The Legal Consequences Of Hit And Run Accidents

hit and run

Being involved in a hit-and-run accident is a stressful and costly experience with serious legal consequences. A hit-and-run accident describes a car accident where a driver hits another vehicle, a pedestrian, or an object. Rather than stopping to provide assistance or exchange information, the driver flees the scene.

While hit-and-run accidents are not normally intentional, it’s important to remain at the scene to avoid legal consequences. Leaving the scene of the accident is against the law and can lead to serious criminal charges, such as fines, imprisonment, and license suspension.

In the worst-case scenario, an accident can lead to personal injury or wrongful death claims, leaving the driver responsible for compensating the injured party.

It’s important to stay updated about the legal consequences of a hit-and-run accident to protect yourself against potential legal repercussions — and that’s where we come in.

Criminal Consequences Of Hit And Run Accidents

Hit-and-run accidents can lead to serious criminal charges, including the following.

  • Leaving the scene of an accident which is charged when a driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident to exchange information or assess damages.
  • Reckless driving is charged in the instance of speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Vehicular manslaughter is charged upon the death of another person.

The penalties for hit-and-run accidents vary depending on the severity of the accident and the state in which it occurred. Some potential penalties include the following.

  • Fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
  • Imprisonment on the condition that the accident resulted in serious injury or death.
  • License suspension or revocation, making it illegal for a driver to get behind the wheel for a certain period of time.

Civil Consequences Of Hit And Run Accidents

In addition to criminal charges, hit-and-run accidents can also result in civil lawsuits. Consider the following as an example.

  • Personal injury claims that seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Property damage claims if the hit-and-run accident resulted in damage to another person’s property, such as their vehicle or a fence.
  • Wrongful death claims if the accident resulted in the death of another person, the deceased person’s family may file a wrongful death claim against the driver to seek compensation for their loss.

The consequences of a hit-and-run accident can also impact a driver’s car insurance rates and coverage. For example, a hit-and-run driver may be considered a high-risk driver by their insurance company, resulting in higher premiums or even a loss of coverage.

In some cases, the driver’s insurance company may also refuse to cover the damages resulting from the hit-and-run accident, leaving the driver personally responsible for paying. Bearing this financial burden can result in financial hardship and difficulty obtaining car insurance in the future.

Steps To Take If You Are Involved In A Hit And Run Accident

Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be a traumatic experience for all parties involved. To avoid further legal and financial implications, it’s important to consider the following steps after a hit-and-run accident.

Stay At The Scene Of The Crime

Even if you feel panic, ensure you remain at the accident scene. Leaving the scene before authorities arrive may result in criminal or civil charges against you.

Assess For Injuries

Hit-and-run accidents may be small collisions or more severe. Check yourself and other parties involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.

Call The Police

Report the accident to the police and provide them with as much information as possible, such as the make and model of the other vehicle, the license plate number, and the direction the other driver fled.

Gather Information And Document The Scene

If possible, collect information from any witnesses at the scene, such as their names, contact information, and a brief statement of what they saw. Take photos of the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle, any debris on the road, and any skid marks. These photographs may be useful later when filing an insurance claim.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once all damage has been assessed and documented, report the accident to your insurance company and provide them with as much information as possible. Make sure to follow up with the insurance company and confirm that they have everything that they need.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel injured at the time, it’s important to seek medical attention to rule out any hidden injuries that may become apparent later.

Connect With Qualified Lawyers

Understanding your rights and obligations related to a hit-and-run accident is the first step in protecting yourself while ensuring the driver is held accountable for their actions. At Real Deal Attorneys, we are committed to connecting you with qualified legal counsel for your specific case — including hit-and-run accidents — in Southern California.

If you need help or have a question, give us a call at (424) 367-1271.


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