3 Legal Consequences of Hit-and-Run Car Accidents – 2024 Guide

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Leaving the scene after a hit-and-run accident is one of the most ungrateful things people can do. Sadly, it’s still happening all around the world, leaving many people hurt or even dead behind them, without even thinking about what they’ve done. This action is considered a huge crime in most of the countries all around the world, and the one who runs away may face justice later and be charged for criminal activity.

One of the things that aren’t still regulated is what happens if the person who caused the accident is never found, and if you want to know what your options are, read more about the topic and try to do everything in your power to make the most of it. Of course, if there is a case of a dead person, there is nothing that can help the grieving family to overcome the loss, except the justice for their loved person.

If you are involved in an accident like this, and it’s your fault, you mustn’t run away, because you are obligated by law to give basic first aid if possible, call the police, and the emergency if needed. Until they arrive, you need to stay with the victim, so you can be there if they need some help to stop the eventual bleeding, or give them water to calm down if the wounds are not too serious and life-threatening.

Before you do anything, you need to know a few things about car accidents, because they may happen to anyone. If a person is hit and injured, it’s considered a felony and you will face charges anyway. A misdemeanor is an accident when some small damage occurs, without involving human victims. But, if the damage overcomes $1,000 it’s also a felony, and you will need a good lawyer for any of these cases.

If you decide to run away, you can be sure there are legal consequences you will face, and here are some of them:

1. Criminal penalties

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As we said, hit-and-run is a serious crime against humanity in general, no matter if it’s classified as a felony or misdemeanor. Most of the countries around the world have legal punishments and penalties when it comes to leaving the accident scene. Most of the American states may impose financial punishments starting from $5,000, going up to $20,000, or they can require a few years in prison if you hurt someone. The penalties for misdemeanors are lower, but they are still significant for your pocket, and maybe you won’t be able to afford that, without having to borrow money or take loans to pay for it. So, if you are involved in an accident, it’s always better for you to stay there if you are responsible, instead of leaving, without even taking care if the person is fine and alive.

2. Administrative penalties

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Criminal penalties are not the only ones you will have to pay for. There are also administrative regulations, that may require taking your driver’s license, no matter if you took a part in a felony or misdemeanor. The suspension may last up to six months, but in some countries around the world, you may not be able to drive again in the next three years. That means you will have to pay fees once you are able to have your new driving license, and no one guarantees it will be easy once you get it back. Sometimes these penalties may be lower if the circumstances are by your side, but leaving the accident scene is a crime by itself and no one will be easy on you, especially if it resulted in death or serious injuries that affect the victim’s life in a bad way.

3. Civil penalties

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In this group, we will mention the possible lawsuits that the people who were involved in the accident as victims, may issue against you. That means you will have an obligation to pay for their hospital expenses, property damage, or even for the PTSD condition they may have after that. Civil suits are much higher than criminal penalties, especially when the victim has a good and powerful attorney.

Another thing that is important to keep in mind is that your insurance company may stop the contract with you if you are guilty of a hit-and-run accident that resulted in serious injuries, or even death to some of the victims. Almost every law, no matter the country, requires the guilty person to stay at the scene until the police and emergency arrive. Also, if you see that someone is injured in an accident, and there is no one around (which means the guilty one run away), you have to stop, call the police, tell your location, and stay with the victim until they arrive. If the victim is contactable, they may be able to remember some information that can be helpful to find the one who caused the accident.

We seriously hope you won’t ever be part of something like this, but if it somehow happens, you must stay there, because that’s your responsibility as a human being with empathy and emotional intelligence. No one wants to live with constant guilt and fear, so if you caused an accident, then you need to face the charges against you. Of course, you can expect to be sued because of that, and you will need an attorney who is specialized in criminal defense, so they can see if you have an option for a lower and easier punishment. Most of these cases end up in court, and you sure need someone who will represent you. The lawsuits against you may sound frightening, but as we said, if you are responsible for the accident, you will need to pay for any damage you caused.

If there was a death due to the accident, there is nothing that may help the grieving family to overcome the pain, but most of them will be happy if the guilty person faces justice. We are all people, and bad things happen every day. But, we shouldn’t run away from them – just the opposite, every one of us should be aware and responsible, even if that means you will need to stay in jail for a few months or years.