car accident, hit and run, personal injuries

Do police investigate minor hit and runs? – what do police do in a hit and run?

Do police investigate minor hit and runs? – what do police do in a hit and run?

Are you the victim of a minor hit-and-run accident and wondering if the police will investigate? It can be frustrating and confusing to navigate the legal system after a car accident, especially when the other driver takes off without leaving any contact information. 

In my previous articles on this site, I already mentioned that the USA alone sees at least 7.3 million car accidents yearly. Doing simple maths shows that the USA experiences 19,937  car crashes every day.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the year 2021, there were at least 42,915 car accident fatalities in the USA, a number that reflected a more than 10% increase in car accident fatalities from the previous year.

From my own research, I was able to discover that, for every 15 car accident cases, at least one is a hit-and-run accident. According to other current reports, only 5-10% of cases of hit-and-runs are solved, leaving more than 90% of hit-and-runs unsolved.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the question of whether or not police investigate minor hit-and-runs, and what steps you can take to increase the chances of finding the responsible party. 

From understanding your rights as a victim to knowing what evidence to gather, we’ll provide you with the information you need to move forward with your case. Whether you’re dealing with a damaged car or injured passengers, don’t let a hit-and-run driver get away with it – read on to learn how the police can help bring them to justice.

Page Contents

Minor Hit and Runs

A hit-and-run is a type of auto accident where one of the drivers flee the accident scene without sharing personal information, rendering aid to the injured, or leaving without informing the traffic authorities. 

personal injuries, car accident, hit and run

Different states classify hit-and-run differently. What is a minor hit-and-run could be a moderate one and could attract different charges in another state. But, hit and run can be classified as minor and severe, and these sub-classes have different variations.

Yes, police investigate minor hit and runs. They gather evidence, interview witnesses, and identify suspects. They also work to locate the driver and vehicle involved and determine if charges should be filed.

Though not so orderly, below are some of the variations of hit and run and I will also try to include the possible charges.

What to do after a hit-and-run accident?

Hit and run is an offense and is severely punishable by law. You are required to stay at the accident scene even if you are clearly not at fault for the accident.

The following are steps you should follow after a hit-and-run accident.

1. Make sure you or any other passenger is safe. If not call 911 and arrange to seek medical care right away.

2. Share personal information with the other party. If necessary share your name, address, location, license plate number, car registration, insurance information, and others.

3. If there are any injuries, render any help possible. Leaving an injured person behind after a hit and run without offering help is an offense punishable by law.

4. Call and inform the police and do not leave the scene, not until a car accident report has been compiled, and get yourself a copy if possible.

5. Go on and follow other general guidelines for car accidents. I already explained a bunch in my other articles.

Non-injury Related Hit And Run Accident 

Just like any car accident, not all hit-and-run car accidents result in injuries or property damages. 

A non-injury related hit and run accident is the type of crash where there are no injuries involved. Though there could be no injuries, no driver is allowed to leave the scene not until all the legal requirements have been fulfilled.

HIT and run with Attended Vehicle

This is where a driver hits a moving car but the perpetrator illegally leaves the scene. For instance, your car could be rear-ended or get into a head-on collision but the other driver flees away.

Hit and Run Penalty for Attended Vehicle

The penalties for a hit and run for an attended vehicle vary from state to state, and whether there are injuries sustained or car damages.

personal injuries, car accident, hit and run

If there are no injuries and significant damages, some states will slap you with up to 4 months of jail time, and up to $500 fines in addition to a suspension of your driving license.

Unattended Vehicle Hit and Run Penalty 

Many hit and runs involve a collision with parked cars. You are supposed to hunt for the car driver and follow all the legal requirements of a hit and run or else you face charges. 

Depending on where you come from, and how serious the accident is, your state could slap you with up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $500. If there are injuries or property damages, be ready to face tough punishments.

Hit And Run Property Damage Only

Minor cases of hit-and-run involve property damages only. If you committed this type of minor hit and run, be ready to face class 3 misdemeanor in some states.

Charges for a hit and run involving property damages only include up to 30 days of jail time and up to $500 in fines. But this of course depends on the extent of property damages and the state you come from.

Hit-and-run property damages only are also classified as a minor type of hit-and-run auto accident. whether police investigate these minor hit-and-runs will be discussed shortly in this article.

Injury Related Hit And Run Accident 

Any hit and run that involves any bodily injuries are classified as a major one and the punishments are very tough. I already explained that you will have committed an offense if you left behind an injured person without offering help.

Hit and Run Penalty For Minor Injury

Depending on where you live, you could be charged with a felony. Your penalties may include probation, jail time of up to 3 years, and up to 3 years of driving license revocation.

Serious Injury or Death

You will be dealing with a major hit and run if the accident you caused and fled away caused serious injuries or deaths. You are still required to stop by and share your name, driver’s license, and registration information.

Hit and Run Penalty For At-Fault Death or Serious Injury

If the hit and run you caused involves serious injuries or death, you could be dealing with a class 2 felony, depending on the state you come from. Your punishments may include probation, up to 13 years of jail time, and revocation of your driver’s license for up to 10 years.

Do police investigate minor hit and runs?

Among all the car accidents, investigating and bringing to book hit-and-run perpetrators is really hard. This is because most hit-and-run cases lack concrete evidence and proper leads. 

personal injuries, car accident, hit and run

Here is Michael’s story. Michael was a victim of hit and run and suffered bodily injuries requiring more than 4 months of hospitalization. While on his admission bed, the police assured Michael that his case will probably never be solved. 

“We are sorry Michael we have no any lead to your hit and run perpetrator”, said the policeman. 

The best thing is that Michael carried full insurance coverage and so his medical bills and other accident-related costs were settled by his car insurance company. 

To be frank, the Police do not investigate minor hit-and-runs especially if there are no proper leads. Police know that your insurance company will settle your minor losses and so would rather spend their resources on serious hit-and-runs.

If hit and run involve major injuries or death, the case remains open forever till the culprit is nabbed and held liable, otherwise, the police search and investigations will continue forever.

The average settlement for a hit-and-run car accident is somewhere between $10,000 and $2,000,000. If your hit-and-run is likely to fetch lower than $10,000, most likely police will not investigate it unless they have concrete evidence.

Lack of concrete pieces of evidence and probably lack of good leads could be the major reason why more than 90% of hits and runs are not investigated and solved by the police. 

Police would rather allocate their limited resources and time to more serious cases like felony other than investigating minor property damage, a minor bodily injury hit and run case.

Do’s And Don’ts Hit And Run 

There are many things you need to do and should not do after committing a hit-and-run. For instance, you will need to stop immediately and offer any help possible to the victims.

You should gather information, share personal info with the other party, call 911 if any person is injured, and call and inform the police and your insurance company. If need be, let your attorney know what just happened to you. 

What will Police do in hit and run?

Do not leave the accident scene, because the police will soon be looking for you. Police usually use witness statements, car accident footage, your license plate number, and other pieces of evidence to track you if you committed a hit and run. 

Most likely a nearby CCTV or somewhere a hidden good samaritan watched you commit a hit and run and will not hesitate to turn you in. Just because you fled the accident scene, your car accident case could turn into at worst a felony, and face many years behind bars.

How to Get Out of a Hit and Run CharFor ege

You do not like cops waking you up early in the morning for the hit-and-run you committed, right? You can get out of a hit-and-run charge by doing simple but smart things. 

police, arrest, handcuffs-2122376.jpg

For example, hiring a defense car accident attorney places you at a higher advantage. You will need to prove that you were not the driver, you did not know you hit anything or prove you were attending to an emergency. 

You could also decide to plead guilty to entice the judge to lessen your penalties. Attorneys know how to negotiate with judges for fair punishments.

How long a case may take?

How long it takes to settle your hit-and-run case depends on many factors:

  • The severity of the hit-and-run committed
  • The extent of injuries caused
  • Hit-and-run laws in your state
  • If there are deaths or major injuries caused
  • Whether you hired a car accident lawyer or not
  • your car insurance coverage and your policy limits.

In short, I do not know how long it will take you to settle your hit-and-run cases, If you committed a minor hit-and-run, you will probably settle in 1-3 months. If you are dealing with a major case of hit and run, you could spend many years behind the bars.

What you should do in the event your car is damaged as a result?

Following a hit-and-run accident, one of the ways police use to arrest the perpetrator is by patrolling around the car accident vicinity for hidden damaged cars. 

The police will search nearby body shops and patrol all the hideouts in the locality. If you decide to take your damaged car to nearby repair shops, it will be a matter of hours before police apprehended you.

Police usually instruct repair shops to report damaged cars where owners choose to pay from their own pockets other than paying through insurance coverage. All salvage yards and car parts are always required to report to the police just like repair shops.


In conclusion, the question of whether or not the police investigate minor hit-and-runs is an important one. The answer, unfortunately, is not a straightforward one. While the police may investigate minor hit-and-runs, it depends on the circumstances of the incident and the resources available to the police department.

It is important to remember that even if the police do not investigate a minor hit and run, it is still a crime for you to leave the scene of an accident without stopping and providing assistance. 

The potential consequences of a hit and run, whether it is considered minor or not, can be severe and include fines and imprisonment, as well as civil liability.

Therefore, it is always best practice for you to stop and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved, and to report the accident to the police, regardless of the extent of the damage or injuries. It is not only the legal and responsible thing to do, but it also protects you from potential legal repercussions down the line.

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