Getting into a vehicle accident can spur some pretty basic human instincts: If we feel we’ve done something wrong, our first impulse could be to flee the scene. But it should come as no surprise that fleeing the scene of a car accident can result in very serious ramifications down the road. We’ll look at those consequences in this article.
Generally speaking, a hit and run are defined as being involved in a car accident (either with a pedestrian, another car, or a fixed object) and then leaving the scene without stopping to identify yourself or render aid to anyone who might need assistance. At least a few states also include in the definition of “hit and run” any collision with an animal.
In most states, it doesn’t matter whether you caused the accident or not. The act is committed simply by leaving the scene. If you must leave the scene of an accident to access emergency assistance — by going to a nearby hilltop to get a cell phone signal, for example — most states do not consider that to be a hit and run, as long as you return immediately to the accident scene.
Most states do not require that the hit and run occur on a highway or public road. Many states extend hit and run laws to cover parking lot collisions. For example, if you back into an unoccupied car in a parking lot and fail to leave a note with your contact information on the windshield, the laws of many states treat this as a hit and run.