Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs? - What Do Police Do In A Hit And Run? » Car Accident & Personal Injuries » (2023)

Do police investigate minor hit and runs? – what do police do in a hit and run?

Are you the victim of a minor hit-and-run accident and wondering if the police will investigate? It can be frustrating and confusing to navigate the legal system after a car accident, especially when the other driver takes off without leaving any contact information.

What to do after a hit and run acci...

What to do after a hit and run accident?

In my previous articles on this site, I already mentioned that the USA alone sees at least 7.3 million car accidents yearly. Doing simple maths shows that the USA experiences19,937car crashes every day.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the year 2021, there were at least42,915car accident fatalities in the USA, a number that reflected a more than 10% increase in car accident fatalities from the previous year.

From my own research, I was able to discover that, for every 15 car accident cases, at least one is a hit-and-run accident. According to other current reports, only 5-10% of cases of hit-and-runs are solved, leaving more than 90% of hit-and-runs unsolved.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the question of whether or not police investigate minor hit-and-runs, and what steps you can take to increase the chances of finding the responsible party.

From understanding your rights as a victim to knowing what evidence to gather, we’ll provide you with the information you need to move forward with your case. Whether you’re dealing with a damaged car or injured passengers, don’t let a hit-and-run driver get away with it – read on to learn how the police can help bring them to justice.

Page Contents

Minor Hit and Runs

A hit-and-run is a type of auto accident where one of the drivers flee the accident scene without sharing personal information, rendering aid to the injured, or leaving without informing the traffic authorities.

Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs? - What Do Police Do In A Hit And Run? » Car Accident & Personal Injuries » (1)

Different states classify hit-and-run differently. What is a minor hit-and-run could be a moderate one and could attract different charges in another state. But, hit and run can be classified as minor and severe, and these sub-classes have different variations.

Yes, police investigate minor hit and runs. They gather evidence, interview witnesses, and identify suspects. They also work to locate the driver and vehicle involved and determine if charges should be filed.

Though not so orderly, below are some of the variations of hit and run and I will also try to include the possible charges.

What to do after a hit-and-run accident?

Hit and run is an offense and is severely punishable by law. You are required to stay at the accident scene even if you are clearly not at fault for the accident.

The following are steps you should follow after a hit-and-run accident.

1. Make sure you or any other passenger is safe. If not call 911 and arrange to seek medical care right away.

2. Share personal information with the other party. If necessary share your name, address, location, license plate number, car registration, insurance information, and others.

3. If there are any injuries, render any help possible. Leaving an injured person behind after a hit and run without offering help is an offense punishable by law.

4. Call and inform the police and do not leave the scene, not until a car accident report has been compiled, and get yourself a copy if possible.

5. Go on and follow other general guidelines for car accidents. I already explained a bunch in my other articles.

Non-injury Related Hit And Run Accident

Just like any car accident, not all hit-and-run car accidents result in injuries or property damages.

A non-injury related hit and run accident is the type of crash where there are no injuries involved. Though there could be no injuries, no driver is allowed to leave the scene not until all the legal requirements have been fulfilled.

HIT and run with Attended Vehicle

This is where a driver hits a moving car but the perpetrator illegally leaves the scene. For instance, your car could be rear-ended or get into a head-on collision but the other driver flees away.

Hit and Run Penalty for Attended Vehicle

The penalties for a hit and run for an attended vehicle vary from state to state, and whether there are injuries sustained or car damages.

Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs? - What Do Police Do In A Hit And Run? » Car Accident & Personal Injuries » (2)

If there are no injuries and significant damages, some states will slap you with up to 4 months of jail time, and up to $500 fines in addition to a suspension of your driving license.

Unattended Vehicle Hit and Run Penalty

Many hit and runs involve a collision with parked cars. You are supposed to hunt for the car driver and follow all the legal requirements of a hit and run or else you face charges.

Depending on where you come from, and how serious the accident is, your state could slap you with up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $500. If there are injuries or property damages, be ready to face tough punishments.

Hit And Run Property Damage Only

Minor cases of hit-and-run involve property damages only. If you committed this type of minor hit and run, be ready to face class 3 misdemeanor in some states.

