What should you do if you are in a car accident? There are several important steps to take, such as seeking out witnesses, but one thing you should never do is flee the scene.
That’s the hard lesson learned by one Florida man this month after he managed to cause two accidents back-to-back – fleeing from each one and even stranding a little girl as part of the bargain.
Grant Mulder was allegedly intoxicated when he swerved off the road and hit a telephone pole. The accident was minor, but it was serious enough that both air bags deployed in his vehicle – one of them striking a 7-year-old girl who was riding in his passenger seat. Rather than calling or waiting for police to arrive, he pulled back out into traffic and continued on his way. And then he made things worse.
According to police, the little girl riding with him was “known to him,” but they haven’t released any details, in order to protect her. Whatever the relationship, witnesses say he pulled over down the road and dropped her off on the median in the middle of a busy highway – and left her there.
Continuing to flee, Mulder apparently decided to run a red light. There were already two cars stopped at it, however, so he tried to drive between them. Instead, he hit both cars. This was now the second accident Mulder had caused, and now involving other people who could be (and in fact were) injured – but he backed up, went around them and drove on.
Eventually Mulder was pulled over and arrested for charges ranging from drunk driving to child abuse. But what stands out about this case – and many others like it – is how much worse Mulder made his own situation.
When he first swerved into a telephone pole, he could have waited for authorities to arrive. He surely would have been cited for drunk driving, but the little girl could have received prompt medical attention and the damages he was liable for – a single wooden pole – were not that high.
Instead, he made a string of increasingly bad decisions that endangered a child, injured two people, damaged two more vehicles and stacked up the criminal charges against him. Even without the criminal charges, the added damages he’ll have to pay are imposing.
At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene we frequently advise drivers that if someone else’s negligence causes an accident, you have a right to compensation. But even if you get into an accident and you believe it was your own fault, not someone else’s – don’t flee. Talk to a lawyer and learn about your options.
Not sure how to handle your car accident? Talk to Steinger, Iscoe and Greene today.