Hit-and-run is any accident in which a vehicle hits a person, thing, or vehicle and the at-fault driver leaves the scene without providing their information.
Most states consider an accident to be a hit-and-run even if the accident does not occur on a highway or highway.
Whatever you do, don’t leave the scene of the accident!
A car accident may not be your fault. However, leaving the scene of the accident is a crime in itself that falls 100% on you. Leaving the scene could bring consequences such as:
- Additional or increased charges
- Points on your record
- suspended license
- prison time
Additional penalties could include obtaining special SR-22 insurance. That is the same insurance associated with DUI.
What to do if the accident only involves another vehicle or property damage
Did you accidentally scratch another Salvage title car in the parking lot? Even if no one is hurt and the property owner is not around, you still have to take responsibility. If the owner of the property is there, both of you must remain at the location and file a police report.
- Look around for the owner, if not at the scene of the accident. If you hit a parked car, there’s a good chance it’s shopping at a nearby store or the owner lives nearby. Before you leave the accident to look for the owner, leave a note in the vehicle/property with your name and number in case they return before you.
- Stick a note with your information on the damaged item if you can’t find the property owner. Leave your name, phone number, email address, and license plate number.
- File a police report. This is a precautionary step that will keep you out of “hot water.” Voluntarily reporting the accident to the police is the right thing to do and will minimize the repercussions of a traffic violation if you were the at-fault party.
- You can also file a report with your insurance. If the property owner requests money for damages, your insurance policy may cover it.
You have a legal obligation to stop and help if you hit someone
If you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian or bicyclist, call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if the person feels fine, they should be evaluated by a medical professional. Remain at the scene and wait for the paramedics to arrive.
When you are involved in an accident and a person’s injury is made worse because they did not act, it can lead to more severe charges, including vehicular manslaughter.
Temporarily leaving the scene of an accident to get help or increase safety is generally not considered a hit-and-run as long as you return to the scene.
Hit and run on your car insurance
Another consideration is your insurance policy. A hit-and-run incurs higher criminal penalties, possibly leading to jail or license suspension. Many accidents where you are stopped are just a traffic ticket at most.
The same logic applies to your insurance rates. An increase in hit-and-run insurance is far worse than properly reporting an accident because it will be seen as increased liability. And higher liability means higher premiums.
Hit and Run Laws
If you receive a traffic violation, you can remove the points from your license by taking a safe driving course, but a hit and run is a more serious offense. It’s the type of crime that can easily lead to jail time, very high fines, and limitations on your driver’s license.
Hit-and-run laws vary from state to state. Notably, one thing consistent across states is that the consequences of a hit and run are far worse than stopping and taking responsibility.
Whether it’s a person or an object, if you hit something with your car, you must stop. It’s never okay to move on, even if you didn’t see exactly what you hit.
Do not fall into this situation and do the right thing! Call the police and your insurance provider for support in this difficult time.