In Chicago, reckless drivers aren’t supposed to get away with their mistakes. There are laws set to ensure that those who cause accidents and drive off get punished through fines and even imprisonment. Eventually, this sets an example to others and protects the injured party from emotional damage, financial burdens, personal injury, and death. Let’s explore Chicago hit and run laws in detail.
How does Chicago law define hit and run?
The law defines hit and runs as crashing another car and leaving the scene of the accident without the permission of relevant authorities. The law states that it is a crime to leave the scene, whether you were at fault or not. It also proceeds to say that unless the driver has serious injuries that need immediate medical attention, he or she should remain at the scene. However, if the driver leaves the view out of negligence, he or she will be charged with a felony.
There are many reasons why drivers leave the scene of an accident. However, it will never be the right option. Some flee due to fear of what could happen if they admit, and especially if one party is severely injured. Some flee because of drug intoxication, which drives them to make wrong judgments or not realize they caused an accident. Among those who are intoxicated, some run away from the consequences if ever arrested in the past. Some leave the scene if they think the accident does not look too severe to deserve the attention. Others because they do not have a driving license or registration forms, have stolen the car, or are running away from the authorities.
What to do after a hit-and-run
- Remain calm
Holding your nerves may be hard, especially if the fleeing driver was at fault, but it is worth it. You may think that you are running after the other driver to punish him, but it can be taken for fleeing also, which can worsen your case. For safety, remain at the scene and check for injuries. If possible, gather information about the accident, the driver, and the car. You can also take some pics of the scene if you can.
2. Contact the authorities
Instead of running after the other driver, contact the police and give ample information about the driver, the accident, and the car. Their investigation skills are unmatched, meaning they will be able to track the other driver easily. They can inform traffic officers monitoring the route to be aware of the driver, check on the road surveillance cameras, or raise an alarm to the public. Reporting can also strengthen your case if they see that the other driver was at fault.
3. Seek medical help
Medical examination after a car accident is essential. While it may seem unnecessary, medical assistance is still highly recommended, especially if there are no physical damages or invisible injuries. A skilled medical attendant performs a thorough examination to ensure there are no injuries that may eventually compromise your health later. The practitioner will also write a medical report useful for pursuing compensation.
4. Hire an experienced attorney
In every personal injury case, you need an attorney to be able to follow and get the compensation. Don’t just hire anyone; choose an experienced car accident lawyer who will accept the case wholeheartedly and lead you on how to make the best from the case. The attorney will fight for your rights even when the other driver remains unknown.
How is hit and run penalized?
Depending on the severity of the accident, the penalties will vary. In most cases, the immediate action is revoking the driving license. For property damage, this is Class A misdemeanor, the party at fault pays a fine and a term in jail for at most one year. Minor and severe injuries fall under Class 4 Felony, and the wrongdoer pays a fine and imprisonment for at most three years. If the hit and run results in death, the crime can fall into Class 3 Felony, which entails fine and long-term imprisonment of up to fourteen years. It doesn’t end here; other consequences may arise, such as being deported if you are a foreigner, losing your job and not being able to get another one, and being denied driving privileges for the specific duration even after paying the fines.
In spite of the rules, hit and run accidents are common in Chicago. So, knowing how to act if they happen is important. The law protects you and you should seek help from the police and auto accident lawyer if this happens to you.