A Guide to Virginia’s Hit-and-Run Laws
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Virginia, you may be wondering how you will be able to obtain compensation. The stress of knowing that you may not be able to hold the at-fault driver accountable because they left the accident scene is difficult enough. Additionally, your car insurance premiums will typically increase if you have to file a claim for underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage with your insurance policy. We will discuss Virginia’s hit-and-run laws and how you may be able to obtain compensation after being injured in one below.
The Definition of a Hit-and-Run in Virginia
A hit-and-run accident is any accident in which the person who caused the accident, also called the at-fault driver, flees the accident scene. In 2019, there were 238,000 moving violations in Virginia. Among these, 2% of the total were ruled to be hit-and-run accidents. Alcohol plays a role in hit-and-run accidents. Nearly 5% of the hit-and-run accidents every year are committed by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Virginia’s Hit-and-Run Laws
Under Virginia law, a driver involved in a car accident in which someone becomes injured or property damage must stop at the accident scene. When drivers do not stop, they can be charged with a hit-and-run. Not stopping at the accident scene can carry serious penalties, including being charged with a misdemeanor if the damage to the property is under $1,000. When a car accident involves a serious injury, death, or property damage over $1,000, the hit-and-run is considered a class 5 felony. Class 5 felonies in Virginia carry a penalty of jail time for up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
After a hit-and-run accident, it is important that you call 911 and ask a police officer to come to the scene. Be sure to request medical services if anyone has been injured. Allow the medical professionals to evaluate you and determine whether you need to go to the hospital. If you do not need to go to the hospital, we recommend undergoing a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible from your doctor. You will need to document all of your injuries and keep those documents to use in your claim. Proving that the car accident caused your injuries will be important.
Discuss the accident with the police officer and tell the officer any details you remember about the at-fault driver and his or her vehicle. Having a police report will be helpful when you file an insurance claim. The police will interview Witnesses and try to gather important information related to the accident. If you can safely do so, take your photos and gather evidence of the vehicle and the surrounding area. These photos could help later after you file an insurance claim. Write down details you remember about the accident, including the time of day, weather and road conditions, and a detailed description of any damage.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
We recommend contacting Straw Law Firm as soon as possible after the hit-and-run accident. Sometimes people assume that the police will do everything possible to find the at-fault driver. However, police departments are busy, and they may not put enough time and effort into finding the driver who caused your injuries. One of our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you search for the driver who caused your injuries. We have the resources and skills necessary to conduct a thorough search.
What if I Cannot Find the Hit-and-Run Driver?
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to locate the at-fault driver, even after a thorough search. In these circumstances, the victim’s only option may be to file a claim for uninsured motorist coverage with his or her own insurance company. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional, but many drivers do carry it. Uninsured motorist coverage will cover the medical expenses and property damage you have experienced in the accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In Virginia, every car insurance company that provides motor vehicle liability coverage must offer customers uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in addition to regular liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is often necessary after a hit-and-run accident in Virginia. The driver who is the victim of a hit-and-run accident is typically responsible for paying the first $200 in property damage before the uninsured motorist coverage goes into effect.
The limits and exact coverage associated with your uninsured motorist policy depend on the terms of your policy. Sometimes people assume that since they are filing a claim with their own insurer, recovering the compensation they need will be straightforward. Unfortunately, dealing with any insurance company, even if it is your own, can be challenging. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they will try any technique possible to avoid paying out fair settlements.
At Straw Law Firm, we will carefully review your insurance policy and advocate strongly for you to obtain the compensation you need. We have decades of experience in negotiating aggressively with insurance companies. Our lawyers know all of the tactics they used to avoid paying claims in a fair manner, and we will hold them accountable in your case. Our legal team will manage every aspect of your case so you can focus on your recovery.
Contact a Lynchburg Hit-and-Run Injury Lawyer Today
Being injured in a hit-and-run accident can be devastating and extremely frustrating. If you or your loved one have suffered a serious injury and a hit-and-run accident in Lynchburg, Straw Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
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