Charges for a hit and run involving property damages only include up to 30 days of jail time and up to $500 in fines. But this of course depends on the extent of property damages and the state you come from.

Hit-and-run property damages only are also classified as a minor type of hit-and-run auto accident. whether police investigate these minor hit-and-runs will be discussed shortly in this article.

Injury Related Hit And Run Accident

Any hit and run that involves any bodily injuries are classified as a major one and the punishments are very tough. I already explained that you will have committed an offense if you left behind an injured person without offering help.

Hit and Run Penalty For Minor Injury

Depending on where you live, you could be charged with a felony. Your penalties may include probation, jail time of up to 3 years, and up to 3 years of driving license revocation.

Serious Injury or Death

You will be dealing with a major hit and run if the accident you caused and fled away caused serious injuries or deaths. You are still required to stop by and share your name, driver’s license, and registration information.

Hit and Run Penalty For At-Fault Death or Serious Injury

If the hit and run you caused involves serious injuries or death, you could be dealing with a class 2 felony, depending on the state you come from. Your punishments may include probation, up to 13 years of jail time, and revocation of your driver’s license for up to 10 years.

Do police investigate minor hit and runs?

Among all the car accidents, investigating and bringing to book hit-and-run perpetrators is really hard. This is because most hit-and-run cases lack concrete evidence and proper leads.

Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs? - What Do Police Do In A Hit And Run? » Car Accident & Personal Injuries » (3)

Here is Michael’s story. Michael was a victim of hit and run and suffered bodily injuries requiring more than 4 months of hospitalization. While on his admission bed, the police assured Michael that his case will probably never be solved.

“We are sorry Michael we have no any lead to your hit and run perpetrator”, said the policeman.

The best thing is that Michael carriedfull insurance coverageand so his medical bills and other accident-related costs were settled by his car insurance company.

To be frank, the Police do not investigate minor hit-and-runs especially if there are no proper leads. Police know that yourinsurance companywill settle your minor losses and so would rather spend their resources on serioushit-and-runs.

If hit and run involve major injuries or death, the case remains open forever till the culprit is nabbed and held liable, otherwise, the police search and investigations will continue forever.

The average settlement for ahit-and-runcar accident is somewhere between $10,000 and $2,000,000. If your hit-and-run is likely to fetch lower than $10,000, most likely police will not investigate it unless they have concrete evidence.

Lack of concrete pieces of evidence and probably lack of good leads could be the major reason why more than 90% of hits and runs are not investigated and solved by the police.

Police would rather allocate their limited resources and time to more serious cases like felony other than investigating minor property damage, a minorbodily injuryhit and run case.

Do’s And Don’ts Hit And Run

There are many things you need to do and should not do after committing a hit-and-run. For instance, you will need to stop immediately and offer any help possible to the victims.

You should gather information, share personal info with the other party, call 911 if any person is injured, and call and inform the police and your insurance company. If need be, let your attorney know what just happened to you.

What will Police do in hit and run?

Do not leave the accident scene, because the police will soon be looking for you. Police usually use witness statements, car accident footage, your license plate number, and other pieces of evidence to track you if you committed a hit and run.

Most likely a nearby CCTV or somewhere a hidden good samaritan watched you commit a hit and run and will not hesitate to turn you in. Just because you fled the accident scene, your car accident case could turn into at worst a felony, and face many years behind bars.

How to Get Out of a Hit and Run CharFor ege

You do not like cops waking you up early in the morning for thehit-and-runyou committed, right? You can get out of a hit-and-run charge by doing simple but smart things.

Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs? - What Do Police Do In A Hit And Run? » Car Accident & Personal Injuries » (4)

For example, hiring a defensecar accident attorneyplaces you at a higher advantage. You will need to prove that you were not the driver, you did not know you hit anything or prove you were attending to an emergency.

You could also decide to plead guilty to entice the judge to lessen your penalties. Attorneys know how to negotiate with judges for fair punishments.

How long a case may take?

