representing injured individuals and their families. Contact our office at (505) 242-6267 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Comparative Fault in New Mexico Personal Injury Lawsuits, New Mexico Injury Lawyer Blog, May 26, 2017
Bifurcation Not Mandated in Lawsuit by Insured Plaintiff against her Insurance Company Following Car Accident, According to New Mexico Court, New Mexico Injury Lawyer Blog, March 29, 2017