A “hit and run” is defined by the involvement in an automobile accident and leaving the scene before identifying oneself or leaving the others involved stranded. The accident may include any collision with another car, a pedestrian, a stationary object and, in some states, an animal. If you believe you are involved in a hit and run car accident, a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney at Heuser & Heuser can provide the legal assistance you need.
Penalties for a Hit and Run: When You’re Responsible
The criminal penalties imposed on the guilty party in hit and run accidents vary depending on the state in which the accident occurred and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Felony charges are generally applied if the accident caused a person to be injured. Felony punishments include fines ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 and up to 15 years in jail. In less severe hit and run cases, the guilty party may be charged with a misdemeanor, punishment for which includes fines up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail.
In addition to criminal penalties, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles typically imposes administrative penalties. These usually involve automatic suspension or complete revocation of the guilty party’s driver’s license for time periods ranging from six months to three years. However, in some cases, the punishment could include a lifetime revocation.
Finally, the guilty party in a hit and run may receive civil penalties on top of the criminal and administrative penalties. Whether you fled the scene of the accident or not, if you are the one at fault, the other person may sue you for their damages. If you fled the scene on top of being at fault for the accident, many states will impose “treble damages” onto the monetary compensation you already owe. This triples the amount of money you owe the other party and is not covered by your car insurance. In fact, most car insurance companies cancel the auto policies of those guilty of a hit and run.
When You Are the Victim of a Hit and Run
After reviewing the penalties for those guilty of a hit and run, you might be wondering about those who are victims of such an incident. If a driver damaged your property such as your car or your mailbox and didn’t leave their contact information, you are the victim of a hit and run. If someone hit you with their car while you were walking along or crossing the street and didn’t stop or provide their information, you are the victim of a hit and run. Even if you are the driver who causes a car accident, and the other driver flees the scene, you are still the victim of a hit and run.
While it may feel like your options are limited when you are the victim of such an accident, you still have options for receiving compensation. If you are in the Colorado Springs area and have sustained injuries as a result of a hit and run, contact Heuser & Heuser and hire a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney to represent you.