Did you know that in Davidson County alone there is an average of 7,962 car accidents that result in injuries and an average of sixty-seven (67) fatal car accidents every year? According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Davidson County is ranked number one in overall crashes in all of Tennessee. Car accidents happen every day and can happen to anyone. So, what steps should you take if you are in a car accident? Below, we offer information provided by our Nashville criminal defense attorney.
Under Tennessee law, if you are involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle then you must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as possible, give the driver’s name, address and the registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving. Also, you must give any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including taking them to the hospital or calling for an ambulance.
If you are in an accident, YOU MUST STOP! If you do not stop this is a violation of Tennessee law and is a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors carry up to eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00.
But it gets worse. If you knew or should have reasonably known that a death resulted from the accident, and you did not stop, then this is a Class E felony. This type of felony is punishable with up to six (6) years in prison as well as a fine of up to $3,000.00. Not only will you be charged with a felony for leaving the scene but you will also be charged with vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide. On top of all of this, you will also have your license revoked.
Even if there is no damage or injuries you should still remain at the scene of the accident until an officer arrives. Why, you might ask. Well, imagine this; A rear ends B. There is no damage to either car. Both A and B agree they will not call the police and A leaves the scene of the accident. B then decides that it is a better idea to call the police. B reports to the officer that A left the scene of the accident. Now, A can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident and is facing eleven months and twenty-nine (29) days in jail. While this does not seem fair, it could happen. This is why it is very important to NEVER LEAVE the scene of an accident until told to by a police officer. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
If you have any questions or have been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident in or around Nashville, contact us at Collins Legal.