All Washington, D.C. drivers must carry insurance while operating a vehicle and must remain at the scene of an accident so that the accident can be fully investigated. Under section 50-2201.05c of the D.C. Code, anyone who operates or is in physical control of a vehicle and knows or believes that the vehicle has been in a collision must immediately stop. The person is required to call 911 if another person needs medical attention, remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives, and provide identifying information to law enforcement and to any person who was injured, whose property was injured, or whose wild or domestic animal was injured.
Depending on the nature of the offense, a conviction for a first offense of leaving the scene of an accident may be subject to incarceration for up to 180 days and a fine of $1,000 for a first offense. Only if the driver’s personal safety is at risk is the driver able to leave the scene and can delay calling for help and notifying law enforcement.
Victims injured in a hit-and-run crash may be able to use proof that the driver fled the scene of the accident in a civil lawsuit against the driver. A conviction for fleeing the scene or another offense may be useful in a civil lawsuit and may be admissible as evidence in court. A victim injured in a hit-and-run accident may be able to recover compensation from the driver for damages related to personal injuries, property damages, psychological suffering, and more. Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal and is never a good idea. Even if a person manages to flee the scene of the accident, law enforcement generally puts significant effort into finding suspects, as one recent news report shows.