Did a distracted, intoxicated, or otherwise negligent motorist crash into you and flee the scene? If you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident in Virginia, don’t despair. The experienced Virginia car accident attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO could help you get the full and fair compensation you’re owed for a crash that was not your fault. Don’t wait until it is too late to take legal action. Get a hit-and-run attorney on your side right away.
The team at CHASENBOSCOLO has represented thousands of Virginia accident victims for decades, and we’re proud to offer free, 24/7 consultations and a No Fee Guarantee® to all our clients. Call us today at (703) 538-1138 to find out how we can help you.
The Responsibilities of Virginia Drivers Involved in Car Accidents
According to the Code of Virginia, drivers must stop and remain nearby when involved in an accident that results in injury, death, or damage to the property of anyone there at the time. Drivers must also provide their identifying information to local law enforcement or those affected by the crash, and are expected to give “reasonable assistance” to anyone who may be injured.
If a driver injures themselves in such an accident to the point that they are unable to contact other affected parties, they are still expected to report to law enforcement authorities and contact victims once they recover. Drivers who hit and damage unattended property must also show a reasonable effort to track down owners or leave behind contact information.
Drivers, and sometimes passengers, who fail to follow this code by fleeing the scene of an accident without identification can be charged with hit and run violations. The outcomes of hit and run convictions can range from misdemeanor charges, fines, and license suspensions to felony charges and possible jail time. Deciding factors may include whether anyone was present during the hit and run, the amount of damage caused by the crash, and whether anyone was injured or killed by the crash.
Why Drivers Flee the Scene
It’s hard for anyone to admit to their mistakes, and when those blunders cause as much damage as a vehicle collision, fessing up can be especially intimidating. Even otherwise responsible drivers may flee the scene of an accident when:
- They’re driving without a proper license
- They’re in the country without proper documentation
- They’re driving without an auto insurance policy
- They’re worried about their insurance premiums going up
- They’re worried about being charged with other traffic violations
- They have unrelated, outstanding criminal charges
- They want to avoid police officers for any reason
- They experience panic and don’t know what to do
- They believe the accident is too minor to report
- They don’t see what happens because of rain, haze, or darkness
- They’re intoxicated and want to avoid DWI charges
- They’re too intoxicated to notice the accident occurred
Injuries Caused by Hit and Run Accidents
Individuals who sustain injuries from hit and run crashes may be left with:
- Concussions or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Broken or fractured bones
- Fractured or broken ribs
- Back and neck injuries
- Whiplash or chronic pain
- Internal organ injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or total paralysis
- Internal bleeding
- Scarred or disfigured features
- Anxiety, depression, or PTSD
Compensation for Your Hit and Run Claim
While some hit and run accident victims may have only minor property damage or injuries to deal with, others aren’t so lucky. No matter how big or small the destruction left behind, anyone who suffers losses in a hit and run deserves justice and the chance to be made whole. Hit and run accident claims can pursue damages for a variety of related costs, including:
- Medical bills for the treatment of injuries
- Costs of rehabilitation, therapy, or personal care
- Travel costs associated with medical visits
- Loss of current income streams
- Loss of potential future earnings
- Mental or emotional suffering
- Permanent physical or cognitive disabilities
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss in overall quality of life
Hit and Run Accident Statistics in Virginia and the U.S.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are quite common in Virginia and across the United States. Below are some recent statistics regarding these types of accidents:
- Throughout the US in 2015, 7% of all car crashes were hit and runs. Also, 5.9% of all injuries and 5.1% of all deaths caused by vehicle collisions that year involved a hit and run.
- The Department of Motor Vehicles released data in 2017 showing that car accidents occur in Virginia roughly once every 4 minutes.
- Approximately one out of every 25 licensed drivers in the Commonwealth of Virginia is involved in a crash each year.
- In 2016, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported 32 hit and run accidents in Virginia that caused one or more fatalities.
- There were twice as many Virginia hit and run accident fatalities in 2016 as there were in 2013 when 16 of these crashes resulted in death.
Frequently Asked Questions
Being the victim of a hit and run accident may feel shocking and leave you wondering where to turn. The answers to some of our most frequently asked questions may help:
Who is at fault in a hit and run accident?
If another driver collided with your car on the road or caused damage to your property without leaving behind their information, you might assume they will always be entirely at fault. Although any driver who flees the scene is liable to be charged with a hit and run violation if caught, determining who is held responsible for damages in these events is sometimes less clear-cut. For example, if another car crashes into you on the highway, forces your car to swerve into a third vehicle, and then drives off, you may still be found partially at fault. Even though the first driver caused the initial accident and fled, insurance companies can still hold you responsible for failing to maintain control of your vehicle in the resulting collision.
Who pays for injuries and property damage caused by a hit and run?
In short, it depends. Unless the hit and run driver is caught and forced to reckon with the destruction they caused, you and other parties affected by the accident will likely need to look to your own insurance provider(s) for detailed answers. The unique terms of your individual insurance policy may or may not provide compensation for the fallout of a hit and run.
Auto insurance policies that offer personal injury coverage, collision coverage, or uninsured motorist coverage may compensate you for injuries or property damage left behind by a hit and run driver. However, not all policies offer this kind of coverage, so it’s important to check before filing any claims with your provider. Even when insurance companies do agree to cover certain damages, you may still have to pay your deductible or get stuck with higher monthly premiums as a result. In these cases, paying out of pocket can actually be less expensive for you in the long run.
How much time do I have to file a hit and run lawsuit?
Each state in the U.S. establishes something called a statute of limitations, which outlines a time limit for bringing certain criminal charges to court. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for most cases is two years from the date of an accident. This means that the moment your crash occurred, the clock began ticking.
If you try filing a lawsuit after the time limit provided by a statute of limitations has expired, you’re unlikely to have luck with your case. The party you’re attempting to sue can request for the case to be dismissed since your legal deadline has passed. This is why it’s so important to know your state’s time limit and act accordingly.
If I’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, should I contact a lawyer?
Having an experienced car accident attorney in your corner makes a big difference. A lawyer speaking on your behalf can give you more leverage when negotiating settlements and make sure you don’t incriminate yourself or accept any misdirected blame.
Lawyers also have the skills and resources to gather any evidence that might support your claim or help locate the hit and run driver. If you’re recovering from injuries, an attorney will make sure you keep up with any important communications or deadlines related to your case. Finally, if you do have to take your case to trial, a skilled lawyer will fight to protect your rights and seek the compensation you’re rightfully owed.
Contact CHASENBOSCOLO Today
If you or a loved one was hurt in a hit and run accident, CHASENBOSCOLO can help you take control of your situation and start rebuilding your life. We’re proud to have served thousands of Virginia car accident victims just like you, and we want to help you get the answers, justice, and compensation you deserve. Give us a call today at (703) 538-1138, or reach out to us via live chat or email for a free, no-obligation consultation.