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Car Accident-Leaving Scene

Car Accident-Leaving Scene

Brien Roche

Hit and run cases present tough problems not only in the Fairfax, Virginia area but everywhere.  If you are hit by a driver who then leaves the scene of the crash you need to ID that driver. This starts with identifying the auto. If you do not ID the driver then your claim is an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. This claim is made under the uninsured motorist coverage of your auto policy. Both the police and your insurer will attempt to ID the other driver. If they fail then your UM claim will proceed.

Car Accident-Leaving Scene – UM Coverage

As part of your auto coverage you should have UM coverage. It should be the same limits as the liability coverage.

This type of claim is submitted to your own insurer.  If a settlement cannot be reached with your own insurer then a lawsuit would have to be filed. In this suit the hit and run driver will be sued as John Doe. Your UM carrier will be served with a copy of the suit papers.  Your insurer has a right to contest the claim just as if the hit and run motorist were present. This creates an odd case of where your insurer is fighting your claim. In addition they defending the empty chair of the hit and run driver. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Car Accident-Leaving Scene – Not Always Admissible

Not all hit and run cases involve a UM claim. In many of these cases the driver is found. Virginia Code § 46.2-894 states that a driver has a duty to stop in the event of a crash involving injury, death or damage to property. If the damage is to a vehicle that is not attended then the driver shall make an effort to find the owner or custodian and report the damage. An auto is not attended if there is no person or owner nearby who is responsible for the auto.

Duty To Assist

If the owner or custodian cannot be found then the driver is required to leave a note or some other info. This should include driver ID and contact info in a conspicuous place at the scene. Also she must report the event in writing within 24 hours to the police. If for any reason the driver is not able to do these things because of injury then the driver must make the required report as soon as possible to the police. Also he must attempt to locate the owner or custodian of the car.

The driver is also required to render aid to any injured person. This may include taking that person to a doctor if it is apparent that treatment is needed.

This duty to report may apply not only to the driver but to every person 16 years of age or older who is in the vehicle at the time.

Car Accident-Leaving Scene – Can Be Powerful 

In most hit and run cases the plaintiff wants to present proof that the other driver left the scene . However that fact is not always relevant. There are several things that could make it relevant:

  • Fleeing itself can be an admission if the defendant denies fault.
  • The defendant’s departure from the scene and failing to render aid somehow made the plaintiff’s injuries worse.
  • Fleeing the scene was in conjunction with some prior activity leading up to the crash i.e., he was racing or fleeing from the police.
  • The defendant removed the vehicle from the scene and then altered the vehicle in order to refute the severity of the impact.
  • The defendant has lied about his involvement in the crash.  Brugh v. Jones, 265 Va. 136, 140 (2003)

In Doe v. Isaacs, 265 Va. 531, 540 (2003), a dissenting justice said that evidence of leaving the scene clearly was willful and wanton. Further it displayed a conscious disregard of the rights of others.  That justice went on to say that an award of punitive damages was appropriate in that case as a lesson to others to refrain from similar behavior.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also follow the link for more information on punitive damages See also the pages on Wikipedia for information on hit and run cases.

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Car Accident-Leaving Scene

Car Accident-Leaving Scene

Brien Roche

Hit and run cases present tough problems not only in the Fairfax, Virginia area but everywhere.  If you are hit by a driver who then leaves the scene of the crash you need to ID that driver. This starts with identifying the auto. If you do not ID the driver then your claim is an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. This claim is made under the uninsured motorist coverage of your auto policy. Both the police and your insurer will attempt to ID the other driver. If they fail then your UM claim will proceed.

Car Accident-Leaving Scene – UM Coverage

As part of your auto coverage you should have UM coverage. It should be the same limits as the liability coverage.

This type of claim is submitted to your own insurer.  If a settlement cannot be reached with your own insurer then a lawsuit would have to be filed. In this suit the hit and run driver will be sued as John Doe. Your UM carrier will be served with a copy of the suit papers.  Your insurer has a right to contest the claim just as if the hit and run motorist were present. This creates an odd case of where your insurer is fighting your claim. In addition they defending the empty chair of the hit and run driver. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Car Accident-Leaving Scene – Not Always Admissible

Not all hit and run cases involve a UM claim. In many of these cases the driver is found. Virginia Code § 46.2-894 states that a driver has a duty to stop in the event of a crash involving injury, death or damage to property. If the damage is to a vehicle that is not attended then the driver shall make an effort to find the owner or custodian and report the damage. An auto is not attended if there is no person or owner nearby who is responsible for the auto.

Duty To Assist

If the owner or custodian cannot be found then the driver is required to leave a note or some other info. This should include driver ID and contact info in a conspicuous place at the scene. Also she must report the event in writing within 24 hours to the police. If for any reason the driver is not able to do these things because of injury then the driver must make the required report as soon as possible to the police. Also he must attempt to locate the owner or custodian of the car.

The driver is also required to render aid to any injured person. This may include taking that person to a doctor if it is apparent that treatment is needed.

This duty to report may apply not only to the driver but to every person 16 years of age or older who is in the vehicle at the time.

Car Accident-Leaving Scene – Can Be Powerful 

In most hit and run cases the plaintiff wants to present proof that the other driver left the scene . However that fact is not always relevant. There are several things that could make it relevant:

  • Fleeing itself can be an admission if the defendant denies fault.
  • The defendant’s departure from the scene and failing to render aid somehow made the plaintiff’s injuries worse.
  • Fleeing the scene was in conjunction with some prior activity leading up to the crash i.e., he was racing or fleeing from the police.
  • The defendant removed the vehicle from the scene and then altered the vehicle in order to refute the severity of the impact.
  • The defendant has lied about his involvement in the crash.  Brugh v. Jones, 265 Va. 136, 140 (2003)

In Doe v. Isaacs, 265 Va. 531, 540 (2003), a dissenting justice said that evidence of leaving the scene clearly was willful and wanton. Further it displayed a conscious disregard of the rights of others.  That justice went on to say that an award of punitive damages was appropriate in that case as a lesson to others to refrain from similar behavior.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also follow the link for more information on punitive damages See also the pages on Wikipedia for information on hit and run cases.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

    Contact Us For A Free Consultation

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