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A Wyoming hit-and-run accident can be scary and frustrating if the driver responsible cannot be located to pay for damages. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident in the Cowboy State, no matter what the circumstances. Even if you are concerned about the consequences to your own driving record, you are required to stay at the scene to render assistance if you are able to and explain what happened to the first responders and police.
Hit-and-runs in Wyoming
A hit-and-run accident in Wyoming is defined as one where a driver flees the accident scene without exchanging contact and insurance information. Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in Wyoming, and the consequences are severe. Whether there are injuries or not, or any kind of property damage, a driver is required to stop when involved in an accident.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, most experts recommend you remain on the scene, ensure that you and your passengers are safely out of the way of traffic and call 911 or your local police so that a police record can be created. You will need this document if you choose to file claims with your car insurance company.
Wyoming hit-and-run laws
Wyoming hit-and-run laws outline two different scenarios for drivers caught fleeing the scene of an accident. Wyoming law dictates if a driver is convicted of a hit-and-run, but the accident only caused property damage, then the punishment is a misdemeanor at the minimum. The driver may, however, face up to six months in prison as well as possible fines.
If the hit-and-run causes injuries and/or death, the potential consequences are more severe. If convicted, the driver may be charged with a felony. The fine could be up to $5,000, and the driver could spend up to one year in jail if convicted. They could also face the suspension of their license and additional fees to have it restored.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Wyoming
If you are convicted of a hit-and-run in Wyoming, you will likely see increased auto insurance premiums. Car insurance companies see drivers who are convicted of hit-and-runs as likely to get into further accidents and typically charge higher rates to compensate for this risk. You may even have difficulty finding coverage and have to seek insurance through a high-risk carrier.
Wyoming also requires you to file an SR-22 form if your license is suspended. The SR-22, which your car insurance company issues as proof that you have obtained the minimum amount of liability coverage required in Wyoming, will be required until an agreed-upon date.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, there may also be implications for your insurance rates. If the perpetrator is discovered, they will be responsible for any damage or injuries you or your passengers sustained in the accident. However, if they are not found, you may be able to file a claim with your own provider to cover damages. Choosing to go through your own insurance may raise your car insurance rates.
Four things to do after a hit-and-run in Wyoming
Car accidents are frightening enough, but when you add a hit-and-run to the scenario, it can take stress to another level. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, the most important priority is the safety of you and your passengers. Once that has been addressed, you can move on to the next steps.
1. Secure medical assistance if needed
After an accident, most experts recommend calling for medical assistance if you or any other people involved in the crash are injured, even if the injuries seem minor.
2. Quickly gather details of the hit-and-run driver and car
If possible, take photos and videos or write down notes about anything you see or remember from the accident. A minor detail could end up helping later on, especially if you have information about the hit-and-run driver or their vehicle. This may include a partial license plate number and vehicle or driver description.
3. Call the police
Getting the police involved and filing a police report is the next step. Your insurance carrier will ask for a copy of the police report, so it’s critical to take care of this item.
4. File an insurance claim
If you choose to go through your own insurance company because the driver is not located or their insurance is insufficient, you will need to file an insurance claim as soon as possible, usually within a day or two of the accident. The information you took down from the accident will be pivotal in helping your car insurance carrier process your claim.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Your car insurance policy may help with your expenses related to a hit-and-run accident in Wyoming. But your auto insurance policy needs to include certain types of coverage which are typically optional.
If you have collision coverage included in your policy, it may pay for expenses related to damage to your vehicle up to your policy limits. Collision insurance will only cover your vehicle damage and pays nothing towards medical costs or lost wages.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, this may help with medical expenses and property damage to your car, up to your policy limits, although carriers vary in how they apply uninsured motorist coverage to hit-and-runs.
Frequently asked questions
The average cost of car insurance in Wyoming is $1,582 per year for full coverage, according to Bankrate’s 2023 study of quoted annual premiums. The national average is $2,014 per year, putting Wyoming’s average cost well below the national average. These quoted rates are averages, and your actual rates will be based on your personal circumstances and may vary.
Yes, Wyoming requires minimum liability coverage to legally drive in the state. Minimum coverage car insurance in Wyoming must include at least $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident and $20,000 in property damage liability per accident. This is only the minimum requirement but you may want to work with a licensed insurance agent to determine the right coverage for your situation. Uninsured motorist coverage must be offered by your car insurance company, but you can decline it in writing. If you prefer not to purchase the minimum amount of car insurance required, you may have the option of using a surety bond of $25,000 deposit with the Wyoming treasury instead.