How long it takes to settle your hit-and-run case depends on many factors:

  • The severity of the hit-and-run committed
  • The extent of injuries caused
  • Hit-and-run laws in your state
  • If there are deaths or major injuries caused
  • Whether you hired acar accident lawyeror not
  • your car insurance coverage and your policy limits.

In short, I do not know how long it will take you to settle your hit-and-run cases, If you committed a minor hit-and-run, you will probably settle in 1-3 months. If you are dealing with a major case of hit and run, you could spend many years behind the bars.

What you should do in the event your car is damaged as a result?

Following a hit-and-run accident, one of the ways police use to arrest the perpetrator is by patrolling around the car accident vicinity for hidden damaged cars.

The police will search nearby body shops and patrol all the hideouts in the locality. If you decide to take your damaged car to nearby repair shops, it will be a matter of hours before police apprehended you.

Police usually instruct repair shops to report damaged cars where owners choose to pay from their own pockets other than paying through insurance coverage. All salvage yards and car parts are always required to report to the police just like repair shops.


In conclusion, the question of whether or not the police investigate minor hit-and-runs is an important one. The answer, unfortunately, is not a straightforward one. While the police may investigate minor hit-and-runs, it depends on the circumstances of the incident and the resources available to the police department.

It is important to remember that even if the police do not investigate a minor hit and run, it is still a crime for you to leave the scene of an accident without stopping and providing assistance.

The potential consequences of a hit and run, whether it is considered minor or not, can be severe and include fines and imprisonment, as well as civil liability.

Therefore, it is always best practice for you to stop and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved, and to report the accident to the police, regardless of the extent of the damage or injuries. It is not only the legal and responsible thing to do, but it also protects you from potential legal repercussions down the line.

Related posts:

Does liability insurance cover theft? (number 1 top guide)What was the craziest thing a mechanic said about your car?


Do police investigate hit and runs in Texas? ›

Hit and run accidents in Texas are serious criminal offenses. If a driver causes an accident and flees the scene, the police will interview witnesses, investigate the scene, look for video footage from any nearby security cameras, and do everything they can to find the driver who fled.

What evidence is needed to convict a hit and run in Texas? ›

They may use license plate numbers from witnesses and physical evidence, such as paint transferred during the crash, to identify the vehicle, and fingerprints or your own injuries to connect you to the car.

Do police investigate minor hit and runs in California? ›

Most jurisdictions say that the police are required to investigate a reported hit and run offense. This includes those cases involving only minor injuries or property damage.

What percentage of hit and runs are solved? ›

Studies have estimated that only about 10 percent of hit-and-run cases are solved, due to an overwhelming lack of evidence.

How long do hit and run investigations take in Texas? ›

It could take hours if there's enough evidence, or it could take days, weeks, or even months depending on what information they have about the person who fled the scene.

How long will it take for the police to find me after a hit and run in Texas? ›

Police can sometimes find hit-and-run drivers in just hours or days if you can give them the vehicle's license plate number or other critical information. If they don't have much evidence, finding the other driver may take several weeks or months. In many cases, hit-and-run drivers are never found.

What evidence is in a hit and run case? ›

When examining a hit-and-run incident, any match between the victim's DNA type and a DNA type found in bloodstains or tissue fragments from a suspect vehicle is an extremely valuable piece of evidence for identifying the vehicle involved in the incident.

What types of evidence may result from hit and run accidents? ›

Circumstantial evidence.

The type of circumstantial evidence that is most commonly found in hit-and-run accidents is vehicle damage, especially paint transfer. This typically occurs when an object is struck by another vehicle. Some paint is transferred from one car to another.

How can you proved that it is a hit and run incident? ›

If you or a loved one was injured in a hit and run accident, the following information could help you prove your case. Photographs, video footage, witness statements, repair estimates, and records of your vehicle's repairs are good evidence to support your claim.

What is the investigation process of a hit-and-run? ›


How long do you have to report a hit-and-run to the police in California? ›

A: You have 24 hours to report a hit and run in California. If you don't report the accident within this timeframe, you could risk having your insurance claim denied.

