Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in Charlottesville, VA
Virginia law requires any motorist in a car accident involving injuries or significant property damage to stop at the scene and notify the police. Unfortunately, some drivers flee from crashes rather than stop as they should. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, 5,741 drivers were involved in hit-and-run crashes statewide during a recent year. The victims of hit-and-run accidents may struggle to pay for their medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other losses.
If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by a hit-and-run driver in Charlottesville, Kendall Law Firm wants to help. Our Charlottesville hit-and-run accident lawyers have spent more than 30 years representing injured people. We are ready to help you demand the money you need for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Founding attorney David Kendall is a United States Marine Corps veteran. He brings the same instilled while serving his country to serving clients. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.
What Are Hit-and-Run Accidents
A hit-and-run accident is when a driver hits a car, pedestrian, or cyclist and flees the crash scene without exchanging information. If the hit-and-run driver is not located, the accident victim is left with limited options to recover compensation. Without the ability to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver, hit-and-run crash victims often find themselves in a difficult position financially.
Some common reasons why a driver might try to flee after a crash include:
- The driver is driving while impaired– A driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs may flee a crash because they are worried about being arrested by police and charged with DUI.
- The driver knows they were at fault– Another common reason a driver might flee the scene of an accident is that they know they were at fault and could be held liable for the consequences. This is especially true if their actions involved criminal violations, such as driving recklessly or driving while impaired.
- The driver is uninsured– Virginia drivers are required to carry auto insurance unless they pay a fee when registering their vehicle. Some drivers get behind the wheel even if they do not meet these requirements. If an uninsured driver is involved in a collision, they may flee to avoid being held accountable and having to pay for the injured party’s losses out-of-pocket.
- The driver’s license is expired– Drivers convicted of drunk driving or other traffic offenses may have had their license suspended. Driving with a suspended license carries stiff penalties in Virginia. That may lead an unlicensed driver to flee the scene of a crash rather than face the consequences.
- The driver is wanted for a crime– Traffic stops are one of the most common ways police find wanted individuals with outstanding warrants. A driver wanted by the police may think they are better off fleeing a crash scene rather than risk being identified.
Fleeing the scene of a crash involving an injury or death is a felony in Virginia. Fleeing from a collision that causes more than $1,000 in property damage also is a felony. Meanwhile, drivers who flee a crash involving less than $1,000 in property damage can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Criminal charges can factor into a hit-and-run personal injury case, but they are not a prerequisite for a successful lawsuit or insurance claim. If you find the driver who hit you and prove they are at fault for the crash, you can demand compensation for your injuries even if the driver is never charged with a crime.
Hit-and-Run Laws in Virginia
According to Section 46.2-894 of the Code of Virginia, all drivers involved in a crash resulting in injuries or death must stop as close to the crash scene as possible without blocking traffic. Once they have stopped, the drivers should exchange their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and vehicle registration numbers. Drivers should check to see if anyone is injured and summon emergency assistance if necessary.
What To Do If You’re a Victim of a Hit-and-Run
Here is what you need to do if you are involved in a crash and the other driver flees the scene:
- Do not chase after the other driver. You could cause another collision or worsen your injuries.
- Write down any identifying features of the driver and their vehicle.
- Call the authorities to report the crash. Do not leave the scene until the police arrive.
- Take photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the crash scene.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are not transported from the scene.
- Save your medical records and any receipts related to the crash.
- Speak to a lawyer before giving a recorded statement to an insurance company.
- Hire a hit-and-run accident attorney.
How To Recover Damages After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Virginia
There are two ways you can recover compensation after a Virginia hit-and-run accident. If you can find the driver who fled the scene, you can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you can show the driver was at fault for the accident, you can demand compensation for losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Damaged personal property
Even if you cannot find the hit-and-run driver, you may still have options for pursuing compensation. If your auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim against your own UM policy. In these circumstances, your own insurer acts in place of the hit-and-run driver’s insurance provider, providing you coverage up to the limits of your policy.
Contact Our Experienced Charlottesville Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers
The aftermath of a hit-and-run crash is frustrating. Kendall Law Firm can make your life easier by helping you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact our Charlottesville hit-and-run accident lawyers today for a free consultation.