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Louisiana hit-and-run laws require all individuals involved in a car accident to stop and exchange information. If one of the parties fails to stop, it is considered a hit-and-run and may come with significant consequences, whether you are the victim or the at-fault driver. Bankrate takes a close look at the hit-and-run charges in a Louisiana accident to help you know what you should do if you are involved in one.
Hit-and-runs in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a hit-and-run accident is defined as a collision where the driver responsible for an accident or involved in an accident, does not stop to exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. Nationally, hit-and-run accidents are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 2,872 fatalities from hit-and-runs in 2021, the latest year for which there are records. That is an 11 percent increase over 2020’s numbers.
Louisiana hit-and-run laws
Louisiana hit-and-run laws state that the at-fault driver is fully liable in a hit-and-run collision. The consequences for causing a hit-and-run in Louisiana can be severe.
The driver responsible in a hit-and-run that results in property damage only will be fined a maximum of $500. They can also face up to six months in jail. If there are injuries or fatalities, the driver will be fined a maximum of $5,000, and may face jail time for up to 10 years with or without hard labor.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Louisiana
At-fault drivers who are caught after a Louisiana hit-and-run are likely to see an increase in their insurance premium. Insurers may consider them high-risk drivers, especially if they already have other infractions on their record, which may make it difficult for them to find an insurer who is willing to work with them. They may also be required to file an SR-22 form with the DMV, which is a document that attests that they have an active insurance policy.
After an accident, the average cost of car insurance in Louisiana for full coverage rises from $3,609 to $4,863. For comparison’s sake, the national average is $2,542.
4 things to do after a hit-and-run in Louisiana
If you get into a hit-and-run accident, the first thing you should do is pull over safely, even if the other driver does not stop. Assess the situation and make sure that you and your passengers are not harmed. If anyone in the car needs medical aid, call 911. If there are no injuries, here is what you should do:
- Call the police: Even if your car does not sustain major damage, you should call the police immediately after a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in Louisiana, and police will investigate it as a crime. The officer will ask you to recall any information you can about the vehicle and driver that hit you. They will also write a police report which you can share with your insurance company.
- Take photos of vehicle damage: Before leaving the scene, take some photos of your vehicle’s damage, if you can do so safely and away from traffic. These will be helpful when you go to file an insurance claim. If you or any of your passengers needed medical aid, keep a record of the treatment received.
- Speak with bystanders: If there was anyone at the scene or can share footage of the accident, this could be useful towards catching the hit-and-run driver.
- File an insurance claim: Contact your insurance company and notify them of the hit-and-run. An agent will walk you through the claim process, and explain what your policy will cover. Make sure to have the police report and photos of the damage ready to go to expedite the process.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Depending on what coverage you have on your car insurance policy, you could have some protection against a hit-and-run in Louisiana. But if you have a minimum coverage policy with only liability coverage, it will not cover a hit-and-run. Louisiana does not require drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but if you do have this optional coverage, you could have some coverage against a hit-and-run for bodily injuries only.
However, if you have a full coverage car insurance policy, you will have some coverage in the event of a hit-and-run for both injuries and car damage. Medical payments coverage will pay for your medical expenses, as well as treatment for your passengers. Collision and comprehensive insurance will pay for your vehicle’s damages, but you’ll likely need to pay your deductible before your car insurance covers the rest. This likely will not be recoverable unless the hit-and-run driver is found and they have an active car insurance policy. Keep in mind that filing any claim on your car insurance is likely to raise your rates, so even if you were not at fault, you could see some longer-term financial consequences.
Frequently asked questions
Louisiana is one of the most expensive states in the U.S. for car insurance. The average cost of a full-coverage policy in the Bayou State is $3,609. This is more than $1,000 pricier than the national average of $2,542. Your own coverage, however, is likely to differ from the average since it is based on data that is unique to you and your circumstances, including your age, credit history and driving record, as well as your car’s age, make and model. Shopping around and taking advantage of discounts may help lower your rate.
There’s no single company that is always the best option for everyone, all the time. Determining the best choice for your needs is easier if you know your priorities. For example, if you have a teen driver in your family, you may want to look for a company known to give favorable rates to young adults. If you are retired or work from home, the best company for you may be one that offers mileage-based coverage. If superb customer service is high on your list of must-haves, you could consider a company that places well in the J.D. Power customer satisfaction rankings. Determining what is most important to you can help you find the best insurance company for your vehicle.
Every driver in Louisiana is required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. The minimum requirement is 15/30/25 personal liability insurance, which includes $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident.