Virginia Hit and Run Accident Attorney

Being involved in an auto accident is a frightening and frustrating experience for anyone, but when the person responsible flees the scene, it creates a whole new set of problems.  Even if you don’t know who it was who struck you, calling a local accident attorney should be one of the first things that you do when you have been involved in an accident with a driver who has fled the scene. Getting in touch with a Virginia hit and run accident attorney can be a vital first step in building a case.

Hit and Run Defined

A hit and run accident is when someone is involved in an accident, and the other party fails to remain at the scene and exchange information. Broadly, someone may interpret a hit and run in a situation where it is impossible to identify the driver, and many times, a hit and run is about the failure to exchange information.

The code section requiring people to exchange information exists for this reason – so that individuals who have sustained personal injuries or property damage as the result of a motor vehicle accident can make sure that the other party’s insurance is notified and their own insurance is notified and the proper party gets involved. A Virginia hit and run accident attorney can also help the injured party reach out to their insurance company if they cannot do it themselves.

How a Hit and Run Differs from Other Car Accidents

In the simple context, a hit and run accident differs from other types of accidents because it is difficult to try to determine who is at fault and who should be notified of the damages that the person who is injured has suffered.In the context of a typical accident, two parties are involved, and their insurance companies are notified and liability is determined.

In the context of a hit and run accident, because it is difficult to determine liability and the identity of the wrongdoer,  it may be impossible to go after that other person’s insurance company for the damage that they have caused and in that context, a person may have UM or UIM coverage available to them from their own insurance company that protects them from this actual scenario.

Common Fact Patterns in a Hit and Run

There are a variety of common fact patterns surrounding a hit and run accident. The most common fact pattern is when two parties are involved in a fender bender and one party simply assessed the damage and pulled off without exchanging information. This is far more common than the more nefarious type of hit and run where someone strikes another vehicle, does not slow down, keeps on going, and tries to avoid detection.

In those instances, the person evading the scene is either under the influence of drugs or alcohol or are trying to evade law enforcement because they are involved in other criminal activities. There are a variety of circumstances in which hit and run accidents may occur. Hit and run accidents may involve private property. That is when someone strikes private property and keeps going and the property owner is left to try to determine who caused the damage to their property.

Important Steps a Person Should Take After Being Injured in a Hit and Run

If a person has been injured in a hit and run accident, the first thing the person should do is contact law enforcement, give them as much identifying information as possible so they can try to locate and bring the offending party to justice.

It is also important to determine whether or not a person needs emergency medical equipment. If the person does, contact the emergency medical provider as soon as possible in order to make sure that the person and their passengers are properly taken care of.

After the person has done these first two steps, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to discuss what their rights are, how to best notify their  insurance company, how to notify other companies that may be available and what timeline the person should readily expect for the investigation and the furtherance of a hit and run accident claim.

Recoverable Damages in a Hit and Run Case

In a hit and run case, all the types of normal damages that would be available if the driver is readily identified are typically available. This includes both general and special damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as a certain category of damages that may be available under unique circumstances; this is called punitive damages.

Punitive damages exist to punish the wrongdoer and depending on the facts and circumstances of the hit and run case, punitive damages may be available. If a person believes that punitive damages may be available or a person wants to discuss how this may impact their case, it is important to talk to an experienced car accident attorney who practices this regularly in the course throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

How a Lawyer Can Help

There are a variety of ways that a lawyer can help with a person who has been injured as a result of a hit and run accident. A Virginia hit and run accident attorney can do an investigation and cooperate with law enforcement and other entities to try and determine who the true at-fault party is, and how to locate and identify that party.

A lawyer can help the individual work with their own insurance company to determine what the most sound strategy is for notifying an at-fault party, and finding out who else may be at fault, and how they can be brought in. They can also work to determine what sort of underinsured, maybe uninsured motorist coverage, that is the UM or UIM coverage, that they may have available and how it can be triggered to best protect their interest.