Have you watched Dead to Me, the new Netflix hit that’s on everyone’s minds — and Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds? Not since The Handmaid’s Tale has the television world been buzzing so hard, and it’s with good reason. Christina Applegate gives a star turn as Jen Harding, a real-estate agent and recently bereaved widow who’s seething with anger over her husband’s hit and run death. When Jen reluctantly attends a grief support group, she meets a free spirit with some dark secrets named Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) and the two become unlikely — and on-again, off-again — BFFs.
Much of Dead to Me’s suspense centers around whether or not the hit and run case will be solved. Since the fatal crash occurred in the wee hours, with no witnesses and not a lot of evidence to go on, it seems unlikely. But of course, we all know that television dramas need to take some liberties with the truth, in order to help pace the plot.
Just how realistic is it that a hit and run would go unsolved? And what should you do if you’re involved in a tragedy of this type?
Clearing Up Some Misconceptions
First, it’s important to understand what exactly a hit and run accident entails. In Dead to Me, the crime is a heinous one that has left a man dead and a family devastated. But this type of crime is a lot more common, and a lot easier to commit, than you might think.
For example, have you ever sideswiped a vehicle parked on the street or in a lot, and left without talking to the owner or leaving a note? If so, you have committed a hit and run.
Make no mistake: it’s not an honorable thing to do by any means. However, it isn’t exactly a hanging offense, either. In almost every such hit and run accident case, the victim’s automotive insurance will take care of the costs incurred. That’s the whole purpose of insurance.
Even when a hit and run case is more serious than a scraped side panel or a fender bender, that doesn’t mean the perpetrator had malicious intent. Good people get into accidents. Good people make poor choices, especially in the heat of the moment, when they are overtaken by adrenaline.
What to Do After a Hit and Run
So you have swerved a little too far or hit the brakes a little too late, caused an accident, and then peeled out of there in panic. What now?
If it’s not too late, go back to the scene of the crime. Not only is it the decent thing to do, but it will really help your case, should you be prosecuted. While it might not be easy, you will feel better by facing the music instead of running from the law.
After that, immediately secure the services of a hit and run defense attorney. An attorney will listen to the facts of your case, determine any mitigating factors, and advise you as to the next steps to take.
“A hit and run doesn’t necessarily have to mean jail time,” explains Denver hit and run lawyer Matthew Hand. “With the proper representation, you could be looking at a lesser conviction that results in probation, or even a dismissal.”
What Are the Odds of Getting Away with It?
The idea of coming clean after you have caused a hit and run accident is terrifying, particularly if someone has been injured. Would it be better to simply hope that you don’t get caught?
Well, no. Chances are you will get caught, sooner or later. There may have been witnesses. Even more likely, in many cases, is the possibility that there is security camera footage that could identify your vehicle. And you’d be amazed at what forensic science can do when it comes to linking damage to a car with injuries to a person or property.
Hit and run accidents are often prosecuted aggressively, so it’s just not worth the risk — or the stress of constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering when you’ll be collared for the crime. If you have been involved in this type of accident, the best course of action is contacting an attorney as soon as possible.