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Car accident laws: Is it illegal to move your car after an accident?

Is it illegal to leave an accident scene? or, Is it illegal to move your car after an accident? which one is acceptable and why? what do car accident laws say?

Getting into a car accident could really be stressful and to some people, it could easily get on their nerves. I have seen fights break up at accident scenes, and hopefully, you do too. Soon after the accident, some drivers especially if they think they are at fault for the accident usually decide to leave the accident scene. What are the consequences of leaving an accident scene before traffic officers show up? Are they any penalties? What if you negligently caused the accident?

Well, it’s not an offense to move your car after an accident especially if there is no one injured and the car is impeding traffic. What is actually illegal is driving away from the accident scene before traffic officers arrived.

If you are not in a position to read this whole article, please go through the contents of this article and read sections you may be interested in. Here you go!


Page Contents

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Should you stay in your car after an accident?

Staying in your vehicle after a car accident depends on the extent of injuries you sustained. If you think you are injured, it is advised you stay put right in your car till help arrived. Trying to get out of the car by yourself could worsen the injuries especially if you sustained fractures or any severely damaged soft tissues.

Yes, you are supposed to gather information and possible evidence like the other driver’s names, addresses, contact numbers, and insurance information. You are also required to take pictures of the accident scene, car damages, videos of the accident from nearby cameras, etc.

If you are injured it is advised someone else helps you to get the required information. Let someone else call and inform the police and if there are injuries, someone should help call 911.

personal injuries, hit and run, car accident injuries

Leaving the scene of a car accident single car

It is not illegal to move your car after an accident. It is actually recommended to move your car away to a safer point for instance on the roadside but only after car accident pictures, videos, and any other necessary information has been obtained.

Leaving the damaged cars at the center of the road increases the risk of causing more car accidents. If you are to do it, make sure you turned on your car’s hazard lights, and turn on your car’s emergency flashers to let others know before they crash into your car.

It is illegal to drive away from the accident scene even if it was not your fault. In the USA, you will be charged for a hit-and-run accident of which you could be asked to pay a fine between $5,000 and $20,000. Depending on which state you come from, you could also face jail time of up to 15 years.


What should you do if someone is injured in a crash?

If someone injured you in a crash, do not leave your car nor should you leave the car accident scene unless your injuries warrant emergency medical treatments.  

Very simple, gather the required evidence and any information related to the accident, call and inform the police, and as soon as possible, inform your auto insurance company.

You should also seek legal advice from a car accident lawyer even if you do not intend to file lawsuits. If you had a hit-and-run car accident, you will need to inform a personal injury attorney right away because getting a settlement from your car insurance won’t be an easy task. 

This is because gathering any evidence or required information in a hit-and-run is tricky. The other driver will have run away without giving you any information and at worst, you may not have seen the number plates.

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Can you drive around with a crashed car?

You may be attempted to drive away your car as soon as after the accident and indeed your car may still be drivable. Depending on where you come from, most states in the USA do not allow driving a damaged car.

This is because such damaged cars after the crash put other drivers and cars at risk of car accidents. Driving a wrecked or partially damaged car poses danger to yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers.


What should you do if you are in a crash with a parked vehicle?

You may be attempted to drive away after a crash with a parked car especially if there were no witnesses – but you are wrong! You may not know if a nearby camera like the next doorbell or traffic light camera captured the accident.

Do the following immediately after a crash with a parked car.

  • Do not leave the car accident scene unless you want to be charged with a hit-and-run accident.
  • If possible trace the owner of the car you crashed. 
  • If the owner of the car cannot be found, leave a note indicating your car insurance policy and company, your name, address, and your telephone contact number.
  • Call and inform the police. You should wait and make a car accident statement with the traffic officers.
  • Let your insurance company know about the car crash. You do not want your car insurance company to learn about it through another driver.


Why should you always collect the other drivers information in a fender bender?

According to the dictionary,  a fender bender simply refers to a minor car accident. According to the simple survey I ran on a personal injury thread on Reddit, most of the respondents (90%) had a fender bender as a result of the following:

  • Backing a car from a parking lot
  • Hitting another car at low speeds
  • Rear-ended collisions.


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What are car accident laws?

Car accident laws vary from one jurisdiction to another. For people living in the USA, there are lots of variations noted. For instance, the fault for car accidents is determined differently.

In some states, if driver A carries 30% blame for the car accident and driver B is 60% at fault, both drivers get nothing from each other. In other states, each driver gets compensated but the settlement will be reduced by the percentage of the blame.

For instance, if driver A faced $20,000 in his car accident-related expenses like medical bills, he has a right to a settlement from driver B (his car insurance company) but his final pay will be reduced by 30%(his degree of negligence).

In other states, the only driver with the lowest blame only gets compensated. For instance, in such states, only driver A is entitled to a settlement since his blame for the accident is the least. Finally, in another group of states, the drivers involved in car accident file claims through their own personal injury protection coverage (PIP). No driver pays damages to another unless the coverage in PIP is inadequate.

In summary. Though car accident laws vary from state to state, it is not illegal to move your car from the accident spot. You are only not supposed to leave the accident scene before a car accident police report is recorded.