Under Iowa law, a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident has a duty to stop and take certain action. Failure to do so is the crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident under Iowa Code section 321.262 et. seq:
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of such accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of section 321.263. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. Any person failing to stop or comply with said requirements under such circumstances shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished as provided in section 321.482.
In cases where there is personal injury, Section 321.263 of the Iowa Code imposes further requirements upon drivers of vehicles that are involved in an accident:
1. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by a person shall give the driver’s name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving and shall upon request and if available exhibit the driver’s driver’s license to the person struck, the driver or occupant of, or the person attending the vehicle involved in the accident and shall render to a person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the transporting or arranging for the transporting of the person for medical treatment if it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary or if transportation for medical treatment is requested by the injured person.
2. If the accident causes the death of a person, all surviving drivers shall remain at the scene of the accident except to seek necessary aid or to report the accident to law enforcement authorities. Before leaving the scene of the fatal accident, each surviving driver shall leave the surviving driver’s driver’s license, automobile registration receipt, or other identification data at the scene of the accident. After leaving the scene of the accident, a surviving driver shall promptly report the accident to law enforcement authorities, and shall immediately return to the scene of the accident or inform the law enforcement authorities where the surviving driver can be located.
Violations of Iowa’s law concerning leaving the scene of an accident are simple misdemeanors, meaning that a person convicted of such a violation can receive a jail sentence of up to 30 days. Cases where there are leaving the scene of an accident charges also often result in a car accident lawsuit. That fact can make properly handling a leaving the scene of an accident charge even more important.