Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in all 50 states. If someone is hurt in the accident, fleeing the scene amounts to a felony hit and run.
Responsible drivers know that after an accident, you’re supposed to wait for emergency services and exchange information. But some drivers ignore the rules of the road. They may be afraid of what will happen to them and instead of staying at the scene of the accident, they will run. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident or pedestrian accident with a driver who fled the scene, a hit and run accident lawyer from Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help.
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Since 1959, our car accident attorneys have helped clients throughout Pennsylvania. We have received national recognition for our trial victories and outstanding service to our clients. We have been named among the Best Lawyers in America (via Best Lawyers), Best Law Firms (U.S. News and World Report), and are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Most importantly, we get results. Call or email our hit and run car accident attorneys today to arrange a free consultation. No settlement, no fee.
What Are the Consequences of Fleeing the Scene of an Accident?
While fleeing the scene of a crash can have serious consequences, it’s not entirely uncommon. According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation nearly 11 percent of all auto accidents reported involved a hit and run driver. Approximately 6 out of 10 fatal hit and run victims were pedestrians.
In Pennsylvania, a hit and run accident is a criminal act. The law requires you to stop and exchange information with the other driver in the event of a crash. If you leave the scene of an accident, you may face a third-degree misdemeanor charge which can carry up to one year in prison along with a fine of up to $2,500 or more if someone was injured in the accident.
What are Examples of Hit and Run Crashes?
Hit and run accidents are fundamentally crashes in which the at-fault driver flees the scene without stopping or with an exchange of information. This can happen in a variety of circumstances. For example, the NHTSA recently reported that “nearly 1 out of every 4 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2020 (23 percent) were struck by hit-and-run drivers.” A hit and run accident lawyer can help with hit and run accidents that include:
- A driver gets into an accident with another vehicle
- A driver hits a stationary object, like a parked car
- A driver hits a pedestrian, causing injury or wrongful death
What is the Difference Between a Hit and Run Accident and a Typical Car Accident Case?
While the basis of a hit and run collision and a car accident is the same, the process to recover compensation can be a bit different. In Pennsylvania, we often go to our own insurance company for compensation after a car accident unless the offer is not enough to cover the damages, or the case needs to go to trial. But in a hit and run crash, the type of insurance coverage you carry will determine how much compensation you can recover, even if the at fault driver fled the scene.
Pennsylvania allows drivers to purchase no-fault insurance or “limited tort” insurance, or fault-based insurance, known as “full tort” insurance.
If you have no-fault insurance, your own insurance company will likely cover the damages for hit-and-run accidents. But, if you have fault insurance coverage, it does become complicated.
For those with full tort insurance, and the at-fault driver in the hit and run is not found, your insurance company may only offer coverage if you purchase additional coverage packages. This includes:
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage provides insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by you or the passengers in your vehicle following an accident involving an uninsured driver or a driver who can’t be located.
- Personal injury protection coverage (PIP): PIP coverage provides up to $10,000 in coverage, regardless of who’s at fault or if the collision was a hit and run accident.
If you are unsure what type of coverage you have, or how much compensation you may be able to collect from the insurance after the hit and run accident, contact your insurance company or meet with a hit and run accident lawyer to learn more.
What To Do After a Hit and Run Accident in PA
If you are involved in a car accident and the other driver leaves the scene, don’t panic. The first thing you should do is get help for any injuries that you or your passengers may have. It’s important to contact the police and give them as much information as you can about the car that hit you, including make, model, and if possible license plate number. Speak with any witnesses near the scene of the accident who may have seen the other vehicle. Note any paint transfer left on your car, and take photographs.
Seek medical attention as soon as you can. Even if you don’t think you are injured, it’s always important to get checked out by a doctor. If you are injured, remember to keep a record of any expenses related to that injury. This includes keeping track of medical bills, doctor’s appointments, lab results, and time you have lost at work because of the accident. You will also want to start the claims process with your insurance.
Your next step after a hit and run accident is to get the police report. This will be important for your case because it will have a record of the accident plus the contact information of the other driver if they are found.
Finally, speak with an experienced hit and run accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. Our law firm works closely with expert investigators to obtain witness statements and review surveillance footage in order to track down hit and run drivers. In the event that the at-fault driver cannot be found, you still have some options. Uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy exists for just such a predicament.
What Are Pennsylvania’s Laws For Hit and Run Accidents?
Under Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code are the laws governing hit and run accidents. The code states that the driver of any vehicle involved in a car accident that results in injury or property damage is required by law to:
- Stop their vehicle at/near the scene
- Provide their name, address, registration number, and driver’s license to others involved in the accident
- Leave their information on the damaged car if the other driver is not present
- Assist any injured parties
In most cases, the cops will be at the scene of the accident once emergency personnel has been called. But, if the police are not called you must report the accident within five days of the collision, specifically if the accident resulted in death, injury, or severe property damage.
Report forms are available at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website and must include the following information:
- Make, model and body style of all the vehicles involved
- License plate numbers
- Vehicle identification numbers (VIN)
- Description of the damage
- Name, address, and phone numbers of all the parties involved
- Insurance policy numbers of all the parties involved
However, if there was a hit and run accident, you can still report the collision with as much detail as you can provide.
What Are The Penalties For a Hit and Run Accident?
Much like any Pennsylvania car accident, the penalties for a hit and run accident will depend on the severity of the damage and injuries sustained in the collision. The following are the penalties for a hit and run accident.
- If the accident resulted in property damage only and you fled the scene, you could be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor and face up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,500.
- If the accident resulted in injuries, you could be convicted of a third-degree felony and receive a minimum 90-day jail sentence with a potential of up to 7 years, and a minimum $1,000 fine.
