Hit and Run Law and Legal Definition

Hit and run statutes vary by state, but generally require the driver of a vehicle who is involved in a collision with another vehicle, property or human being, to stop to give his/her name, license number and other information as required by statute to the injured party, a witness or law enforcement officers. If the collision involves only property damage and no other person is present, the driver may be allowed to leave a note on the damaged vehicle or property and file a police report later.

Courts have found the duty imposed by hit and run statutes not to violate the privilege against self-incrimination since the requirement to stop and give information is not an admission of guilt. Such acts are held to be neutral acts which are only probative of guilt. Violation of hit and run statutes may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on state laws. In one state, auto repair shops are required by law to contact law enforcement if a vehicle is brought in with bullet holes....but not blood stained!! A person who is the victim of a hit and run accident may be able to file a claim for uninsured motorist coverage depending on the insurance law applicable to their state. Hit and run incidents are sometimes referred to in insurance coverage as phantom vehicles. State laws vary, so local laws should be consulted.