Kentucky hit and run laws: What constitutes a hit and run in Kentucky?
- Kentucky hit and run laws: What constitutes a hit and run in Kentucky?
- Kentucky hit and run laws explained
Under section 189.580, Kentucky hit and run laws, leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging contact information with the other party or failing to render reasonable assistance to the victim constitutes a hit and run.
- Leaving the scene of an accident that results in death or injury is a felony.
- Kentucky is a “choice-no fault state.”
- You have a legal obligation to stop and render reasonable assistance to anyone injured after an accident.
- You may leave the scene if you have valid reason to fear for your safety.
- If you are involved in a traffic collision in Kentucky, you have ten days to file a report.
- 189.580 Duty in case of accident-movement of vehicle from roadway after accident- removal of vehicles obstructing roadway-exemptions-cost of removal.
Kentucky hit and run laws explained
Under state law, if you are involved in an accident, you have a legal obligation to immediately stop the vehicle and render reasonable assistance to anyone that needs it. What that means is, a traffic collision escalates into a crime if you leave the scene without fulfilling the legal requirements under section 198.580.
Your obligations at the scene of an accident in Kentucky
- You must immediately stop the vehicle after a traffic collision at the scene or very close by.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone that needs it, including making arrangements to transport the victim to a hospital.
- Upon request, you must give the operator or an occupant of the struck vehicle your name, vehicle registration number, and your address.
- If the accident does not result in death or injury, or if the vehicle you were operating does not contain hazardous materials, you may move the vehicle to a safe section of the road.
- Do not move the vehicle if the accident results in death or serious injury -unless when instructed to do so by emergency workers or law enforcement.
- You must remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives.
Note: That if you are unable to move the vehicle, Kentucky hit-and-run laws allow any person with a valid driver’s license to move the vehicle for you. Also, the law allows peace officers to move the vehicle without consent, and officers are not liable for any damages that may result.
Hit and run misdemeanor offenses in Kentucky
The damage that results from the accident and the circumstances leading up to the collision – determine if the crime committed is a misdemeanor or felony.
Consequently, you will likely face misdemeanor charges if you hit a parked vehicle or damage property then intentionally leave the scene without making a reasonable effort to contact the property owner.
Under Kentucky hit and run laws, leaving the scene of an accident that results in property damage alone is a class A misdemeanor. If arrested upon conviction, you may lose your driving privileges.
Note: That the property owner may take civil action against you.
What happens if you accidentally hit a parked car in Kentucky?
As mentioned, an accident only becomes a crime if you leave the scene. Therefore, if you hit a parked vehicle, you have a legal obligation to remain at the scene and make a reasonable effort to contact the owner of the struck vehicle. If you cannot locate the owner, you may call the police.
Note: That Kentucky hit and run laws section 189.580 part 2, allows you to leave a note if you are unable to locate the owner. The statute reads in part, quote:
“Locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle or other property of his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving or shall attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on such vehicle or other property a written notice giving his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, or shall file a report with the local police department.”
Failure to do that may turn a parking lot collision into a class A misdemeanor.
Kentucky hit and run laws: Felony offenses
If the accident results in serious bodily injury or death, and the driver knowingly leaves the scene, that individual may face felony charges upon arrest. The reason for that is, state law requires you to remain at the scene and aid anyone injured immediately after an accident -be the accident- minor or severe.
How long do you have to file an accident report in Kentucky?
Section 7 of Kentucky hit and run laws, states, quote:
“The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident on a highway in this state resulting in injury to or death of any person or in which total property damage of five hundred dollars ($500) or more is sustained, and in which an investigation is not conducted by a law enforcement officer, shall file a written report of the accident with the Department of Kentucky State Police within ten (10) days of the occurrence of the accident upon forms provided by the department.”
Meaning you have ten days to file a report. If the accident results in death or injury, you must immediately notify law enforcement.
What is the penalty for hit and run in Kentucky?
- Hit and run, property damage in Kentucky is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
- Hit and run, death or serious injury, class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10000 fine.
- Failure to report an accident, infraction, punishable by a fine.
- Leaving the scene of an accident: drivers license suspension or revocation.
Civil penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Kentucky
If you are at fault, the other person/s may take civil action against you to recover lost wages, property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and so on. Your share of responsibility for the accident may also prompt the court to impose punitive damages.
That makes it vital never to admit fault at the scene of an accident.
How is fault determined in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, insurers consider police reports, traffic laws, and the circumstances leading up to the accident. That is why you mustn’t admit fault or say anything that the other party or insurer may use against you.
Kentucky is a “choice no-fault state” meaning, all drivers in the state must carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage on their policy. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident, you may file a personal injury claim with your insurer. Note, Kentucky law allows you to opt-out of the no-fault system via request.
As mentioned, if the police report and circumstances leading up to the accident show that you are at fault, the other party may take civil action against you. That is why it is vital to know what to do immediately after an accident. Note that if you are 100% responsible for the accident, suing the other party will not result in you getting compensation. That brings us to the topic of negligence.
How is negligence determined in Kentucky after an accident?
To sue the other party for negligence, you must show the court:
- The other party owed you a duty of care.
- The individual breached that duty of care.
- You suffered an injury because of the person’s failures or actions.
What to do at the scene of an accident in Kentucky
If you are involved in an accident in Kentucky, what you should do is:
- Stop the vehicle. Leaving the scene turns the accident into a crime.
- Do not admit fault.
- Stay at the scene of the accident until you exchange information with the other party, or until cleared by law enforcement.
- Do not threaten, assault, or in any way make the other party fear for their safety.
- You must render reasonable assistance to anyone injured.
- Take pictures and collect witness testimonies and information.
- Write down everything.
Note: If you fulfill what the law requires of you, the victim may still take civil action against you. But it may help you avoid criminal charges and punitive damages.
Tip: We suggest contacting your lawyer first -if the accident results in death or serious injury to avoid saying anything that may point fault in your direction.
- Do not admit fault.
- Do not threaten the other party or engage in road rage.
- Document everything that may help the police track down the fleeing driver.
- Seek medical attention and do not comment about your health until you get an expert opinion.
- Call law enforcement immediately.
- Exchange information.
Kentucky hit and run laws section 189.580: what to remember
- If the accident results in death or injury, you may only move the vehicle after the victim has received medical assistance and investigations/fire supervision efforts are complete.
- Do not move the vehicle if it contains hazardous materials.
- You must file a report within ten days if the accident causes damage amounting to less than $500.
- The struck property owner is not liable for the cost of removal and has the right to take civil action.
Kentucky hit and run statute of limitations
If you are involved in a car accident in Kentucky, you have two years starting from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. If the victim dies, you have one year to file a wrongful death claim starting from the time of death.
The statute of limitations for property damage is five years, starting from the date of the accident.
Kentucky hit and run laws: defenses
All hit and runs have a unique set of circumstances leading up to the accident – consequently, it is advisable to present the facts to an attorney to build a suitable defense.
Some defenses you may use include:
- Leaving the scene was involuntary, maybe you fell unconscious, and someone took you to the hospital.
- You were unaware of your involvement in an accident.
- You felt unsafe to remain at the scene.
- The victim refused to accept your information.
- You stopped close to the scene.
- You were not the one driving the vehicle.
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