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What constitutes a hit and run?

Generally speaking, leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious offense in Virginia, as well as throughout the United States. However, the laws that govern hit and run accidents vary depending on the circumstances under which the accident took place. 

For example, FindLaw explains that it is not required for you to call the police or remain at the scene if you collide with a stationary object, which may include trees, mailboxes or parked cars. However, the law does require that you make a reasonable effort to alert the property owner as to what has happened. One way to accomplish this is by leaving a note with your identifying information at the scene of the accident for the property owner to find. Failure to leave a note or make any other effort to inform the property owner may constitute a hit and run. 

However, if the accident involves another person, which can include another driver, a pedestrian or others, the law requires you to stop, alert the authorities, provide first aid and/or obtain emergency care for any injuries, identify witnesses and exchange insurance information with the other driver, if applicable. The penalties for failing to follow this procedure depends on the seriousness of the accident. If it resulted in serious injury or fatality, you may face a felony hit and run charge. More minor incidents may only result in infractions or misdemeanors. At the very least, you can receive a ticket for leaving the scene or otherwise failing to fulfill your legal obligations after an accident.

You can avoid any sort of consequences for a hit and run by remaining mindful of your responsibilities following an accident and making a reasonable effort to fulfill them to the extent possible. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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