Plus, find out the penalties for failing to stop after a car crash.
In Oklahoma, it’s a crime to hit another car and flee the scene without exchanging information and rendering aid. In most cases, you’re required to file a police report, too. But what if someone hits your car and leaves? We’ll tell you what to do, step by step, as well as explain the legal ramifications of a hit-and-run.
Let’s say someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene. What is the best course of action? We recommend following the steps below.
Oklahoma insurance laws state that you must file a property damage or personal injury claim within two years of an accident to be eligible for coverage.
Because Oklahoma is an at-fault rather than a no-fault state, the at-fault driver is responsible for your property damage and the medical costs of you and your passengers. If you find out who the hit-and-run driver was, you can file a third-party claim to get compensation via their liability coverage. However, if you can’t identify the driver, use your uninsured motorist liability coverage, collision coverage, or medical payments coverage — assuming you have these on your insurance policy.
Oklahoma doesn’t require any coverages that would pay for your damages or medical costs after a no-fault accident. That’s why it’s important to get full coverage car insurance instead of the bare minimum.
Another option, if you discover the identity of the driver, is to sue them in a civil action for your damages. However, this should be a last resort, as such lawsuits are costly, stressful, and time-consuming.
You may be wondering if a hit-and-run is an accident worth reporting to your insurance company. The truth is that your car insurance rates could rise even if the accident wasn’t your fault — unless you have an accident forgiveness policy or were able to file third-party claims with the at-fault driver’s provider.
But any time you make a first-party claim, there’s a chance your rates will go up. If the repairs cost less than your insurance deductible for collision coverage, it may make more sense to pay out of pocket.
We looked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System to see how many hit-and-runs occur in Oklahoma. Note that on a state-by-state basis, only data about fatal crashes is available; the state-specific data doesn’t include hit-and-runs with only property damage or nonfatal injuries.1
From 2011 to 2021, there were 272 fatal hit-and-runs in Oklahoma — an average of 25 per year. Of all fatal crashes during this time period, 4 percent were hit-and-runs. Over that time span, the number of fatal hit-and-runs increased by 72 percent, or an average year-over-year increase of 6 percent.
|Year||Fatal crashes involving hit-and-runs in Oklahoma|
In Oklahoma in 2021, the plurality of drivers (32 percent) involved in fatal hit-and-runs were driving under the influence (DUI), meaning they had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Less common causes were distraction and speeding.
|Driver involvement||Number of fatal hit-and-runs in 2021 in Oklahoma||Percentage of total|
|Alcohol impairment (BAC of 0.08% or higher)||10||32%|
Notably, the vast majority — 87 percent — of fatal hit-and-runs in Oklahoma in 2021 occurred at night. Darkness invites more anonymity, leading drivers to flee the scene with more confidence.
Of the drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in 2021 where their age was known, 29 percent were between the ages of 25 and 34, followed by 23 percent between the ages of 35 and 44. In fact, 71 percent of the drivers were aged 25 to 54, meaning that young and senior drivers were less likely to be involved in these accidents than many people might assume.
|Age group||Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Oklahoma in 2021||Percentage of total known drivers|
Of the fatal hit-and-runs in 2021 where the driver’s sex was known, 67 percent were male. Across all types of car crashes, male drivers are more likely to be involved, which is why men pay more for car insurance in most states, including Oklahoma.2
|Sex||Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Oklahoma in 2021||Percentage of total known drivers|
|Reported as unknown||18||n/a|
What happens to people convicted of hit-and-runs in Oklahoma? To find out, we looked into Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes — specifically, the Highway Safety Code.
If you cause injury, death, or damage to any vehicle, the law requires you to exchange the following information with the other driver:
Additionally, the law requires you to render reasonable assistance to any injured person involved in an accident, meaning get them medical help. And if the car crash resulted in a death, you must submit to drug and alcohol testing as soon as possible, after you’ve rendered aid.3
If you fail to do these things and are caught leaving the scene of an accident, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the consequences of the car crash.
|Penalty for failure to stop by consequence of crash||Property damage||Nonfatal injury||Death|
|Maximum imprisonment||1 year||10 days-2 years||1 year-10 years|
|Liability for damages||Amount equal to 3 times the value of damages, recoverable in a civil action||n/a||n/a|
|Restitution for damages||At judge’s discretion||n/a||n/a|
You’re also required to file a police report for any car accident that causes injury, property damage, or death worth over $500. For car crashes with death or injury, you must report the accident immediately, but you have up to six months to do so for crashes with property damage only. Failure to report is a misdemeanor and can lead to the following criminal penalties.
|Penalty by offense number||1||2 within 1 year of 1st||3rd or subsequent within 1 year of 1st|
|License suspension in days||30||30||30|
|Imprisonment maximum||10 days||20 days||6 months|
If someone hits your car and flees the scene, they’re guilty of a misdemeanor at best and a felony at worst. While you can’t control the actions of other drivers, you can still get compensated after a hit-and-run, even if you never find the perpetrator.
That’s why it’s critical to have full-coverage car insurance with uninsured motorist, collision, and medical payments coverage for medical bills. While filing a first-party claim may increase your rates, it’s usually worth it to get the compensation you’re entitled to.
You have to call the police after a minor car accident in Oklahoma if it resulted in injury, property damage, or death worth over $500. If it didn’t, you’re not required to call the police.
An accident stays on your driving record (motor vehicle report) in Oklahoma for three years, according to 47 Oklahoma Statutes § 6-117.
You have two years to sue someone after a car accident in Oklahoma, based on 12 Oklahoma Statutes § 12-95.
If you drive without a license and get into an accident in Oklahoma that causes great bodily injury or death, you may be convicted and face either a fine, imprisonment, or both.
|Penalty by accident consequence||Personal injury||Great bodily injury||Death|
|Maximum length of imprisonment in years||1||5||5|
Oklahoma Statutes § 47-11-905 defines “great bodily injury” as an injury that creates “a substantial risk of death” or “serious, permanent disfigurement or protected loss of impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
In addition, you will face penalties for driving without a license as defined in 47 Oklahoma Statutes § 47-6-303.
|Penalty of driving without license by offense number||1||2||3 and subsequent|
|Maximum length of imprisonment in years||1||1||1|
|Additional license suspension in years||1||1||1|
Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST). National Highway Traffic safety Administration. (2023).
Choosing your Automobile Insurance Policy. Oklahoma Insurance Department. (2023).
Oklahoma Statutes Citationized. Oklahoma State Courts Network. (2023).