What Are Pennsylvania’s Hit and Run Accident Laws?
In Pennsylvania, you must provide information and help after causing damage to a vehicle, injury, or death. You should give your name, address, and vehicle registration number—even if you barely dented a car in a parking lot. Depending on the accident’s severity, you may be asked to provide additional information.
If you fail to follow these guidelines and leave the scene, the act is considered a hit and run (75 Pa. C.S. § 3743). Penalties can include up to a year of jail time, $2,500 in fines, and a criminal offense on your record. If the hit and run resulted in injury or death, the charges and penalties are greater.
Common Injuries in a Hit and Run Accident
Hit-and-run accidents can have devastating results. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, hit-and-run crashes in 2021 caused nearly 400 serious injuries statewide.
Injuries after car crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- PTSD and other mental trauma
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated discs
- Tissue damage
- Sprains or strains
When a victim is left stranded at the scene of an accident, injuries can turn deadly fast. Someone with severe injuries may be unable to reach help in time. Unfortunately, hit-and-run deaths are not unheard of. In 2021, there were 72 fatalities in Pennsylvania from crashes where drivers left the scene.
How Is a Hit & Run Different from a Typical Car Accident Case?
Pennsylvania is both a no-fault and at-fault state, meaning who pays for your injuries and damages after an accident depends on your insurance.
Here’s how the type of coverage you carry uniquely affects your claim:
With no-fault insurance, your insurance company covers some or all costs of your injuries. This type of insurance does not require you to prove who was at fault, which can be beneficial after a hit and run.
However, no-fault insurance can only cover the expenses for injuries and not any damages to your vehicle.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage (PIP)
Personal injury protection coverage is mandatory in Pennsylvania and is a form of no-fault coverage. Like no-fault insurance, PIP can only be used to cover injuries. However, it can be used alongside other insurance coverages to reimburse you more fully.
To maintain a PIP policy, you need to carry a minimum of $5,000 for medical expenses. If you carry more, you can be entitled to greater compensation after an accident, which can help if you have serious injuries.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers must maintain vehicle liability insurance. However, someone might ignore this law or have their vehicle registered in another state. If another driver in an accident does not have insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage can protect you from paying all your expenses out of pocket.
Uninsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania can apply to hit-and-run cases. Since the at-fault driver is unknown and you cannot file a claim against them, you can make a claim with your UM insurance. They can cover your injuries and damages.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in PA
After a hit-and-run accident, you should immediately seek medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor. Many serious injuries have delayed symptoms. An examination from a healthcare professional could detect one early. Medical documents could also help if you file a claim later on.
You should also call emergency services and report the incident to the police. The more identifying details you can give about the at-fault driver and their vehicle, the more likely they will be located. Additionally, talk to any witnesses to see if they can help you identify the vehicle.
You can also preserve crucial evidence by taking photos and videos of a scene right after a hit-and-run. Damage to your car and tire marks on the road could reveal more about the other vehicle, such as its size or speed. Photos of your injuries can also support your claim later on.
Possible Damages after a Hit and Run Accident
After a hit and run, you can pursue compensation for any losses. There is a wide range of what qualifies as damage, which helps you receive the full compensation you deserve.
One type is economic damage. These can cover past and future expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and property damage.
You may also be able to recover non-economic damages. These are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or scarring and disfigurement. With no-fault insurance, it can be harder to recover these types of damages unless they are severe.
How Your Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Can Help
Your hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance and collect evidence that proves the extent of your damages. Your attorney will take your case to trial if necessary, fighting for you to receive justice.
Contact a Hit and Run Lawyer at Atlee Hall Today
At Atlee Hall, we understand how hard the aftermath of a hit-and-run can be, especially if the driver remains unknown and your insurance rates go up. Having an advocate who understands the severity of your situation and will guide you through the legal process can help. Our dedicated team will answer your questions and provide you with resources you need to recover from a hit-and-run accident.