After an auto accident in Pennsylvania, drivers are required to stop their vehicles and remain at the crash scene until police arrive. In fact, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $2,500, a jail sentence of up to one year, or both.
A hit-and-run accident can be devastating to crash victims and their families. That’s why it’s important for Pennsylvania drivers to understand the nature of these accidents and what they can do to prepare.
Reasons why hit-and-run accidents happen
There are many reasons why some drivers leave the scene of a crash. The Mercury News reports that traffic fatalities caused by hit-and-run drivers occur almost six times each day on US roadways – and they continue to rise. Additionally, hit-and-run accidents happened more than 2,000 times on a daily basis in 2015.
One reason for the rise in hit-and-run accidents, according to psychologist Emanuel Robinson, is the intense emotions drivers feel when a crash occurs. They could be scared or angry, which can cause them to go into flight mode.
Moreover, a study by the University of Leicester in England concludes that out of 53 hit-and-run drivers examined, 21 of them panicked at the time of the crash, seven of them were afraid of being caught driving drunk, eight said they didn’t realize the accident happened, and 13 didn’t see any reason to report the accident.
Another report by the Belgian Road Safety Institution found that out of 853 hit-and-run drivers, 42 percent of them were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Other factors in a hit-and-run crash could include illegal activity or a driver fleeing from police.
What can I do if I’m injured in a hit-and-run accident in Pennsylvania?
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other financial losses associated with the crash. If a driver leaves the scene, but you’re able to capture the vehicle’s license plate, you can sue his or her insurance company for damages.
However, if the driver can’t be identified, you may not receive compensation unless you add Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage to your policy. This optional coverage is designed to compensate you or your family for bodily injury after an accident with an at-fault driver. The same applies if the driver flees the scene of the crash and never gets caught.
At Law Offices of Edward P. McNelis, we understand the frustration and confusion a hit-and-run accident can cause to victims. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash and is unsure about where to turn, contact our law firm to discuss your options. We offer free consultations.