The definition of a hit and run car accident is a collision where the driver does not stop to provide personal identification or check to see if anyone at the scene needs assistance. There is not always someone else at the scene, though, as hit and run accidents can include collisions with fixed objects, parked cars and, according to some states, animals.
Whether the driver guilty of the hit and run actually caused the accident or not, they are still subject to hit and run charges. Mitch Grissim & Associates can provide a local Nashville personal injury attorney to represent you if you have been injured as the victim of a hit and run accident in Tennessee.
What Happens to Someone Guilty of a Hit and Run?
Hit and run car accidents lead to serious charges for the guilty driver. Criminal, administrative and civil penalties apply at varying degrees depending on the state and the circumstances of the accident. If a driver flees the scene of an accident where another person has been injured, felony charges may apply, resulting in up to 15 years of incarceration and fines ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. In the case of a driver fleeing the scene of the collision where no one was hurt, misdemeanor charges will likely still apply, leading to up to one year of incarceration and fines as much as $5,000.
On top of criminal punishments, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will likely impose administrative penalties. These penalties can automatically suspend or revoke the guilty party’s driver’s license for anywhere between six months and three years. Although, more serious circumstances can lead the DMV to revoke the license for the rest of the driver’s life.
Civil penalties may apply, in addition to the other consequences mentioned, if the victim of the accident decides to sue the guilty driver. Lawsuits can seek compensation for any damaged property, medical expenses or lost income resulting from the hit and run accident. While the other party is likely to sue the driver if they are at fault for the accident but didn’t flee the scene, most states will triple the amount the guilty party owes the plaintiff if they did flee the scene.
Known as “treble damages,” these hefty fines are imposed to punish the guilty party’s poor conduct and are not covered under auto insurance policies. As a matter of fact, most insurance companies cancel the car policies of anyone guilty of a hit and run.
Help for Victims of Hit and Run Collisions
No matter what your instincts tell you at the time of a collision, whether the collision is your fault or not, do not leave the scene of the accident. Swap contact with the other party or leave your contact information for the other party if they are not present. Always make sure everyone involved is safe and gets the appropriate medical assistance immediately following the accident. As an additional source of protection, make sure your automobile’s insurance policy covers accidents with uninsured motorists.
Get Help from a Nashville Personal Injury Attorney
In the unfortunate event that you are a victim of a hit and run collision and have sustained physical injuries, reach out to a Nashville personal injury attorney at Mitch Grissim & Associates for legal assistance and representation.