Vermont Hit-and-Run

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in Vermont, you must report the crime to police within 72 hours and file a claim with your insurance company.
Written by Melanie Johnson
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
A hit-and-run can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Vermont and is punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years and fines of up to $3,000.
Hit-and-runs are illegal in every state—although the way the law is defined and the associated punishment varies by location. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run in Vermont, you should report the crime to the police within 72 hours and file an insurance claim. 
Car insurance
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Read on to learn more about hit-and-runs in Vermont (and how to reduce your
Vermont car insurance costs
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What is a hit-and-run? 

A hit-and-run is a traffic collision in which a motorist (usually the one at fault) flees the scene. It is illegal to leave an accident site without providing personal and insurance information to the other driver so that they may file an insurance claim.
Vermont law requires stopping after being involved in a collision—even one in which you were not at fault—to render aid to those who may need it. 

What happens if you commit a hit-and-run in Vermont?

If you’re involved in a collision in any state, do not leave the scene of the accident. In Vermont, the requirements of the law are very clear about what to do after an accident, and violating them carries serious financial and legal penalties.

Is a hit-and-run a felony in Vermont? 

In Vermont, a hit-and-run can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the accident. 
If the collision resulted in property damage only, it will be tried as a misdemeanor, but a hit-and-run that caused injury or death will be charged as a felony

What is the punishment for a hit-and-run in Vermont? 

The penalties for a hit-and-run in Vermont escalate depending on the seriousness of the accident and whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
The maximum penalties for a misdemeanor hit-and-run are:
  • Fines up to $2,000
  • Imprisonment for up to two years
  • Both fines and imprisonment
The maximum penalties of a felony hit-and-run are:
  • Fines up to $3,000
  • Imprisonment up to 15 years
  • Both fines and imprisonment
Furthermore, Vermont law differentiates the penalties for hit-and-runs that result in property damage only, versus serious bodily injury and death:
Result of accident
Possible punishment
Property damage only
Up to two years in jail
Fines up to $2,000
Both imprisonment and fines
Serious injury
Up to five years in jail
Fines up to $3,000
Both imprisonment and fines
Up to 15 years in jail
Fines up to $3,000
Both imprisonment and fines
In all hit-and-run cases, a surcharge of $50 that benefits the Vermont DUI Enforcement Fund is added to the total fine.

How to avoid a hit-and-run charge

According to
Vermont Statute 23, Subsection 1128
, if you are involved in a collision that results in injury to a person or damage to another’s property, you are required to “immediately stop and render any assistance reasonably necessary.”
If you are in an accident, follow these steps to avoid a hit-and-run charge:
  • Locate the driver or owner of the property struck. If there are injuries, immediately call 911 and summon medical help.
  • Present the following information to the other driver:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Driver’s license number
  • Call to report the accident to police if damage to vehicles is more than $3,000.
  • If you cannot locate the owner of the property struck (e.g., parked car, mailbox, fence), leave a detailed note with the above information and an explanation of the circumstances.
  • You must stay at the scene of the accident until all requirements of the law have been fulfilled. Failing to do so will mean you’re guilty of a hit-and-run in Vermont.  

    What should I do if I experience a hit-and-run in Vermont? 

    If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in Vermont: pull over, call the police immediately, and try to gather as much evidence as possible. 

    At the scene

    Vermont law mandates pulling over to a safe location near the accident site, out of the flow of traffic. Make a call to police and report the hit-and-run. If you or anyone in your party is injured, request medical attention.
    While you are waiting for police to arrive at the scene, try to gather as much evidence as you can, including:
    • The license plate number of the car that hit you
    • The color, make, and model of the car
    • The appearance of the driver, if seen
    • Any identifying characteristics of the driver or car
    • The exact time and place of the crash
    • The direction the driver was heading
    • The circumstances of the crash (what happened)
    If there are witnesses present, take down their names and phone numbers. If possible, ask that they wait with you until police arrive—their testimony will be useful to include in the police report. 
    Take photos of injuries sustained, damage to your vehicle, and the accident site. Remember, the more information you can include in your police report, the better the chances of locating the hit-and-run driver.

    After you leave the scene

    File an insurance claim as soon as possible. Some insurance companies may try to deny your claim if there is a delay in reporting, so it’s important to report the accident as soon as possible.
    If the at-fault driver is found, you will file a claim through their insurance company. If they are never located, you will file through your own insurance company.
    Vermont requires drivers to carry both
    liability insurance
    uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
    . Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should help cover medical bills and repair costs resulting from the hit-and-run.
    Collision coverage
    is optional in Vermont but may be used to cover repairs to your vehicle that your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does not.
    Medical payments coverage (MedPay)
    is also optional in Vermont and may be used to cover additional medical costs.

    What insurance covers a hit-and-run?

    Insurance type
    Will it cover a hit-and-run?
    Uninsured motorist coverage
    Check with your insurance company to check the limits on your policy
    Collision coverage
    May need to pay deductible
    Medical payments (MedPay) coverage
    Covers what health insurance doesn’t

    How to find affordable insurance for collisions and more 

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    If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, your insurance premium may go up, but not substantially. If you have filed multiple claims, there’s a chance your insurance company may raise your rate at renewal—but it’s unlikely to change from one hit-and-run.
    If you are charged with a hit-and-run, your insurance rate will definitely go up—on average by 109 percent. If you had stayed at the accident, it’s likely your rate would have only increased by .41 percent. If you’re involved in a future accident, remember: always stop.
    A hit-and-run is a serious crime that carries strict penalties. It may be best to seek legal counsel if you have committed a hit-and-run in Vermont.
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