Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise. Recent crash data analysis by AAA has found that a hit and run crash occurs every minute in this country. In a year, over 2,000 hit and run accidents on our roads result in a fatality. Most of the victims are pedestrians or bicyclists.
A hit-and-run is any car accident where a person involved leaves the scene without stopping to identify themselves or offer aid. Some states require the accident be on a roadway while others include crashes happening in parking lots. In these states, if an accident happens involving an unoccupied car parked in a lot, then the driver needs to leave a note with contact information on the windshield of the unoccupied vehicle.
Penalties for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Fleeing the scene of an accident is never a good idea. The act of a hit and run is a crime and can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. In most states, leaving the scene of an accident if someone is injured is a felony. In these cases, fines between $5,000 and $20,000 are typical. A felony hit-and-run is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If no one is injured, the crime will be considered a misdemeanor. In this case, fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to one year can be imposed.
Most states issue administrative penalties for someone fleeing an accident. These will vary but can include an automatic suspension or revocation of the driver’s license for six months or more. Depending on the severity of the crime, it is possible to permanently lose driving privileges.
Civil penalties are also possible. If the driver in a hit-and-run caused the accident, then the victim may seek to recover damages to compensate for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Most states also allow for treble damages, which are three times the original damage award. Treble damages are a form of punishment for bad behavior of leaving the scene of the accident and are not covered by car insurance policies.
Never leave the scene of an accident before exchanging information with the other person. If you are at fault, do not make the situation worse by fleeing. If you are the victim, make sure you obtain the contact information you need from the other person so that you can file an insurance claim and reach them if you need to pursue legal options to recover damages.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Victims Injured in Hit-and-Run Accidents
If you have been involved in a car accident, contact a skilled Cherry Hill car accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law to advise you of your rights and analyze your case. Contact us at 856-414-0010 or fill out our online form to set up a free initial consultation. Our Cherry Hill, New Jersey office serves clients from Camden County and the surrounding areas.