A hit-and-run accident is an illegal act where the individual who causes or contributes to the accident leaves the scene without identifying himself to avoid any sort of penalties or prosecution. A hit-and-run accident can have many forms, but all involve the liable driver fleeing the scene to avoid punishment. For example, a driver may crash into a pedestrian, another car, or some sort of fixture. There is a formal process that needs to be followed after an accident. Parties involved must exchange personal information such as phone numbers, insurance information, and other information concerning financial obligation.
These actions are not enforced in every jurisdiction in the U.S, though it is considered a social norm. Another example of a hit-and-run accident is when someone crashes into a parked car and doesn’t leave any sort of note containing contact information.
Each year, thousands are killed in hit-and-run accidents with most of the victims being pedestrians. Deadly hit-and-run accidents are reported to happen mostly at night and on the weekends. Intoxication is also a factor. Hit-and-run accident laws vary in different states, but in Pennsylvania, the driver who flees can be found guilty of a first-degree felony or a third-degree felony if the victim dies. By law, the drivers involved in the accident need to pull over and exchange information. If one of the drivers is injured, the other driver needs to remain at the scene and wait for arrangements to be made.
Hit-and-Run Accident Legal Consequences
A driver who flees the scene of the accident will be subject to severe legal consequences, which include the suspension or cancellation of a driver’s license, with a possibility of permanent revocation. A hit-and-run is a criminal act which may be punished with imprisonment and large fines. Insurance companies will also most likely take away the offender’s policy.
Some states deal with hit-and-run accidents differently. In Virginia, a hit-and-run is considered a felony if it causes serious injury, death, or reaches a certain dollar amount in damages. If it doesn’t meet this criterion, it will be deemed a misdemeanor. In Texas, if the accident involves a death or a severe injury, it will be deemed a third-degree felony. Hit-and-run accidents causing less than severe injuries will land the liable driver in jail for up to five years. Hit-and-run accidents causing $200 or more in damages are labeled a Class B misdemeanor. Less than $200 is considered Class C.
When You’re Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident
When drivers flee the scene of the accident, it’s usually because they’re already in some sort of trouble with the law, or they lack something that is required to drive their vehicle. For instance, they may not have auto insurance or a valid license, or there is a current warrant out for their arrest. After being involved in a hit-and-run accident, it’s important you do not try to catch the driver yourself. Call the police, and file an accident claim. If there are witnesses, collect their information. Write down anything you can remember about the fleeing vehicle such as the make and model.
When filing for compensation, having as much evidence and information as possible will be in your best interest. It is important to call an experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer to help you recover damages.
Free Case Evaluation for Philadelphia Victims
The hit-and-run accident lawyers at the Heslin Law Firm understand how overwhelming it can be when you’re involved in an accident and the other driver flees the scene. We understand that getting compensated for injuries, damages, and medical expenses is your main concern. We make it ours as well. We will help you deal with the insurance companies and answer your questions every step of the way.
Contact the Heslin Law Firm to schedule a free consultation if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident.