Hit-and-Run occurs, when a party involved in an accident flees the scene of the accident. In addition to civil liability, a driver involved in an accident could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, if she or he did not:

  • stop at the scene of the collision;
  • provide identification; or
  • offer assistance to any person injured as a result of the accident.

A Hit-and-Run accident does not have to always be between moving vehicles. It could take place if a driver strikes:

  • a pedestrian;
  • a bicyclist;
  • animals;
  • parked vehicles;
  • or other properties.

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The Law mandates that the driver of the vehicle, who caused the accident with a parked vehicle or other unattended properties, to leave a note with contact information and report the incident to the law enforcement.

While, it is important for a party involved in an accident to be aware of the accident in order to stop: fault is not an issue in Hit-and-Run situations. This means, even if a driver that is obeying all traffic laws gets into an accident, due to the carelessness of others, still must stop at the scene and provide identification or offer aid to the injured, if needed.

Even a passenger, who takes control of a vehicle, which is involved in an accident, and leaves the scene of the accident; or successfully persuades the driver to flee, can face criminal charges and civil liabilities.

In most jurisdictions, prosecutors charge violators with Misdemeanor or Felony crimes. For instance, if an accident causes death or any other serious injury, generally, the culprit of a Hit-and-Run is charged with a felony; and if no one was injured in the collision, the fleeing driver could be charged with a misdemeanor.

In some states, namely California, a person convicted of a felony hit-and-run conviction can be sentenced up to 4 years in prison; and up to $10,000 in fine. Whereas, Cal. Veh. Code § § 20001, 20002 (2016) imposes a possible 6-month jail time and a fine of up to $1,000 for misdemeanor Hit-and-Run crimes.


In addition to criminal prosecution, a driver involved in a hit and run could be subject to:

  • Civil lawsuits brought by victims of the accident;
  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) could impose its own administrative penalties. For instance, a conviction for Hit-and-Run, regardless of whether it’s for a felony or misdemeanor, can result in suspension or revocation of the driver’s license for a period of six months or more.
  • Insurance Corporations could increase their insurance premiums, and so on.

The victim of a Hit-and-Run accident could file a lawsuit against the fleeing driver for compensations, such as medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and many other types of damages.

Some jurisdictions impose “Treble Damages,” which means the awarded damages to the plaintiff are automatically tripled. This is a punitive measure to prevent the Defendant and/or others from committing Hits-and-Run crimes in the future.


If the fleeing driver is not identified compensations for damages depends on the State, where the accident took place in. Generally, your own vehicle insurance could pay for your damages, if you have “Uninsured Coverage.”

The Uninsured motorist bodily injury helps pay for Physical Injuries caused by a Hit-and-Run accident, while Uninsured Motorist Property Damage covers damages to your vehicle damages. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional in some states and mandatory in others.

If you are hit by another driver, who flees the scene, you should try to safely:

1) Pull over and make sure everyone is okay. It is important that you do not chase after the offending driver.

2) Try to record as much detail as you can, safely, about the causes and circumstances of the accident, such as;

  • A description of the fleeing driver and/or the vehicle’s color, make, model, and license plate number;
  • Time and location of the accident;
  • The sequence of events, including which direction the fleeing driver was headed before and after the accident;
  • Write down the contact information of any eyewitnesses;
  • If safe, take some pictures of your damages, location, positions, directions and so on.

3. Contact Police

An official accident report in a Hit-and-Run accident could make a major difference in the outcome of your case. Even, if you are unable to provide much information about the fleeing driver, your police report will come in handy during your claims’ process.

4. Call Your Chosen Attorney immediately for legal advice, regarding your rights and duties

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