Can You Get in Trouble for Not Exchanging Information After an Accident?

Can You Get in Trouble for Not Exchanging Information After an Accident?

After you have been involved in an accident, drivers usually exchange information with each other. But what if you refuse to give your personal details to the other driver? Is that considered a criminal offense?

Montana has laws that specify whether you are required to give your information after an accident.

While you may want to protect your privacy or legal case, withholding information from the other driver could land you in trouble.

We’ll explain why you may want to give your information after a car accident in Bozeman.

Should You Stop and Exchange Information?

Under Montana Code 61-7-105, if you are involved in a car accident, you have a legal duty to stop your vehicle immediately at the scene of the collision. Leaving the scene without stopping is considered a hit-and-run offense.

Along with stopping, you must exchange information with the other drivers, including your name, contact information, vehicle registration number, driver’s license information, and insurance details.

With any accident, you should always take photos and note any details of the accidents.

Exchanging information is not only a legal requirement in the state but can also help in the claims process. The insurance company can contact you regarding the accident when you provide this information.

Even if you plan to work with a car accident attorney, you still need to give this information to law enforcement or the other driver.

Do You Have to Provide Aid?

After an accident, you have a responsibility to render aid to anyone who has been injured.

According to Montana law that means that you must provide or arrange for transportation to a hospital if the injured person requests it or if medical treatment is necessary. While this is not only a legal requirement, it is also a moral obligation.

Your quick actions could mean the difference between life and death.

Do All Accidents Need to be Reported?

Under Montana Code section 61-7-105, if the accident resulted in injury, death, or major property damage of $1,000 or more, you must report it. With that, you must notify the local authorities by reporting the accident to the nearest police station or sheriff’s office as soon as possible.

During this time, you need to remain at the scene until a police officer arrives and permits you to leave, even if you are not at fault for the accident.

Sometimes, there’s no law enforcement officer available to respond to the incident, or weather conditions don’t allow them to get to the accident scene. In these cases, you must submit a written report to the Montana Department of Justice within ten days of the incident.

This report should include all the relevant details, such as the date, time, location, and the extent of the damage or injuries.

Keep in mind that even if the police do not investigate the incident, you are still required to report it to the authorities.

Consequences of Not Exchanging Information

When you get involved in an accident, you will want to exchange information with the other party involved. Failure to do so can lead to serious legal consequences, including criminal charges and civil liability.

If you don’t exchange information after an accident, you may be charged with a hit-and-run offense.

This offense is punishable by law and can lead to fines, probation, or even imprisonment. It can also impact your driving record and future insurance rates.

Not exchanging information can also impact your ability to resolve insurance claims and civil lawsuits related to the accident. Not providing your information may make it more challenging for the other party to pursue legal action against you. Once again, this could result in additional financial liability and legal consequences.

Additionally, there may be insurance issues as well. If you fail to comply, your insurance company may deny coverage or raise your premiums. To avoid any problems, it is vital that you properly exchange information with the other party involved in the accident.

By taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid any complications with your insurance coverage and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Any Other Laws Pertain to Accidents?

In Montana, the statute of limitations sets the time frame for a person to file a lawsuit related to a car accident. Under Montana Code 27-2-204, if you have sustained a personal injury caused by someone else, you must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident. The same statute also applies to wrongful death claims related to the accident.

The three-year time limit starts from the accident date, not when you discover the injury or its severity.

You will want to act quickly and file your lawsuit within the specified time frame to avoid losing the right to seek compensation for your damages.

Similarly, Montana Code 27-2-207 governs the time limit for filing a lawsuit related to property damage resulting from a car accident. Under this statute, a person must file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damage to their vehicle or other property within two years of the crash.

Find Out More About Your Legal Obligations

Taking the steps to assess your injuries, calling for medical help, and exchanging information with the other driver can help in your situation. In fact, it’s required under Montana laws.

When it comes to taking the next steps in your case, Western Justice Associates, PLLC, is available for assistance. We offer free consultations to help you determine your legal options