What to do after a hit and run in Utah

Utah law provides for prison sentences and fines for those who flee the scene of an accident that results in bodily injury or property damage. A hit-and run offense can result in long-lasting penalties.According to data from Quadrant Information Service, Utah’s car insurance premium could more than double if a person is convicted of leaving the scene after an accident.

Many states require that drivers have minimum car insurance. The state-mandated liability coverages help to pay for the costs of other drivers if you are responsible for an accident. But some states also require motorists to carry other types of coverage that can help pay your medical and auto repair costs if an at-fault driver does not have insurance or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

Utah Hit-and-runs

You run the risk of becoming a victim of hit-and-run drivers whenever you get behind the wheel. Sometimes drivers run from the accident scene because they don’t have car insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, nearly 13% of U.S. drivers did not have auto insurance. Utah’s uninsured driver rate was 6.5% in the same year. This is well below the national average.

The Utah State Legislature defines hit-and run accidents as any that result in property damage, injury, or both. When colliding with another vehicle or other type of property, Utah’s motor vehicle traffic code requires the driver to stay at the scene and exchange information with the property owner, such as their name, contact information, insurance provider and vehicle registration number. The driver must call the police if the property has sustained more than $2,500 in damage.

Utah law also requires a driver to remain at the scene of an accident that causes injury to a person. While injuries can sometimes occur in a collision between another vehicle, the law applies equally to pedestrians struck by your car. No matter if the accident involved hitting another vehicle or someone, you can be charged with hit-and-run if you leave.

Utah hit-and-run laws

Motor vehicles are governed under Title 41 of Utah Code. Drivers who hit-and-run can be subject to stiff penalties and lengthy prison sentences. Leaving the scene of an accident that causes property damage is a Class B misdemeanor in Utah, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. You could be subject to a minimum $2500 fine if you leave an accident scene.

Depending on the severity of injuries, hit-and-run accidents can be charged as either a Class A or third-degree misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor can result in a $2,500 fine or up to one year imprisonment. A third-degree felony conviction can result in a $5,000 fine or up to five years imprisonment.

Utah’s hit-and-runs and car insurance rates

Hit-and-run drivers can face jail and fines, but not just. When a hit-and-run driver is also caught driving without insurance, the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles can suspend their car’s vehicle registration and the Utah Department of Public Safety will suspend their driver’s license. Driving without insurance is a Class B Misdemeanor in Utah. There are minimum $400 fines for the first offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense that occurs within three years.

It can take some time to get your driving privilege back and your vehicle registration reinstated. To restore your driver’s licence, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee. You also need proof of insurance. Reinstating your vehicle registration may require submitting form SR-22, a document issued by an insurance company as proof of insurance, plus payment of a $100 reinstatement fee.

A policyholder who is convicted of hit-and-run can be subject to a premium hike. Based on Bankrate’s research, average rate increases following hit-and-run incidents exceed 100%.

There are four things you can do following a hit-and run in Utah

You cannot exchange information with another driver if you are the victim in a hit-and run accident. But there are steps you can take that may help law enforcement track down the offender and help make filing an insurance claim a little easier.

Note the information that you may have

If you are able to read the license plate number, take down its number. Note the car’s color, and search for any emblems that could identify its make or model. Note the time and location of the accident. Also note the direction in which the hit-and run driver fled.

Take photos of the accident scene

Photograph all damage caused by an accident. Get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the hit-and run accident.

Make a police report

Notify the police immediately. All information, including details about the vehicle used by the hit-and run driver, direction taken by the suspect, time and place of accident, and contact information for witnesses, should be given to authorities.

Get in touch with your insurance company

Contact your insurance company within 24 hours. To find out if your auto policy covers your vehicle’s damages or injuries, speak to an agent. Ask if your coverage covers incidental expenses such as towing or rental car reimbursement.

Is insurance available to cover hit-and-run accidents?

In most cases, if another driver is responsible for an accident, their liability coverages should cover your medical and repair costs. If a hit-and run driver is not found, your insurance policy will cover you.

To pay the repair costs of your automobile, your policy must include collision coverage. There are many terms and conditions that can differ between providers. Check with your insurance company to see if collision coverage covers repairs even if hit-and-run drivers are not located. Remember that your policy may not cover your car’s damages, but you still need to pay the deductible.

Utah does not require automobile owners to buy uninsured motorist coverage. If you do not have insurance, you can still get coverage if you need it.

Utah does require all motorist to buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Utah’s PIP coverage can pay for funeral and burial costs up to $1500 and also covers a variety of medical expenses.

Questions frequently asked

What is the cost of car insurance?

Based on Bankrate’s research, U.S. automobile owners pay an average of $565 per year for minimum coverage and $1,674 for full coverage. Utahans pay less, $528 annually for minimum coverage and $1,306 annually for full coverage. Keep in mind, however, that the average premiums are not indicative of the actual rate you will pay. Car insurance premiums depend on many factors such as your driving record, age, and claims history. They also consider the make and model and coverages that you select.

Is Utah a state that requires drivers to have auto insurance?

Yes. All Utah motorists must carry at least:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person
  • $65,000 bodily injuries liability coverage per accident
  • $15,000 per-accident personal property liability coverage
  • $3,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP).