Victims of hit-and-run crashes in Virginia often face hard times for a number of reasons:
- The hit-and-run driver is usually in a position to leave the scene quickly, before anyone has had the time to react or take notice.
- Hit-and-run accidents often involve motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians and are, therefore, more likely to result in very serious injuries.
- Hit-and-run accidents raise insurance rates. If you recover anything from your insurer, you are likely to be penalized with higher premiums.
If the driver who allegedly caused the accident is found and confronted, he or she will face charges of leaving the scene of an accident and not reporting the accident, under code 46.2-894. Charges can also be filed against a passenger in the vehicle aged 16 or more who fails to report the accident to the police. If convicted, the driver or passenger will be guilty of a class 5 felony, which carries a punishment of no less than one year imprisonment or jail time.
The problem is that, if the driver who struck the victim has been found and convicted, it does not mean that he or she is at fault for causing the accident. The jury will consider the felony charges and focus on the time preceding the crash: Was the driver intoxicated? Did the driver run a red light? Or was he or she texting on a cell phone?
What are victims of Virginia hit-and-run accidents to do?
- Look at your insurance contracts: If you have collision coverage, you will be reimbursed for the material damage to your vehicle. If you have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, carefully read the fine print to see if a hit-and-run accident would be covered. Ask your insurance agent to clarify and find out what it would cost to include these risks if they are not included.
- Find the vehicle: Could anyone have seen the accident and noted the license plate of the vehicle? Did surveillance cameras record what happened? Ask the police for help and collect tips on the internet or from people who have been in the same situation. Advertising your search and contact data with "wanted" fliers and posters is another option. It is important to try to remember the type and color of the vehicle in order to facilitate the search.
- If the fleeing driver has been found: Contact an experienced and determined Virginia car accident lawyer who can support your claim and establish the defendant's liability.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Virginia hit-and-run accident, please contact our Warrenton or Culpeper accident attorneys today for a free discussion of your case. We will provide you with a clear view of if and how our lawyers can protect your rights.