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What's a Hit and Run?

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What's a Hit and Run?

A hit and run is a type of auto accident in which one party flees the scene of the accident without leaving their contact information. This is usually the party responsible for the accident, although it can sometimes happen that the other party leaves as well. State laws typically require the parties to exchange information with one another in the event of a car accident.

What Are Some Examples of Hit and Run Accidents?

A common scenario is where a moving car strikes a car that is parked and unattended. This can happen in a parking lot or along a major roadway. In such cases, the moving car driver is obligated to leave a note with their contact information so that the two parties can discuss insurance and/or compensation for damages.

Another scenario is where two cars get into an accident while they are driving on the roadway. In such cases, the cars are supposed to pull over safely so that they can exchange information with one another. Here, a hit and run may occur if one of the drivers doesn’t ever pull over and instead flees the scene. This can be a dangerous thing to do, especially if any of the parties are injured, or if there is serious damage to either car.

Another type of hit and run incident is where a car strikes a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Regardless of whose fault it is, the parties do need to exchange information. Thus, if the car driver leaves the scene, it may be classified as a hit and run.

What Are the Penalties for a Hit and Run Accident?

Hit and run accidents often lead to civil lawsuits in which the defendant pays damages to the plaintiff for their losses. Hit and run accidents can also lead to more serious criminal charges rather than a simple traffic citation. If the incident resulted in major property damage, it could result in misdemeanor charges. This is punishable by a small criminal fine and a jail sentence of one year maximum.

Hit and run crimes that cause serious bodily harm or death may result in felony hit and run charges. These can lead to a prison sentence of more than one year, and greater criminal fines. There may be hit and run defenses depending on the facts (for instance, if the driver was attending to a legitimate emergency).

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Hit and Run Legal Issues?

Hit and run incidents can often be complex and may involve several different legal concepts. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer for help with hit and run claims. Your attorney can provide you with valuable legal advice and insight during the actual trial process. Also, your lawyer can assist you with filing and claims or reports with authorities.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 11-08-2016 03:29 PM PST

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