Minnesota hit and run laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in the gopher state?
- Minnesota hit and run laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in the gopher state?
- Is leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota a misdemeanor or felony?
- Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota: Misdemeanor offenses
Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota is a felony if the accident results in death or serious injury under section 169.09 (collisions/Minnesota hit and run laws). The penalty for the said crime is up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000 for a first offense.
Quick take: Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota
- Failure to report an accident via the “quickest means possible” is punishable by up to one year in prison.
- Leaving the scene of an accident that results in death or serious injury is a felony.
- Do not accept responsibility or fault at the scene of an accident.
- The jury and investigators determine the at fault party.
- Minnesota is a no-fault state and has a “modified comparative fault rule.”
- You have a legal obligation to stop and investigate the scene of an accident in Minnesota.
Is leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota a misdemeanor or felony?
Subdivision one of Minnesota’s hit and run laws states that any driver involved in a collision must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or as close as possible to the scene and “reasonably investigate what was struck.”
If you know or have reason to know that the collision resulted in injury or death – You must remain at the scene and fulfill the requirements below.
- You must stop or park your vehicle without unnecessarily obstructing traffic.
- If you cannot stop the vehicle at the scene, you must do it very close to it.
- Reasonably investigate the scene.
- Remain at the scene until you give your name, date of birth, email or mailing address, and vehicle registration to the struck person or struck property owner.
- Upon request, you must exhibit your driver’s license to a peace officer or person investigating the scene.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
- Give the struck person or peace officer your insurer’s name and address.
Note: you have seventy-two hours to give a peace officer, the person investigating the scene, or struck person the name and address of your insurer.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota: Misdemeanor offenses
Under Minnesota hit and run laws, if you violate subdivisions 2, 3, 4, and 5You are guilty of a misdemeanor. Subdivision 2 states that you have a legal obligation to immediately stop at the scene of an accident or very close to it.’
Subdivision 3 is your duty to exchange information with the struck person or peace officer.
Section 4 tells you what to do if you strike a parked vehicle or cause property damage. It reads, quote:
“The driver of any motor vehicle involved in a collision shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the collision, or as close to the scene as possible, and reasonably investigate what was struck. If the driver knows or has reason to know the collision resulted in damage to any unattended vehicle, the driver must either locate and notify the driver or owner of the vehicle of the name and address of the driver and registered owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle, report this same information to a peace officer, or leave in a conspicuous place in or secured to the vehicle struck, a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the registered owner of the vehicle doing the striking. The stop must be made without unnecessarily obstructing traffic.”
In short, if you hit a parked or unattended vehicle in Minnesota, you must make a reasonable effort to locate the driver or leave a note containing your name, address, and vehicle registration on a conspicuous section of the struck vehicle.
How long do you have to report an accident in Minnesota?
If an accident results in death, injury, or property damage surpassing $1000, you must report the accident to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety within 10 days.
Remember, failure to file a report is a misdemeanor under state law.
Note: if you own a garage or repair shop. Failure to report bullet damage within 24 hours is a misdemeanor.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota: Felony offenses
Note that an accident becomes a crime if you leave the scene without fulfilling the requirements above. What you need to remember is. State law requires you to investigate the scene before you leave.
Consequently, if you do not stop and investigate the scene and someone suffers serious injury or death. You are guilty of a felony if you did not cause the accident. The punishment for that is up to three years in prison plus a maximum fine of $5000.
If you caused an accident that results in significant bodily injury to another, then leave the scene, you are guilty of a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $4000 fine.
Note. Failure to stop at the scene and notify local police via the “quickest means possible” is punishable by up to one year in prison plus a $3000 fine.
What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota?
- Hitting unattended vehicle/property damage: misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1000. The court may suspend your driver’s license.
- Personal injury: misdemeanor, up to one year in prison, and a maximum fine of $3000.
- Great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, risk of death, organ loss: felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $4000.
- Death: felony, punishable by up to three years in prison plus a maximum fine of $5000.
Note: upon conviction for the crimes above. The court shall revoke or suspend your driver’s license.
Minnesota hit and run laws: Administrative and civil penalties
If you are the victim of a hit and run in Minnesota, you have the right to take civil action against the driver to recover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Furthermore, depending on the facts presented. The court may impose punitive damages on the driver.
Therefore, if you have been recently involved in an accident and chose not to stay at the scene, we recommend contacting a lawyer immediately. Why? Failure to report an accident is a crime, and so is leaving the scene. Because of that, the longer you wait, the more charges that accumulate and the higher the possibility of punitive damages.
How is fault determined in Minnesota?
Minnesota is a “no-fault state,” meaning insurers pay even if you are at fault. However, after an accident, the injured person or persons has the right to take civil action.
Minnesota’s modified comparative fault rule
Under Minnesota’s modified comparative fault rule, you may only recover damages if your share of fault does not exceed the other party’s. Therefore, if you are 51% responsible for the accident, you cannot recover damages.
Remember, it is up to the jury and investigators to decide the at-fault party. Because of that, do not accept responsibility for the accident at the scene or say anything that the other party may use against you.
- Stay at the scene and fulfill what the law requires of you.
- Do not leave the scene without investigating it and collecting evidence.
- Get witness testimonies or dashcam footage if possible.
- Do not threaten or act aggressively toward the other driver.
- Notify law enforcement and file a report.
- Avoid words including “it was my fault” or “I did not see the person or other vehicle.
Note: negligence reduces the amount you may recover. To prove negligence in Minnesota, you must show the court that the other party owed you a duty of care, the individual breached that duty, and the person’s negligence led to your loss, injury or property damage.
Remember, state statute 604-01. Reads, quote:
“Contributory fault does not bar recovery in an action by any person or the person’s legal representative to recover damages for fault resulting in death, in injury to person or property, or economic loss, if the contributory fault was not greater than the fault of the person against whom recovery is sought, but any damages allowed must be diminished in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the person recovering. The court may, and when requested by any party shall direct the jury to find separate special verdicts determining the amount of damages and the percentage of fault attributable to each party and the court shall then reduce the amount of damages in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the person recovering.”
Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota: what is the statute of limitations on personal injury?
The statute of limitations on personal injury in Minnesota is two years, starting from the date of injury. If the accident results in death, you have three years to file a wrongful death claim.
The statute of limitations for property damage in Minnesota is six years.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Minnesota: possible defenses
- You were unaware of your involvement in a traffic collision.
- No one suffered injury.
- You feared remaining at the scene would lead to harm on your person.
- You did not leave the scene
- The car involved was reported stolen or you were not behind the wheel.
Other Minnesota Laws