What are the Consequences of a Hit and Run Accident?

The consequences of a hit and run accident can be very severe if you do not try to remedy your inappropriate actions right away. If you are asking this question, there is a good chance that you or someone you love is a victim of a hit and run; or in a moment of panic, you or someone you love left an accident scene before following the protocols that are required by law.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a hit and run accident, or if a much loved family member has tragically died because of one, there is a good chance that the negligent driver may be liable for expenses. If you or someone close to you is living in fear for not knowing what to do to remedy their leaving the scene of an accident, there are plenty of things you can do but ignoring this is not going to make potential ramifications go away.

What is a hit and run accident?

Generally speaking, a hit and run accident is an accident involving at least one vehicle where one or more of the people involved in the accident, leave the scene without identifying themselves to other people involved in the accident. If someone is injured in an accident and another person involved in the accident leaves without offering to assist those in need of medical attention, it can also be considered a hit and run.

Do all states have the same laws about hit and run accidents?

While many states have similar laws about hit and run accidents, they do not all have the same laws. In some states, the term hit and run also covers collisions with animals. In many states, places such as parking lots and structures are also covered under this term. Many states call it a hit and run if you hit a parked car without leaving your name and contact information on the windshield of the car you hit, even if you were going very slowly such as when one backs out of a parking space.

In most states, it does not matter whether or not a person caused an accident for it to be called a hit and run. If you or someone you love left an accident scene, discussing your situation with someone who is licensed to practice law in your state may help to answer your questions and how your state’s laws apply to your specific situation.

What kinds of penalties come with a hit and run accident?

The penalties for hit and run accidents vary from state to state. Typically, a person facing a hit and run charge may be subject to criminal, administrative and/or civil penalties.

Criminal Penalties Many states classify a hit and run as either a felony or misdemeanor. While a felony charge typically faces harsher punishments and penalties compared to a misdemeanor, they are both considered crimes punishable by fines, jail time, and other restrictions and expenses.

Administrative Penalties Most people facing hit and run charges in most states will also receive administrative penalties related to their drivers license. These are applied to a person’s driving record and license by their states’ department of motor vehicles.

Civil Penalties If your negligence was the cause of any kind of accident, including a hit and run, you may be liable for expenses that are the result of this accident.

For more information about legal questions and information, visit the Law Education Center.

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