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Hit and Run Cases

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Hit and Run Cases

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.

Hit and Run Cases Invoke 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 with your UM carrier being served with a copy of the suit papers.  Your insurer then has a right to defend John Doe. They have 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 and defending the empty chair of the hit and run driver. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Evidence of Hit and Run Is 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.

Leaving The Scene Can Be Powerful Proof

In a Virginia case the trial court refused to admit evidence that the defendant had abruptly left the scene. At trial the defendant admitted fault. The defendant also attempted to show that his auto had not been damaged in the crash and had not been repaired. The plaintiff contested that and said the auto had been damaged. In addition the plaintiff claimed it had been repaired to hide the damage. There was evidence presented that the defendant did work at a body shop. Leaving the scene was relevant in that case for the purpose of impeachment and further as to whether there had been damage to his auto. The plaintiff had photos of such damage. The failure of the trial court to admit this was error. That resulted in the case being reversed and returned to the trial court for a new trial.

In most hit and run cases the plaintiff wants to present proof that the other driver left the scene of the crash. However that fact is not always relevant. It’s not relevant where the other driver admits fault. As mentioned above, there are cases where leaving the scene of the crash can become relevant. However it should not be assumed that just because the driver has left the scene that therefore fault is proven. Nor should it be assumed that proof of flight can always be used at trial. Fleeing itself can be an admission. In other cases it may not be an admission and therefore may not always be relevant.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also find more information in our vehicle accident litigation section.See also the pages on Wikipedia for information on hit and run cases.

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Hit and Run Cases

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Hit and Run Cases

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.

Hit and Run Cases Invoke 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 with your UM carrier being served with a copy of the suit papers.  Your insurer then has a right to defend John Doe. They have 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 and defending the empty chair of the hit and run driver. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Evidence of Hit and Run Is 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.

Leaving The Scene Can Be Powerful Proof

In a Virginia case the trial court refused to admit evidence that the defendant had abruptly left the scene. At trial the defendant admitted fault. The defendant also attempted to show that his auto had not been damaged in the crash and had not been repaired. The plaintiff contested that and said the auto had been damaged. In addition the plaintiff claimed it had been repaired to hide the damage. There was evidence presented that the defendant did work at a body shop. Leaving the scene was relevant in that case for the purpose of impeachment and further as to whether there had been damage to his auto. The plaintiff had photos of such damage. The failure of the trial court to admit this was error. That resulted in the case being reversed and returned to the trial court for a new trial.

In most hit and run cases the plaintiff wants to present proof that the other driver left the scene of the crash. However that fact is not always relevant. It’s not relevant where the other driver admits fault. As mentioned above, there are cases where leaving the scene of the crash can become relevant. However it should not be assumed that just because the driver has left the scene that therefore fault is proven. Nor should it be assumed that proof of flight can always be used at trial. Fleeing itself can be an admission. In other cases it may not be an admission and therefore may not always be relevant.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also find more information in our vehicle accident litigation section.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