Leaving Scene of an Accident or Hit & Run

Tennessee’s criminal law makes it illegal to leave the scene of an accident if you were involved in a crash. Regardless of whether a hit-and-run was a minor collision or a car crash involving considerable injuries or fatality, you can be charged with a crime in Tennessee if your vehicle was involved in an accident and you did not stop.

The more serious the victim’s personal injury and property damages are, the more significant the penalties.

Fact: There are more than 680,000 hit-and-run accidents across the U.S. each year. Nearly 65% of people killed in hit-and-run collisions are pedestrians and bicyclists.

Legal Requirements for Drivers Who Were Involved in an Accident

If Tennessee law makes it illegal to leave the scene of a vehicle crash, what are the legal requirements for motorists who were involved in a collision in Manchester or other parts of Tennessee?

  • Stopping your vehicle if there has been a collision;
  • Exchanging contact and insurance information with the other parties involved; and
  • Remaining at the scene to wait until law enforcement arrives.

When stopping, it is also critical to ensure that your vehicle is not obstructing traffic, according to TN Code § 55-10-101 (2015). If the other party was injured, offer your assistance and call 911 at the scene.

Things to do After a Tennessee Car Accident to Avoid Hit-and-Run Charges

As mentioned earlier, the first thing every Tennessee driver is required to do after a vehicle crash is stop. You must stop your car either at the scene of the collision or as close as possible to avoid obstructing traffic.

T.C.A. 55-10-106 requires you to contact law enforcement if the extent of bodily injury and/or property damage exceeds $50. Your legal responsibilities following a motor vehicle collision depend on what (or who) has been hit:

  • A fixed object or other property near a road. Contact the individual or entity in charge of the property to share your information.
  • Unattended vehicle. Find the vehicle’s owner or leave written notice to share your information with the owner of the parked or otherwise unattended car.
  • A vehicle with injured occupants. Share your information with the injured driver or passenger and offer reasonable assistance. The provided information must include your name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance information.

Penalties for Hit-and-Run in Tennessee

If you are charged with a hit-and-run in Tennessee, the severity of penalties will depend on the nature and facts of the accident. You could be facing:

  • A Class C Misdemeanor if the property damage was less than $400. The penalties include imprisonment of up to 30 days, mandatory driver’s education classes, and a fine of $50.
  • A Class C Misdemeanor if the property damage was more than $400. The penalties include up to 30 days in jail, license suspension, and a fine of $50.
  • A Class A Misdemeanor if the hit-and-run accident resulted in bodily injury or death. The penalties include up to 12 months in jail, license suspension, and up to $2,500 in fines. Under certain circumstances, if the hit-and-run led to death, you may be facing Vehicular Manslaughter

Speak with our Manchester hit-and-run attorney at the Law Offices of Burch & Lockhart to discuss your options to defend yourself. Call at (931) 723-7997 for a free case evaluation.