- If the hit and run resulted in death, you could be convicted of a second-degree felony and face a minimum of 3 years in prison with a potential sentence of up to 7 years, and a minimum $2,500 fine.
Further, depending on the hit and run driver’s track record, they may lose their license temporarily or permanently. Regardless if you face civil or criminal charges, it’s never a smart idea to flee the accident scene.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover After a Hit and Run Crash?
Hit and run accidents can leave you with anything from surface-level scrapes to property damage, lifelong injuries, and other impact to your quality of life. Experienced hit and run lawyers can help ensure you get a fair settlement to recover from a hit and run driver. Here are just some of the types of damages you can receive after hit and run accidents:
- Lost Wages: After an accident, you may be left with injuries that prevent you from going back to work. Or from completing work duties in the same way you were able to before. You can include any lost earnings in your hit and run case. This number can be hard to enumerate, so it’s key you have a hit and run lawyer who can help you quantify how much you are owed.
- Property Damage: When hit and run crashes cause damage to your vehicle or other property, you should include that in your personal injury case. Maybe the hit and run driver took out a mailbox or other stationary object other than your car. A hit and run lawyer can help you identify all of the property damage that occurred due to your accident.
- Medical Bills: If you’ve been injured in a hit and run, it’s important you seek immediate medical attention and pursue compensation to cover any injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you understand for what you as an injured person are able to pursue compensation.
Your Next Step: Call a Hit and Run Attorney at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we help hit and run accident victims file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A hit and run accident lawyer can help your case in many ways:
- Investigate the accident, especially if you are having a hard time identifying the at-fault driver. This includes collecting video footage from nearby cameras or other sources, plus interviewing any witnesses.
- Dealing with your insurance provider (and any other necessary car insurance companies) on your behalf. This ensures you receive a fair settlement for your case.
- Go to trial if necessary. An experienced lawyer and legal team can build your case, using expert witnesses and accident recreation to prove you are owed compensation for your injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, an experienced hit and run accident attorney at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is ready to fight for you today. Our services do not cost you a penny unless we recover for you. Call today or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.
Hit and Run Accidents: FAQ
Any car accident is stressful to be part of. But when the at-fault driver flees the scene and you are left with property damage and injuries, it can be catastrophic. Learn more about frequently asked questions in hit and run accidents below.
Q: Why Would a Hit and Run Driver Flee?
A: Despite Pennsylvania law clearly stating what needs to happen in the moments following a car accident, a hit and run driver may find any variety of reasons to flee the scene. Common reasons car accident lawyers see drivers flee accident scenes are:
- Intoxication or driving under the influence of drugs
- Driving with a suspended license
- Driving without car insurance
- An outstanding warrant for the driver’s arrest
- Stolen car
- The liable driver didn’t realize they were in an accident
Even if the motor vehicle accident was an honest mistake, fleeing the scene can cost you more than just paying an insurance charge.
Q: What Shouldn’t You Do After a Hit and Run?
A: Following a hit and run or another type of wreck, you should never chase after the other driver involved or engage in confrontation. Instead, you should take note of any descriptions of the car involved, including license plate number, and the driver to supply to the police and let them handle the rest.
Further, you should speak to any witnesses who may have photos or videos of the wreck or are willing to give a statement to the police. Make sure you get their contact info so they can be contacted later by your lawyer if necessary. Car accidents are complex enough, but when the driver flees, you may need a motor vehicle accident attorney who can track down the negligent party. Lawyers can do everything from utilize an investigator to review the details and track them down to collecting any pertinent video footage from nearby cameras.
Q: What Are Common Injuries in a Hit and Run?
A: It’s not uncommon for a driver to have suffered injuries in a hit and run accident. In fact, many drivers may face serious injuries and later require legal assistance to seek compensation for their losses.
Some of the most common injuries in a hit and run wreck include:
- Scrapes and bruises
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Concussion and other traumatic brain injuries
- Disfigurement and disability
In the worst cases, this can include wrongful death. No matter the severity of your collision, be sure to seek medical attention after an auto accident. And, if your insurance company does not provide adequate compensation for your suffering, a personal injury lawsuit may be an option.
Q: How Do Car Accident Lawyers Find the Driver Responsible?
A: Though it may not be necessary to find the driver who fled, it can be more beneficial to have known their identity when seeking financial recovery. Because of this, your hit and run accident lawyers or personal injury lawyers will do everything in their power to find the other driver.
This will include gathering evidence from the scene, meeting with witnesses, reviewing your personal injury claim, calculating your medical expenses, and reviewing the accident scene. If they can find the insurance information of the other party involved, you are more likely to have success in hit and run cases. But, if the driver cannot be found, it will be against your insurance company to get compensation.
Q: What Happens if I Don’t Seek Immediate Medical Attention After a Hit and Run?
A: Just like any other auto accident, when a hit and run accident occurs, being checked out by a doctor is not only good for you, as you’ll know the extent of your injuries, but it also helps preserve your case. Any law firm will tell you that it is important to have medical documentation that shows you suffered real injuries and losses in car accidents and not sometime after the fact.
Even if you are not hurt, your hit and run accident lawyer will tell you to be checked out at a medical facility right away.
Q: How Can Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Hit and Run Accident Attorneys Help Me?
A: If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, or a hit and run, contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. Our hit and run accident attorneys will review your claim in our free case evaluation, and help you determine what your next steps are.
Personal injury law is complex, and when you are in a collision where the driver has fled, it’s all the more important to have a personal injury attorney by your side who has experience with hit and runs.
For a no-obligation, free case evaluation, contact the car accident attorneys of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today. We’re available 24/7 via phone, chat, or email.