Imagine you’ve just been involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania. Usually, you would call the police and exchange driver’s licenses, car insurance, and contact information. But this is different. The driver who hit you has fled the scene. If you have sustained injuries or your vehicle has been damaged, you will likely be considered a hit-and-run victim in PA.
What now? Who will be responsible for your damages? And injuries if you’ve sustained them? The lawyers at May Herr & Grosh are answering these questions and more right here.
Hit-and-Run Accident Statistics in PA
According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), 2,049 fatalities resulted from 1,980 hit-and-run collisions in the United States in 2016 alone. In addition, 1,398 of those incidents involved bicyclists and pedestrians, and offenders were found to be 440% more likely to flee the scene of an accident if it occurs between midnight and 4 AM than if it happens between 8 AM and noon.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a hit-and-run incident, protecting your physical safety at the scene and your rights after the fact are essential.
PA’s Hit-and-Run Law
What type of accident qualifies as a hit-and-run in the state of Pennsylvania? A few different scenarios may be considered hit-and-run in PA:
- An accident in Pennsylvania involving another person’s property when they’re not present. This instance could be someone hitting a pole, a fence, or an unoccupied vehicle and leaving the scene of the accident without providing a note with their contact information.
- Any vehicular incident that results in property damage or personal injury in which the offender leaves the scene. By law, the drivers of all vehicles involved in any accident must stay at the scene and provide their name, address, driver’s license, and vehicle registration.
What to do if You’re a Victim of a Hit-and-Run in PA: 12 Steps
If someone hits you with their vehicle in Pennsylvania and does not stop or return to the scene of the accident, you are the victim of a hit-and-run. The safety of everyone on the scene is paramount, and it’s vital that you act quickly.
- Gather information about the perpetrator if possible (license plate number, description of the vehicle, etc.)
- If your vehicle has been struck, but can be driven, move it from the road.
- Call 911 and request that police be dispatched to the scene.
- If you or someone else is injured, request medical assistance.
- In cases where vehicles cannot be moved, light flares, set up cones, and ask for assistance directing traffic around obstacles.
- If bodily injuries are minor, remove any injured parties from lanes of traffic.
- If injuries appear serious (involving possible injury to the neck or back, for instance), do not move the victim.
- Keep the scene secured until police officers arrive.
- Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Take photos of all damages and surroundings when it’s safe.
- Schedule a medical examination as soon as possible, even if you don’t believe you’ve sustained bodily harm. Injuries are not always evident at the time of the accident.
- Seek legal advice from a Pennsylvania law firm with experience representing victims of hit-and-run accidents.
Whenever any traffic accident occurs, the personal safety of all involved, as well as that of passersby, should take precedence. However, after the police report has been written and medical assistance has been administered, it’s time to consider the incident’s legal aspects.
Let us help you!
Who will pay for your damages? Who will be responsible for medical bills? The answers to these questions are best addressed by a lawyer who’s well-informed in the protections offered by PA hit-and-run law.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Hit-and-Run Victim in PA
Under PA hit-and-run law, you may have the right to recover costs associated with property damage and bodily injury if you were hit by someone who fled the scene. First, however, you will need to report the accident to the state of PA so your attorney can properly represent you.
File a police report OR report the crash within five days of the accident if it resulted in significant property damage, bodily injury, or death. This report can be filed by completing the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver’s Accident Report form. Be prepared with the following:
- Car Insurance Company Information
- License Plate Number(s)
- Description of the Vehicle(s) Involved (Make, Model, Body Style, Color)
- Description of Vehicle Damages, Injuries, or Property Damage
- Contact Information for All Involved Parties
As a Victim, PA Hit-and-Run Law is on Your Side
You know what to do in typical traffic accidents: call the police, exchange information, secure the scene, etc. However, when one of the parties involved in the accident breaks PA traffic law by leaving the scene of the accident, it’s time to seek the help of a PA attorney in filing hit-and-run charges.
You may have the right to collect damages under hit-and-run PA law. Put our personal injury lawyers to work for you. Start now by scheduling a consultation.