If you cause a vehicle accident, your initial instinct may be to escape the area. However, here's what you need to know:
Parties involved in an accident are required to stop at an accident site.
Criminal charges may be brought against a driver who flees the scene of an accident.
Drivers who flee the scene of an accident are likely to lose their driving privileges and insurance policies.
Criminal Penalties for Hit-And-Run Accidents
Different states have different punishments for hit-and-runs. A hit-and-run may be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. For most states, leaving the scene of an accident in which a person has been hurt, whether that person is on the ground or in a car, constitutes a hit-and-run.
When someone commits a hit-and-run, the consequences are severe. Most states have financial penalties ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 for minor infractions.
A hit-and-run resulting in a death or severe injury can result in prison time. According to the accident's circumstances and the injuries' severity, a hit-and-run offender might face around 25 years in prison.
Administrative Consequences for Leaving Accident Scenes
For hit-and-runs, practically every state adds administrative penalties relating to your driver's license in addition to the criminal penalties you face. The Department of Motor Vehicles in each state may apply these sanctions. It is typical for your driver's license to be suspended for six months once you are convicted of a hit-and-run. You can even get your license revoked. If your license is revoked, you will have to start over with driver's ed.
If you were at fault for the accident, another party might bring a lawsuit against you to recover damages. Medical costs, missed pay, and property damage may all be sought in a lawsuit.
Even if you did not flee the scene of the accident, a lawsuit of this kind might be filed against you if you are found to be at fault for the collision. Damages awarded by a court will almost certainly be higher if you are also found guilty of hit-and-run in addition to causing the accident.
To avoid those steep penalties, you should prepare yourself to drive safely. Have integrity by not fleeing a scene and running away from a problem you caused. Highway Hero Driving Academy wants to hear from you: Have you ever witnessed a hit-and-run accident yourself? Have you ever known someone to be involved in a hit-and-run?