Fleeing the scene of a car accident is illegal and victims can face stiff criminal penalties. However, the at-fault driver being fined or imprisoned does nothing to help you with medical bills and other damages.
Fortunately, victims of hit-and-run accidents may be able to obtain insurance compensation, particularly if the police are able to find the driver who fled. There are steps victims can take to possibly improve their chances of recovering compensation.
One of those steps is calling an experienced attorney to review the accident with you. At Geoff McDonald and Associates, the initial consultation is free. You are also not obligated to hire our firm if we validate your case.
Moments After a Hit-and-Run Crash
Victims of these accidents are often angry, and they should be. Someone else damaged your car and may have caused you to be physically injured. That person is also trying to avoid responsibility for it.
However, you may have just a few seconds to watch the driver flee. In those few seconds you can gather a lot of information to help the police locate this individual.
The license plate number is probably the most important piece of evidence. Identifying the make, model and color of the vehicle is also important, along with damage the car suffered in the crash with your vehicle.
Try to get a good look at the driver. Even from a distance you may be able to determine if the driver is a man or woman.
Write down what you see as quickly as possible, before you forget. You could also record a video where you say what you saw. It is easy to quickly forget important details you will need in your claim for compensation.
Why You Should Not Chase the Driver
Your car may still be safe to drive, and it may be tempting to chase down the driver who fled. However, there is no telling why the driver left the scene. It is possible he or she has a warrant out for his or her arrest. The driver may have just left the scene of a crime. The driver may also not have insurance and is hoping to escape financial responsibility for your injuries and damages.
No matter the reason, it can be dangerous to chase down a hit-and-run driver. You should leave that to the police.
Building a Case for Compensation
Your main priority after any car accident is receiving medical treatment. You should call 9-1-1 so first responders can come to the scene and begin providing treatment. Calling 9-1-1 will also send the police to the scene. You can provide the officer with the information you collected about the fleeing driver and his or her vehicle so the police can try to find him or her.
While you wait for the police to arrive, try to move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic into a safe location. If you are in pain, you may want to just stay in the car instead of getting out and moving around and possibly making your injuries worse.
If it is safe to get out of your car, look for witnesses. They may have gotten a good look at the driver. They may also have seen things that help show the other driver is at fault. Make sure to ask for contact information, that way your attorney can contact them later as he or she works to build a strong case.
Insurance Claims for Hit-and-Run Crashes
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your Richmond car accident lawyer may be able to file a claim against it, even if the police cannot find the other driver. Even if they do find the driver, it is possible he or she does not have insurance – being uninsured may be the reason the driver left you at the scene.
If the police locates the driver, and he or she has insurance, your lawyer may be able to file a claim against his or her liability coverage. This claim would proceed in much the same way claims over non-hit-and-run crashes would.
Virginia Law Prohibiting Leaving a Crash Scene
Virginia drivers have various obligations after an accident. Drivers must provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured in an accident, such as taking injured people to the hospital. Drivers must also stop as close to the scene as possible. They are also required to report injuries, contact information, driver’s license number and vehicle registration number to state police or local law enforcement.
Failing to uphold these obligations is against the law and could be considered a Class 5 felony, depending on the damages suffered in the crash.
Call Today to Find Out How We May Be Able to Help
There are many advantages to having legal representation as you pursue car accident compensation. It costs nothing to discuss these advantages with one of the licensed attorneys at our firm. If you have a valid case and hire our firm, we will not be paid unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Learn more about how we could assist you by calling us or completing a free case evaluation form to schedule your initial consultation. This meeting is also a chance to get answers to your questions about the legal process.