Under Louisiana law, any driver involved in a vehicular collision is required to stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident, give his or her identity, and render reasonable aid. Even a driver who didn’t cause the accident is required to give the other drivers his or her name, address, and vehicular license plate number, or to report the accident to the police. A driver who fails to do so commits the crime of “hit and run,” which can carry serious and significant penalties. In Louisiana in 2017, there were over 22,000 crashes involving a hit-and-run.
Did you know? “Vehicle” under the statute prohibiting hit-and-run also includes watercraft! Operators of watercraft involved in collisions are subject to the same identification and reporting requirements.
Penalties for Hit and Run with No Death or Serious Bodily Injury
Even if no one is seriously injured, the law provides for a fine of up to five hundred dollars or up to six months’ imprisonment for a driver who fails to comply. “Serious bodily injury” is defined as unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.
Those penalties can be enhanced if there is evidence that the non-compliant driver consumed alcohol or used drugs or a controlled dangerous substance prior to the accident; the consumption of the alcohol, drugs, or a controlled dangerous substance contributed to the accident; and the driver failed to stop, give his identity, or render aid with the knowledge that his actions could affect an actual or potential present, past, or future criminal investigation or proceeding.
Penalties for Hit and Run Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury
If a collision results in death or serious injury, a driver who commits a hit-and-run can be fined up to five thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for up to ten years. The penalties are more severe if that driver knew his or her vehicle was involved in a collision that resulted in death or serious injury and had a previous conviction for vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injuring, or first degree vehicular negligent injuring, or two previous convictions for DUI/DWI. In that case, a hit-and-run driver faces imprisonment of between five and twenty years, in addition to a $5,000 fine.
Hire an Experienced Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with hit-and-run, retain legal counsel immediately. These charges are serious and can have long-term negative effects on your driving privileges, your insurance rates, and even your personal and professional reputations. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your options and mitigate the consequences and penalties.
If you’ve been involved in a vehicular accident where a driver who left the scene may have been responsible for your injuries, you deserve to be compensated. The experienced attorneys of the Patrick Yancey Law Firm have handled many cases involving hit-and-run drivers and can help you recover the compensation you deserve. They will evaluate the facts of your case and advise on the best course of action to ensure you receive the most compensation possible. Damages can include costs for past and future medical care, wage loss, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
The Patrick Yancey Law Firm understands the issues involved in auto collisions, including the difficulties of accidents involving hit-and-run. Our friendly, understanding advocates will work with you every step of the way, helping to resolve your issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.