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Hit and Run Laws in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know

Hit and Run Laws in Pennsylvania

No one ever wants to get into an accident, but it’s even worse when the other party decides to flee the scene. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are common in Pennsylvania, and they can have serious consequences.

As a responsible driver in the state, here’s what you need to know about hit and run laws.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the scene of an accident, also called hit and run, is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. If you’re caught, you could face severe penalties, including fines, points on your license, and even jail time.

The severity of the punishment depends on the extent of the damages caused, the seriousness of injuries sustained by people involved in the accident, and the driver’s behavior. If a hit and run accident results in property damage or minor injuries, the driver may face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $300, and a one-year license suspension.

However, if the accident results in serious bodily injury or death, the penalties become more severe. A hit and run resulting in death can lead to up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $15,000, and a license suspension of five years.

Driver Obligations at the Scene of an Accident

As a driver involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, you have certain obligations at the scene. First, you must stop your vehicle and remain at the scene until the appropriate authorities arrive.

You must also provide reasonable assistance to anyone who requires it, such as calling for medical assistance or transporting an injured person to the hospital. Additionally, you must provide your name, contact information, and registration number to anyone involved in the accident and anyone who has a lawful right to access that information.

You must also show your driver’s license to an authorized person, such as a law enforcement officer or an ambulance crew.

How to Avoid Hit and Run Charges

The best way to avoid hit and run charges in Pennsylvania is to stay at the scene of an accident if you’re involved in one. If the accident is minor, exchange your license and insurance details with the other driver and call the police to report the incident.

If someone is injured, call 911 for immediate medical attention. Staying at the scene may be inconvenient, but leaving can result in severe consequences, even if you didn’t cause the accident.

Reportable Accidents in Pennsylvania

While it can be tempting to avoid reporting minor accidents, Pennsylvania has strict laws regarding reportable accidents. In general, every accident that results in injury, death, or property damage must be reported to the authorities.

Here’s what you need to know about reportable accidents in Pennsylvania. What is a Reportable Accident?

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) defines a reportable accident as any crash involving injury or death to a person or persons or any crash involving property damage in excess of $1,000 per driver or $1,500 total. If any vehicles involved in the accident require towing, the crash is also reportable.

Consequences for Not Reporting an Accident

If you’re involved in a reportable accident and fail to report it, you can face serious consequences. Failing to report an accident is a summary offense in Pennsylvania, which can result in a fine of up to $300 and up to 90 days in jail.

Additionally, if you’re involved in a hit and run accident that results in injury or death, failing to report the accident can lead to more severe penalties.

Conclusion

As a driver in Pennsylvania, it’s important to understand the state’s hit and run and reportable accident laws. Staying at the scene if you’re involved in an accident and reporting any incident that results in injury, death, or property damage is crucial in avoiding legal consequences.

Remember, taking responsibility and acting quickly can make all the difference in keeping yourself and others safe on the roads.

3) Specific Hit and Run Scenarios in Pennsylvania

Being the victim of a hit and run accident can be a devastating experience, especially if the responsible party doesn’t stop to take responsibility. Hit and run accidents occur in different scenarios, and the legal consequences depend on the severity of the incident and the circumstances surrounding it.

Here are three specific hit and run scenarios in Pennsylvania:

Hit and Run Involving an Unattended Vehicle

If you hit an unattended vehicle and drive off, that is considered a hit and run crime in Pennsylvania. Unattended vehicles refer to parked or parked vehicles without an owner or occupants inside.

According to PA Vehicle Code 3742, if the driver knows that they caused property damage to an unattended vehicle, they must try to locate and contact the owner or operator of the vehicle. If they cannot locate the owner, they must leave a note with their name, address, and registration number in a conspicuous place on the vehicle.

If the driver fails to comply with these requirements and is caught, they could face penalties like a fine of up to $300, jail time of up to 90 days, and license suspension. Moreover, the driver may have to pay for damages to the unattended vehicle and any other damages caused in the collision.

Hit and Run with Revoked/Suspended License or No License

Pennsylvania law forbids driving with a revoked/suspended or no license. If you’re involved in a hit and run in Pennsylvania while driving with a revoked/suspended or no license, you’ll face more severe legal consequences.

According to PA Vehicle Code 3742.1, leaving the scene of an accident when driving with a revoked/suspended or no license is a summary offense. If the hit and run results in injury to another person or death, the driver could face up to five years in prison, fines of up to $10,000, and license suspension up to 10 years.

