Missouri Hit and Run Accidents
If you “hit and run” another driver and are caught, your driving record will see either 6 or 12 points depending on whether a municipal or county policy officer issued the ticket (6 points) or a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer issued the ticket (12 points). This is a significant offense and damaging to your Missouri driver’s record given that 12 points is the most points you can receive for a driving-related offense. In fact, a Missouri driver will get their driver’s license revoked for a year if he or she gets 12 points in a year period. Further, if a Highway patrol officer issued you a ticket for a “hit and run” your record will forever show the offense and it cannot be expunged. A hit and run accident in Missouri could result in a class A misdemeanor landing a person with one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. It also could result in more serious charges such as a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in jail and a $5,000 fine if there was either:
- Property damages in excess of $1,000
- Physical injury to the other party
- This was the second time offense
See RSMo 577.060.
In hit and run accidents, the driver who caused the accident has obviously left the scene. For recovery purposes for an injured victim, this means that the at-fault hit and run driver is considered to have no insurance coverage at all even if he or she had an insurance policy. Hit and runs are then considered “uninsured motorist accidents” according to most insurance policies because the victim is unable to obtain the negligent driver’s insurance information. The following elements are required to be met for Missouri drivers who want to make an uninsured motorist claim against his or her own insurance company:
(1) the insured incurred bodily injuries;
(2) the injuries occurred as a result of an accident with an uninsured motorist;
(3) the insured is “legally entitled” to collect from the owner of the uninsured vehicle; and
(4) the limits of all applicable policies are exhausted by payment or settlement.
Just like other accidents, we recommend that if you were in a wreck and the other driver cannot be located because they took off after the wreck, you try to determine if there were any witnesses and get statements and their information, take pictures of the scene and of the damage sustained to your vehicle, write down the details of how the accident happened, and call the police and your insurance company to make a report that you were a victim of a hit and run. Please get legal advice before making any statements involving liability, discussing liability, or sign any documents that your insurance company requests that you sign.
Because you were injured by a hit and run driver, your insurance company is actually adverse to you as your uninsured coverage would have kicked in and they’d be required to pay you for your injuries involved in the wreck. It is advisable that you hire an attorney who can communicate with all insurers on your behalf regarding the “hit and run” wreck.