A hit and run accident can be devastating. In Virginia, drivers cannot flee the scene of a car accident. Nonetheless, hit and run accidents continue to cause serious personal injuries in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 4,500 hit and run accidents happened in Virginia in 2017. Sadly, many of these hit and run accidents cause the death of the victim.
If you suffered injuries caused by a hit and run accident in Virginia, you might be entitled to compensation. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we have many clients throughout Virginia recover compensation after a hit and run accident. We will immediately investigate our clients’ cases thoroughly and develop the best legal strategy possible. Contact our Virginia personal injury law firm today to schedule your free consultation and learn how we can help you.
The Causes of Hit and Run Accidents in Virginia
In many cases, drivers who engage in a hit and run accident flee the scene because they are worried about not having insurance. Virginia has an extremely high rate of uninsured drivers compared to other states. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 10 percent of drivers in Virginia are uninsured.
Other times, the driver doesn’t want to engage with the police because he or she has no license, the driver stole the vehicle involved in the crash, or the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In some cases, the hit and run driver was simply afraid of the consequences of causing the car accident and didn’t want to get caught.
Understanding why the driver fled the scene of your car accident will be an important part of your personal injury lawsuit. You will need to prove that the driver was at fault for your car accident as well as all of the expenses caused by the accident. Our skilled lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation of your case to gather evidence that proves that the hit and run driver was at fault for your injuries.
Recovering Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident
You might be wondering what your legal options are after suffering an injury in a hit and run accident. Virginia allows victims of car accidents to file lawsuits to recover damages for their injuries. Virginia is one of only a few states that still follow the legal doctrine of pure contributory negligence.
Under this doctrine, if the injured plaintiff contributed to the accident in any way, the court might bar you from recovering damages. In other words, you will need to prove that the driver who hit your car was completely at fault for your accident. In some ways, hit and run car accidents are similar to other car accidents. However, when it comes to hit and run accidents, there are two possible ways to recover compensation.
Law Enforcement Identify the Hit and Run Driver
One of the most frustrating aspects of a hit and run lawsuit is that the victim doesn’t always discover the identity of the at-fault driver. In some cases, law enforcement officers can identify the at-fault driver in a hit and run accident. When law enforcement can identify the at-fault driver, you will be able to seek compensation from the driver in the same way as you would in any other car accident.
The first step to recovering compensation is to seek out payment through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, or the insurance company does not offer an adequate settlement amount, you might need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Another option is to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company.
The Hit and Run Driver Remains Unidentified
When law enforcement cannot identify the at-fault driver, you will likely need to seek compensation through your own uninsured motorist insurance policy. Filing a claim under this policy is often called a “John Doe” claim. You will need to file the claim through the carrier of your insurance policy.
What happens if you were walking or riding your bicycle when the hit and run accident happened? You might still be able to file an uninsured motorist claim through your insurance policy, depending on the conditions of your specific policy. Our experienced lawyers can help you review your insurance policy and the options available to you.
What to Do After a Fairfax County Hit and Run Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident with a hit and run driver, you likely feel helpless. You might wonder how you’ll recover compensation for your injuries when you can’t identify the person who is at fault. There are still steps that you can take to protect your claim for damages, however.
After making sure that you are safe and able to move, you should begin to gather as much information as possible while you are at the scene of the accident. Try to write down the license plate number, make, and model of the car that caused your accident. If that is not possible, try to take pictures of the vehicle on your phone. Next, call the police as soon as you can. Finally, record the contact information and names of all of the witnesses. You should also report the hit and run accident to your insurer as soon as possible. Make sure that you don’t unintentionally admit fault for the car accident.
Contact Our Fairfax County Hit and Run Accident Lawyers Today
At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we offer our clients our resources and experiences. We understand how difficult it is to think about filing a lawsuit when you are trying to recover from a devastating injury. We put the interests of our clients first and work diligently to investigate the accident. After a thorough investigation, we will advise our clients as to the best legal strategy moving forward. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.