Hit and Run Involving Serious Injury or Death

The most severe hit and run accidents in Pennsylvania involve serious injury or death. Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury or death is considered a felony in Pennsylvania.

According to PA Vehicle Code 3742(a), if the accident results in serious injury or death, the driver must immediately stop at the scene, provide reasonable assistance to the injured persons, and call emergency services if needed. They must also provide their contact information to the police or anyone else who has a lawful right to access their information.

Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to severe legal consequences like fines of up to $15,000, jail time of up to seven years, and license suspension of up to five years.

4) Civil Action for Hit and Run Victims in Pennsylvania

When you’re the victim of a hit and run accident, it can be challenging to determine your legal options for recovery. In Pennsylvania, hit and run victims can take civil action against the responsible parties to recover damages for their losses.

Here are some steps to take if you fall victim to a hit and run in Pennsylvania:

Steps to Take

First and foremost, seek medical attention if injured. Call the police and file a report, providing any information you have about the other driver, such as license plate number, make, and model of the vehicle.

Take pictures of the scene, damage to the vehicles involved, and your injuries. Contact your insurance company to report the accident.

Your insurance company will guide you on the steps you need to take to claim compensation for the damages incurred. Also, consider seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer experienced in hit and run cases.

Fault Determination

In Pennsylvania, fault determination in hit and run cases can be challenging. The victim must establish that the driver involved in the accident was at fault and caused the damages.

In some cases, the victim may have to rely on circumstantial evidence or eyewitness testimony to prove their case. However, if the hit and run driver is caught and found liable for the accident, the victim has the right to sue the driver for damages.

The victim may seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Conclusion

Hit and run accidents in Pennsylvania can happen in different scenarios, and the legal consequences depend on the severity of the incident and the circumstances surrounding it. Hit and run victims can take civil action to recover damages, but fault determination can be challenging.

Regardless of the situation, it’s crucial to seek medical attention, report the accident to the authorities, and seek legal advice to protect your rights and pursue compensation.

5) Miscellaneous Laws Related to Hit and Run in Pennsylvania

Hit and run accidents can bring grave consequences to the driver responsible, including severe legal charges and penalties. In Pennsylvania, there are specific laws that govern how these cases are handled.

Let’s take a closer look at some miscellaneous laws related to hit and run in Pennsylvania.

Evading the Police and Negligent Homicide Charges

Sometimes, the driver responsible for a hit and run may try to evade the police, leading to additional charges. In Pennsylvania, evading the police is a serious crime, and a hit and run can result in negligent homicide charges, depending on the circumstances.

According to the Pennsylvania crimes code, a person who causes the death of another person as a result of violating any traffic law while eluding a law enforcement officer could be charged with negligent homicide. Negligent homicide is a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Timeframe for Personal Injury and

Property Damage Claims

Pennsylvania has specific time limits for filing personal injury and property damage claims, which is known as the statute of limitations. In hit and run cases, the statute of limitations determines the timeframe in which a victim can file a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Personal Injury Claims

Victims of hit and run accidents who sustain personal injuries have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation. If the victim fails to file a lawsuit within the two-year timeframe, they’ll lose their legal right to pursue compensation.

Property Damage Claims

Victims of hit and run accidents with property damage can file a claim within two years of the accident. However, insurance companies will typically require that the victim reports the claim within a shorter timeframe.

Pennsylvania law also states that victims need to submit proof of the value of the lost or damaged property to support their claim. It’s important to note that the timeframe for filing a lawsuit may vary based on the specific circumstances of the case.

Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines and have enough time to seek compensation for your losses.

Conclusion

Hit and run accidents can have severe consequences, including legal penalties and financial losses. Pennsylvania has specific laws related to hit and run accidents, including laws related to evading the police and negligent homicide charges, and statutes of limitations related to personal injury and property damage claims.

If you’re injured in a hit and run accident, it’s important to seek medical attention and contact an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on your legal options. In conclusion, understanding hit and run laws in Pennsylvania is crucial for all drivers.

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident can be severe, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. Drivers have obligations at the scene of an accident, such as providing assistance and exchanging information.

Reportable accidents must be reported to the authorities, and failing to do so can result in legal consequences. Victims of hit and run accidents can take civil action to recover damages, but fault determination can be challenging.

It’s important to be aware of miscellaneous laws related to hit and run, such as evading the police and negligent homicide charges, as well as the timeframe for personal injury and property damage claims. Remember, being responsible and following the law can help keep our roads safe for everyone.

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