West Virginia Hit-and-Run

A hit-and-run in West Virginia can result in fines of up to $5,000 and five years of imprisonment.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Committing a hit-and-run in West Virginia can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Penalties may include fines of up to $5,000 and the possibility of five years imprisonment. 
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run in West Virginia, stay calm and don’t attempt to pursue the other vehicle. Make sure you and anyone else involved in the crash are okay. Call the police immediately, and gather as much information as possible about the accident. 
Part of being prepared for an unexpected occurrence like a hit-and-run is making sure you have the right
car insurance
. Super app
can help you find a great
West Virginia car insurance
policy—and save you time and money doing it. 
In this article, we’ll break down the details of West Virginia’s hit-and-run laws. 
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings

What is a hit-and-run? 

A hit-and-run is defined as a traffic accident of any kind where the driver fails to stop and remain on the scene. Even if the damage is minor or there are no other people involved, failure to
stop after an accident
is a serious crime. 
Hit-and-run laws in West Virginia are commonly known as Erin’s Law, after a 21-year-old woman who was killed in an unsolved hit-and-run in 2005.
You don’t have to be the at-fault party to be guilty of a hit-and-run. Even if you are the victim, leaving the site of the accident before exchanging information with the other driver and speaking with any police officers present leaves you open to a hit-and-run charge. 
Additionally, if you hit any highway fixtures (guardrails, etc.) in West Virginia, you are required to notify the owner or person in charge of them. Failure to do so is considered a hit-and-run. 

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

The number one rule if you are involved in any traffic accident, is to stay on the scene. Panic is understandable, but running away is not. Take a deep breath and remain calm—it can go a long way toward avoiding serious criminal charges.  
MORE: How to file a car accident claim report

Is a hit-and-run a felony in West Virginia? 

A hit-and-run that results in the death of another person is a felony. If the accident only involves property damage, it’s a misdemeanor
If the accident involves injury, charges of a misdemeanor vs. a felony depend on the severity of the victim’s injuries. If it’s proven that you knew someone was injured and fled the scene, that can be considered a felony offense. 

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

Penalties for a hit-and-run in West Virginia vary depending on the extent of the damages and whether anyone was injured or killed. 
A hit-and-run that results in just property damage is a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $100 and up to 10 days in jail. If someone is killed or seriously injured, it’s considered a felony, and the punishment is more severe: up to $5,000 in fines and five years in jail
In both misdemeanor and felony hit-and-runs, your
driver’s license can be revoked
for up to one year, and there are fees involved in having it reinstated. You will also have six points added to your West Virginia driving record.
Here’s a breakdown of potential hit-and-run penalties:
Result of accident
Possible fines
Possible imprisonment
Driver’s license revocation
Driving record points
Highway property damage
Up to $150
Vehicle or other property damage
Up to $100
Up to 10 days
Up to $1,000
Up to 1 year
Up to 1 year
Serious injuries
Up to $2,500
1 to 3 years
Up to 1 year
Up to $5,000
1 to 5 years
Up to 1 year

How to avoid a hit-and-run charge

West Virginia code §17C-4-1 states that: “The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in the injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash or as close to the scene as possible and return to and remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has complied with the requirements of §17C-4-3.” 
These requirements include:
  • Provide your name, phone number, and proof of insurance to the other driver and law enforcement
  • Provide your car's year, make, model, and the last four digits of your VIN to the other driver and law enforcement
  • Render or obtain any reasonable aid 
  • Leave a conspicuous note with your contact information if the accident involved unattended property and you are unable to locate the owner
The law does recognize that someone is permitted to briefly leave the site of the crash for the purpose of rendering or obtaining aid.
If the accident involves property damage that is worth more than $1,000, you are required to notify law enforcement. 
Failure to do any of these can result in a hit-and-run charge, even if you are not the at-fault driver.
MORE: How different types of car accidents affect your insurance rates

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

If you’re involved in a collision in West Virginia and the other driver runs off, it’s important to remain calm and keep a clear head. Contact the police immediately to
report the hit and run
, and then try to remember and record as much detail about the accident as possible

At the scene

Do not attempt to follow the other vehicle. As tempting as it may be and as (understandably) angry as you are, pursuing the perpetrator of a hit-and-run can have some bad outcomes. 
First, make sure that you or anyone else who was involved in the accident is uninjured, and render any reasonable aid. West Virginia law requires you to move your vehicle out of the way of traffic (if possible). Call 911 to get the police on the scene and to request any emergency medical services. 
While you’re on the scene and things are fresh in your mind, take note of and record: 
  • The events leading up to and including the crash
  • A description of the other car (make, model, color, etc)
  • The license plate number of the other car, even if it’s just a few numbers
  • A description of the driver or any other occupants of the other car
  • The direction the car was traveling before and after the crash
  • Any other significant details such as bumper stickers, modifications, or anything the driver may have said
If you can, talk to witnesses or other people who were involved in the accident. Someone may have seen something relevant or valuable that you didn’t. 
Take lots of pictures of your car and the scene of the accident. Keep an eye out for any evidence that might be helpful in identifying the other car, like tire marks or paint debris. 
MORE: Hit and run insurance claims: Everything you need to know

After you leave the scene

In West Virginia, police are required to file a report for any accident that results in over $1,000 worth of damage. If the damage is less than that, it’s still typically a good idea to file a report anyway. 
A police report is a vital piece of information to have when you are filing an insurance claim. Make sure you file your claim as quickly as possible, ideally within 24 hours. 
If the police are able to locate the other driver, then their insurance should cover the damages to your vehicle.
West Virginia car insurance laws
requires all drivers to at least carry a minimum amount of
liability insurance
If the identity of the other driver is not discovered, things can become a little more complicated. Since you won’t be able to file a claim through their insurance, getting compensation for your losses will come down to what kind of coverage you have. 
This is when having more than the required minimum insurance pays off:
collision coverage
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
, and
medical payments (MedPay) coverage
can all help to cover you in the case of a hit-and-run. 

What insurance covers a hit-and-run?

Insurance type
Will it cover a hit-and-run?
Collision coverage
Deductible may apply
Uninsured motorist coverage
Deductible may apply for property damage claims
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage
Will help with medical bills, but not lost wages
Personal injury protection
(PIP) is not available in West Virginia. 
MORE: Does insurance cover a hit-and-run?

How to find affordable insurance for collisions and more 

can help you find a policy that meets your coverage and budgetary needs—from basic liability to comprehensive coverage. Once you’ve found the right policy for you, our
trustworthy insurance shopping super app
keeps monitoring available policies and prices so you know that you’re always getting the best deal. 
“After using
twice, I can confidently recommend them for insuring a new car or renewing for an existing car. Phenomenal service.” —Phil E.
Let Jerry find your price in only 45 seconds
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find insurance savings


A hit-and-run is a moving violation, so if you are found guilty of one it’s a strong possibility that your insurance premium will increase. If you are the victim, it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your insurance rates.
A hit-and-run is considered a serious criminal offense. If you have committed a hit-and-run, it’s a good idea to seek professional legal help right away.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings