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What's the penalty for leaving the scene of a crash?

Karns & Kerrison

Rhode Island residents may benefit from reviewing the penalties for motorists who flee the scene of an accident. Drivers involved in an accident causing death, personal injuries or property damage are required to stop immediately, without obstructing traffic, and remain on-scene until police arrive. Anyone who knowingly fails to stop after an accident with personal injury may be subjected to a one to five-year license revocation, up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years behind bars.

For the first violation, motorists who cause serious injuries without stopping at the scene will face penalties that include one to 10 years in prison, fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and a two-year license suspension. Motorists who commit a second violation within a five-year period will face two to 15 years in prison, a fine ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 and a license revocation of up to four years.

The state defines serious bodily injury as physical trauma causing impairment, disfigurement or protracted loss of an organ or bodily member, or a physical trauma that substantially increases the risk of death. Motorists who cause another's death and fail to stop will be subject to a sentence ranging from two to 15 years, fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 and a three-year license suspension. Penalties for a subsequent incident within five years may warrant $20,000 in fines and five to 20 years behind bars.

Anyone suffering injuries caused by another driver may be entitled to seek restitution that can help account for resulting damages. Plaintiffs in car accident cases are typically rewarded compensation to help offset medical expenses, loss of income, repair costs or other hardships caused by the incident. In order to warrant restitution, plaintiffs in accident cases are usually tasked with proving that the injuries resulted from the defendant's driver negligence.

Source: State of Rhode Island General Laws § 31-26-1

Source: State of Rhodes island General Assembly, "CHAPTER 31-26 Accidents and Accident Reports", September 26, 2014


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If you or your loved one suffered severe, life-altering injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we are here to help you fight for justice. For answers to your questions or to schedule a free consultation, contact our personal injury team at (888) 281-3100. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees after we have recovered compensation on your behalf.

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