A hit and run act is a car accident with another car, a pedestrian or a standing object where one or all persons involved leave the scene without giving identification or stopping to help those injured. A few states include animal collision in the description of a hit and run accident.
Are Hit and Run Accidents a Crime?
Yes, hit and run accidents are considered criminal acts in some states. States classify these as either misdemeanors or felonies. Most of the states define a felony hit and run as leaving the location of an accident where there is a particular type of damage to a person.
Felony hit and run accidents can lead to severe penalties. States impose rigid and considerable fines ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. A felony hit and run act also carries potential for imprisonment as a penalty – up to 15 years in prison. Some states, like California, categorize hit and run accidents as a misdemeanor carrying with it a punishment of six months in jail along with a steep fine of $1,000.
In either case, the persons involved will need an experienced attorney to help navigate the complex laws and details of a hit and run accident case. Whether you have been notified for leaving the scene of a hit and run accident or you are a victim still searching for the driver who caused your injuries, seeking competent legal assistance is essential.
It is important to note that acting quickly to file a lawsuit in a hit and run accident is also essential. The statute of limitations in such cases can be a relatively short period of time depending on the state laws that apply. A skilled personal injury attorney can help with this as well.
Why Leaving the Scene Is Illegal
In most states, even if the driver did not cause the accident, leaving could be illegal. The reason for leaving an accident scene could affect legal outcomes, however. For example, leaving to access emergency aid by going to a hilltop area to catch cell phone signals isn’t considered a hit and run act in most states when the driver returns to the accident scene after obtaining emergency assistance.
Hit and run laws are extended by most of the states to cover parking lot accidents. For example, leaving the parking area after hitting a parked car without leaving a note with contact information could be considered a hit and run incident in some states.
Why Shegerian & Associates for Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents are serious incidents requiring the trusted assistance of attorneys familiar with traffic laws and the courts that enforce them. Shegerian & Associates is well prepared to take on your hit and run case with strategic representation to deliver the best legal outcome for your particular situation.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident and need the help of an excellent team of qualified attorneys, contact Shegerian & Associates today.