You may be understandably devastated if you or a loved one were the victims of a hit-and-run accident. You may have suffered injuries and vehicle damage. Further, a hit-and-run driver may have caused the death of your loved one. When you experience an accident, you may expect drivers to stop when the accident happens, provide their contact information and insurance information, and help any injured people. 

Pennsylvania law requires all vehicle drivers to stop and remain at the scene of an accident that causes injury or death. Unfortunately, some drivers act selfishly and leave the scene of an accident, failing to offer help to people who may need medical attention. If you or a loved one are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you have rights in Pennsylvania. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Simon Hyde Legal are experienced in hit and run accidents and how to protect the rights of hit and run victims. Contact Simon Hyde Legal at (484) 886-4271 or send a message online to request a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you obtain compensation and justice. 

What Is A Hit And Run? 

A hit and run occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an accident. A hit and run may happen when a driver strikes a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or another vehicle. Suppose a driver hits a person on a bicycle. As a result, the person on the bicycle sustains injuries. Rather than stopping, providing their contact information, and calling for help, the driver drives away, leaving the cyclist alone with injuries. In that case, the driver left the accident scene and committed a hit and run.  

Are Hit And Runs Illegal?

Hit and runs are illegal in Pennsylvania. When a driver is involved in an accident, Pennsylvania law requires drivers to stop or immediately return to the location of the accident. The driver must stop safely, and the driver should avoid blocking traffic. 

In Pennsylvania, the severity of the hit-and-run penalties depends on the injuries sustained in the accident. Failing to stop at an accident where a person suffers a minor injury is a first-degree misdemeanor. 

Leaving an accident where a person suffers great bodily injury constitutes a third-degree felony. This crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. A mandatory minimum sentence means that if the driver is convicted, the court does not have the discretion to lower the sentence. Rather, the court must sentence the driver to at least 90 days in jail and can order the driver to pay $1,000. The court may not place the offender on probation or suspend the sentence. 

Departing an accident in which a person dies because of injuries sustained in the accident is an even more serious crime. If the victim dies, the hit and run driver is culpable of a second-degree felony. This crime has a mandatory minimum sentence of three years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine. Pennsylvania law states that the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing must also recommend an enhanced sentence for the hit and run driver. This underscores the severity of committing a hit and run. 

Is Leaving An Accident Illegal If No One Is Harmed?

Pennsylvania law provides a rule for drivers involved in accidents where no one is harmed but where a vehicle or other driven property sustains damage. In that case, drivers must stop or return to the accident location at once. They must provide their contact information, stay until the police arrive, and take appropriate financial responsibility. 

Must Drivers Render Aid? 

In addition to requiring drivers to stop, Pennsylvania law requires all drivers involved in car accidents to give aid to people harmed in the accident. Drivers must provide reasonable assistance to injured people if it is obvious that people need help or if they ask for help. Reasonable assistance includes taking the injured people to a hospital, calling 911, or arranging for other assistance. 

Must Drivers Provide Contact Information? 

Along with mandating that drivers stop and render aid, Pennsylvania law requires that all drivers involved in car accidents where property damage, injury, or death occurs stop and provide their contact information. Drivers must provide their names, addresses, and vehicle registration numbers. At the request of another person involved in the accident, drivers must also show their driver’s licenses and give information relating to financial responsibility—in other words, insurance information. Providing contact information and insurance information helps ensure that drivers who cause accidents bear financial responsibility for them. When drivers evade the consequences of accidents and neglect to provide their contact and insurance information, they attempt to shirk their legal responsibilities.

What If All People Involved In The Accident Are Severely Injured? 

Aside from stopping and providing aid, drivers must notify the police of the accident if the people involved are hurt. An at-fault driver must stay to talk with the police. Indeed, Pennsylvania law requires drivers to give the police their names, addresses, registration numbers, driver’s licenses, and insurance information. 

What If The Driver Is Incapacitated? 

Per Pennsylvania law, when a driver sustains injuries in the accident and cannot act, the responsibility to act falls on the passengers. The passengers must provide their names, the name of their driver, contact information, the driver’s license, and insurance information. Furthermore, the passengers now must render aid to the hurt party, stepping in for the at-fault, injured driver.  

What May You Do If You Or A Loved One Experienced A Hit And Run Accident? 

You may wish to report accidents to the authorities and obtain medical attention. Then, consider reaching out to a personal injury lawyer to assist you in recovering money for the accident. You may worry that you will not be able to recover money from a hit-and-run driver if the police fail to apprehend the driver. However, if you have no-fault insurance, your insurance company may cover the costs associated with the accident. Other types of insurance, such as uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection coverage, and MedPay coverage, may help cover your expenses. If the police find the driver, you may recover money from the driver’s insurance, but you can also sue the driver to be made whole. Moreover, if the driver killed your loved one, you might be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. 

Pennsylvania Hit And Run Accident Lawyers 

Pennsylvania law is clear: it is illegal to leave an accident. Rather, drivers must stop, render aid, and provide their contact information. When drivers fail to do this, they have committed a hit and run. Suppose a driver injured you and fled the scene, or a driver left the accident after killing your loved one. In that case, you’ll want a reputable lawyer at your side who conducts thorough investigations to ensure the right people are held accountable. To learn more about your rights to compensation after a hit and run accident, contact Simon Hyde Legal at (484) 886-4271 or reach out online to request a free consultation.