After an auto accident in Oklahoma, all parties are required to remain at the scene of the crash until police arrive. Failure to do so is against the law, according to Title 47, Section 10-103. Violators can be fined up to $500 and face up to one year in county jail.
Despite the legal consequences, many drivers still leave the scene after an accident.
Why Do Drivers Leave the Scene of a Crash?
Road deaths caused by hit-and-run accidents happen almost six times per day in the United States, according to Mercury News. Additionally, hit-and-run accidents happened more than 2,000 times per day across the U.S. in 2015.
According to psychologist Emanuel Robinson, drivers feel intense emotions at the time of a crash. Some drivers might become scared or angry and decide to leave. Others may see nothing wrong with leaving the scene of a crash and will often rationalize their decision to do so.
Researchers at the University of Leicester in Britain observed 53 drivers who fled the scene of a crash. The study found that at the time of the crash:
- 21 panicked
- Seven were concerned about drunk driving
- Eight claimed to be unaware of the crash
- 13 believed the crash was too minor to report.
Criminal behavior is also a leading cause in hit-and-run accidents. This includes:
- Drunk and drugged driving: A report by the Belgian Road Safety Institute examined 853 hit-and-run offenders and found that 42 percent of them were drunk or drugged.
- Drivers concerned about criminal activity: Some hit-and-run drivers may leave the scene of a crash, because they are in possession of something illegal or because they were involved in illegal activity.
- Fleeing from the police: Drivers fleeing police in a high-speed chase will most likely not stop if they hit anyone. These hit-and-run accidents can often be severe and can affect multiple road users.
What to Do If You've Been Injured in A Hit-And-Run Accident
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident in Oklahoma, you may be entitled to compensation. Typically, you would be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company if he or she can be identified.
However, if you're unable to catch the license plate or identify the driver, you could be forced to pay for your medical expenses and other damages associated with an accident out of your own pocket. The best way to ensure that you'll be eligible for compensation to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). This will cover the cost of medical treatment after an accident, up to the policy limit.
Hit-and-run accidents can be complex, and unfortunately, they can leave crash victims confused, frustrated and unsure where to turn. An experienced attorney at Lawter & Associates, PLLC can help you pursue a claim.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.