Arizona Hit-and-Run Laws

A hit-and-run accident can cause a lot of damage, yet the at-fault party does not stay to take accountability for his or her actions. In the most recent year data is available, police received reports of about 737,100 hit-and-run cases in the country. 2016 had the most hit-and-run deaths on record (2,049) in the U.S. Learning Arizona’s hit-and-run laws could help you understand your rights as a victim. You may still be able to receive compensation even without knowing the identity of the at-fault party.

What Is a Hit-and-Run?

Every state has duties of care drivers owe after causing car accidents. Arizona Revised Statutes 28-663 is the state’s law regarding a driver’s responsibilities after an accident involving property damage, injury or death. Failing to remain at the scene and fulfill these duties constitutes the crime of hit-and-run.

  1. Exchange driver names, addresses and vehicle registration numbers
  2. Show driver’s license to the victim, if requested
  3. Provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured, including calling 911

If the owner of the struck vehicle is not at the scene, the at-fault driver has a duty to expend reasonable effort trying to locate the owner. If the driver is unsuccessful, he or she must leave a note in a conspicuous place on the damaged vehicle with his or her name, phone number and insurance information. Failing to leave a note after striking a parked car is a hit-and-run.

Penalties for Hit-and-Run

ARS 28-663 also describes the penalties for failing to fulfill the requirements of the law after a car accident. Failing to comply with either of the first two requirements is a class 3 misdemeanor. This crime comes with a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in county jail. If the accident only involved property damage, ARS 28-662 states the crime of a hit-and-run is a class 2 misdemeanor. This could lead to driver’s license suspension and fines.

Failure to fulfill the third requirement, assisting someone injured, is a class 6 felony in Arizona. The consequences are up to one year in prison and/or fines. Should the police find evidence that the at-fault driver was driving under the influence (DUI), the driver must submit to a drug or alcohol screening. A DUI conviction related to a hit-and-run could lead to more serious charges and penalties. The at-fault driver may face a class 3 or 4 felony and spend up to three years in jail.

Recovering Compensation After a Hit-and-Run

As the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Arizona, it is not up to you to file criminal charges against the at-fault driver. The city will do this for you. While you may cooperate with the criminal investigation and could receive judge-ordered restitution from a conviction, your main recovery will stem from a civil lawsuit against the driver. It is up to you or your personal injury attorney in Phoenix to file a civil lawsuit claiming damages against the hit-and-run driver within two years of the collision. A civil claim could result in compensation to cover your losses.

  • Reimbursement for all crash-related property damage repairs
  • Payment for past and future personal injury treatments
  • Compensation for lost income and earning capacity from the accident
  • An award for physical pain and personal suffering
  • Punitive damages to punish the defendant for committing the crime of hit-and-run

The civil claims process often starts with a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. The insurance company may then work with you to arrange a settlement – or else deny your claim. If you receive a denial or the insurance company will not offer what your lawyer believes is a fair amount, you can take the driver to court in pursuit of financial recovery. Hiring an attorney to help with each step of your hit-and-run accident lawsuit could improve your chances of winning. Contact Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer to explore your legal options