What happens if someone hits your car and drives off? ›

Whether you can catch the culprit or not, you should call the police. Hit and runs are against the law, so you need to record the crime. The police might also be able to help you reach the other motorist, so they could help you get the compensation you need.

How long do you have to report a hit-and-run? ›

Reporting Duties to the Police

You must report the collision at a police station or an authorised office of a traffic officer within 24 hours, with your driving licence. If you could not do so because of your injuries, you must report it as soon as is reasonably practicable.

What is the sentence for hit-and-run? ›

Hit and run

Failure to stop is categorised as a summary offence. These offences are usually heard in a magistrates court and carry relatively minor sentences - upon conviction a defendant can be sentenced to a penalty point endorsement of between 5-10 points or could be sent to prison for up to 26 weeks.

Which state has the most hit and runs? ›

RankStateFatal hit-and-runs per 10 billion miles
4New York5.5
8 more rows
Jul 23, 2021

How long do police have to do an investigation? ›

There is no general time limit for how long a police investigation can stay open in England and Wales. For summary only offences, which are heard in the Magistrates' Court, the case must be heard within twelve months of the crime.

What is the preliminary step in hit and run investigation? ›

The first step in a preliminary investigation is to assess the crime scene for any injured persons. Responding law enforcement should attend to the injured parties and call for emergency medical help.

How long should a police investigation take? ›

In a routine or less serious case you should expect to hear form the police within 2 to 3 months but in more complicated cases where the police need to obtain statements, forensic evidence, CCTV or expert reports to prosecute you then this could take several months.

What to do if someone hits your car? ›

Call the Police and File an FIR

As soon as you see your parked car damaged, immediately call the police and report the incident. You will also need to file an FIR or First Information Report with the Police.

What should I do if I was a victim of a hit and run? ›

hit and run accident
  1. Stop your car somewhere safe, preferably to the side of the road and not in the way of other cars. ...
  2. If you can, get the driver's number plate as well as the make and model of the car. ...
  3. If someone's hurt, call the emergency services.
  4. If no one is hurt, call the police, who'll give you a crime number.

What is traffic accident investigation? ›

Accident investigation is the scientific and academic analysis of the facts that occurred during an accident. An investigation is conducted to identify the root cause of an accident in an effort to make recommendations or take corrective actions to prevent the future occurrence of the same or a similar event.

Why do drivers hit and run? ›

The hit-and-run driver wanted to avoid a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Many hit-and-run drivers will flee the scene of a crash without helping the people they injured because they do not want to get a DUI conviction.

How do investigators know how fast a car was going in an accident? ›

Assessing physical evidence.

Looking at skid marks and damage to vehicles, investigators determine how fast the vehicles were traveling, who swerved or who applied the brakes.

What evidence do you need for a car accident? ›

But, if you can, gather evidence at the scene of your wreck, such as: Pictures of the cars involved and their damage, skid marks, debris, broken glass, property damage to road signs, guardrails, landscape, and any road defects or construction work that may have contributed to the accident. Pictures of your injuries.

How do you collect paint evidence from a hit and run? ›

Glass vials, and metal or cardboard pillboxes should be used to store collected paint samples since they can protect paint chips from breakage and damage. If cardboard pillboxes are used, be sure to seal the box to prevent the leakage of small paint samples.

Why we need to investigate hit-and-run cases? ›

Hit and run is a very serious crime due to the damage it can cause and the reckless act of fleeing the scene of the crime. Hit and runs can not only cause serious injury to property and people, they can also cause death. Many people have been victims and lost their lives due to hit and run accidents.

What happens when a car hits you from the side? ›

A side-impact collision can cause severe or even fatal injuries because drivers may not be aware of the incoming collision and therefore might be unable to brake or steer away to prevent the strike. The point of impact is closer to the driver when the crash occurs, potentially leading to broken bones and head injuries.

Can I report an accident after 24 hours? ›

Report the accident to the police within 24 hours. By law, you must do this for every accident, even if the damage seems minor. But this step is especially important if someone was injured or even killed during the accident.

Should all car accidents be reported to the police? ›

You must report the collision no matter who was at fault. If you don't stop at the scene or report an incident you could be committing an offence and be charged. The penalties include: a fine.

Do you have to report a minor bump? ›

Inform your insurer: No matter how major or minor the damage to your vehicle is you must report the accident to your insurer. Failure to do so may invalidate your policy.

What happens if you lightly hit a car? ›

Technically speaking, without damage to a parked vehicle, there's no hit and run crime, and there's no financial responsibility to assume. Your obligation to stop, find the vehicle owner, leave a note, and/or report the accident all presume that the vehicle was damaged when you hit it.

Can you claim if someone hits your car in a car park? ›

If your vehicle has been damaged as a result of the negligence of another driver, then you will be able to make a claim, providing liability is accepted by the third party.

How much does it cost to get an accident report? ›

If your name doesn't appear on the accident report, you'll need to get an affidavit from the nearest police station. Please note the details below are only valid if your incident occurred in the Western Cape, but all information is relevant nationally. Pay R165.

How long can I claim after an accident? ›

Time limits

You should get legal advice urgently if you want to claim compensation. The most common claim in a personal injury case is negligence and the time limit for this is 3 years. This means that court proceedings must be issued within 3 years of you first being aware that you have suffered an injury.

How long after an accident can you claim from insurance? ›

You must claim within 3 years of the date of the accident if you know who caused the accident. If you don't know who the driver or owner of the vehicle was that caused the accident, you need to claim within 2 years.

How many points do you get for not reporting an accident? ›

Will I get penalty points for failing to stop or failing to report an accident? Yes you will get 5-10 penalty points depending on the seriousness of the case. In the most serious cases you will be disqualified from driving.

What is it called when you purposely hit someone with your car? ›

Vehicular assault is a form of assault that involves the use of a vehicle to cause another person harm or threaten him or her with harm.

Is it illegal to drive away from an accident? ›

You can be charged with the offence of failing to stop after an accident in a number of circumstances: If you stop but don't remain at the scene of the accident long enough to provide sufficient details about yourself and your vehicle.

Which gender has the most car accidents? ›

Who Gets Into More Car Accidents? Statistics show that males get into more accidents than women every year. Men cause about 6.1 million accidents per year and women cause 4.4 million accidents per year, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

Where are the most hit and runs? ›

1. Wyoming. No state is worse when it comes to hit and run incidents than Wyoming. It's rate of drivers with a prior hit and run violation is nearly four times the national average, and nearly 40 percent greater than any other state.

What happens with a hit and run in Texas? ›

Texas hit and run laws

This is punishable by 2 to 10 years in state prison. Less serious injuries might result in a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail or up to 5 years in state prison along with a fine of up to $5,000.

What is the charge for leaving the scene of an accident in Texas? ›

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Penalties in Texas

Class C Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500. Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

What to do if someone hits your car and drives off? ›

Whether you can catch the culprit or not, you should call the police. Hit and runs are against the law, so you need to record the crime. The police might also be able to help you reach the other motorist, so they could help you get the compensation you need.

How long do you have to report a hit and run? ›

Reporting Duties to the Police

You must report the collision at a police station or an authorised office of a traffic officer within 24 hours, with your driving licence. If you could not do so because of your injuries, you must report it as soon as is reasonably practicable.

What is the statute of limitations for a hit and run in Texas? ›

The basic statute of limitations for a car accident is two years. Here's a quick summary of the law. A person must bring suit for personal injury no later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues. TEX.

How do you beat hit and run case? ›

Defenses to Hit and Run
  1. You Were Not Driving The Vehicle Involved. ...
  2. You Did Not Willfully Leave The Scene. ...
  3. You Did Not Willfully Fail To Provide the Required Information. ...
  4. You Have No Knowledge Of Any Damage. ...
  5. You Have No Knowledge Of Any Injury. ...
  6. You Were Unable To Provide Reasonable Assistance.

Can you charge hit and run? ›

You must report the collision no matter who was at fault. If you don't stop at the scene or report an incident you could be committing an offence and be charged. The penalties include: a fine.


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