Car accidents are usually unexpected civil incidents, however, there are several ways in which an accident can accelerates and become a criminal offense.
Most drivers will at some point be involved in a collision. Car accidents can involve many sorts of consequences: The faulty motorist may face an insurance rate spike, lawsuits, and even criminal charges.
- Insurance Rates
Many factors can affects insurance premiums. The driver’s age, gender, marital status, zip code, and model of car can all come into play. Insurance companies observe at these things in an effort to predict which drivers are likely to cost them money and which are a safe bet. The way insurance companies see it, a driver who causes one accident is more likely to be involved in another accident than a driver who has never crashed a car.
But while an accident tends to increase insurance rates, it doesn’t always do so. Some insurance companies won’t increase your premium after your first accident if you otherwise have a clean record.
- Getting Sued
Many car accidents don’t lead to lawsuits:
Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer depending on whether you live in a state with no-fault insurance rules pays for the damages and that’s the end of it. When cases are settled in this way by an “insurance claim” no one gets sued or has to go to court.
In other cases, things don’t go so smoothly. For a variety of reasons, an insurance company might be unwilling to pay what an injured driver is requesting. When this happens, the injured driver may decide to file a lawsuit in court. Generally, your insurance company will defend you in court against a claim made by another party. But when injuries and other damages resulting from a collision exceed your coverage amounts, you could be personally responsible for the difference.
- Criminal Offenses
Even if an auto accident was your fault, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have committed a crime. In fact, most of the collisions don’t lead to criminal charges. Generally, car accidents involve criminal consequences only when the driver who caused the accident was driving recklessly or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI).
Reckless driving and DUI are crimes regardless of whether the driver or motorist crashes. But when these crimes involve property damage or injuries they often lead to more severe penalties. For instance, in Pennsylvania, a first DUI carries a $300 fine and no mandatory jail time. However, a Pennsylvania first offender that causes property damage or injuries to another is looking at $500 to $5,000 in fines and a minimum 48 hours in jail.
Most states also have separate crimes (apart from reckless driving and DUI) that apply to reckless and intoxicated drivers who end up injuring or killing another person. In New York, for instance, a driver who is under the influence can be charged with vehicular assault for injuring and vehicular manslaughter for killing another person.
- Hit and Run
When a driver or motorist accidentally hits another vehicle or a pedestrian, he or she is required to stop at the scene even in the case of a minor accident. The driver must then follow proper post-accident protocol. This includes an exchange of information with the other drivers and parties, including name, contact information, and insurance information. A motorist who strikes another vehicle or pedestrian and then leaves the scene of the accident may face criminal charges. The specific charge that the motorist will face typically depends on the outcome of the accident.
Punishments for a hit and run may include loss of driving privileges, increased insurance premiums, a felony arrest, and a prison sentence. The most serious criminal charges accompany car accidents that cause painful injuries or death.
The facts of every case are different. So it’s always best to talk to a qualified lawyer about your situation, especially if you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime. Whatever the circumstances, and lawyer can help you decide on the best course of action.
About the author:
Hannay Lawyers are one of Queensland’s most sought-after criminal law firms, simply because of their utmost professionalism, commitment, and fearless approach in achieving great results for their clients and is considered among one of the top Criminal Lawyers in Brisbane.