What Are My Rights as a Hit-and-Run Victim?
Hit-and-run accidents are some of the most common tragedies on the streets of Virginia. Unfortunately, many at-fault drivers flee the scene to try to avoid liability instead of sticking around to face the consequences of their actions. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run in Virginia, you may wonder who will pay for your damages if you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver. Learn your rights with help from a Richmond car accident attorney.
Virginia Fault Laws
However, if you add personal injury protection to your policy, this will cover your losses as a hit-and-run victim even if you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver. Your own insurer will offer compensation for your medical bills and property repairs up to your policy’s maximum. Personal injury protection is a form of uninsured/under-insured motorist insurance that can help you recover the costs of damages after a hit-and-run crash in Virginia.
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Filing an Insurance Claim
The only mandatory car insurance in Virginia is bodily injury/death ($25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident) and property damage ($20,000). If you only purchase the bare minimum coverage in Virginia, you may not be able to seek compensation from your insurance company after a hit-and-run accident. Your insurance policy will not contain any type of coverage to repay you for damages if you do not know the name of the at-fault party.
However, if you add personal injury protection to your policy, this will cover your losses even if you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver. Your own insurer will offer compensation for your medical bills and property repairs up to your policy’s maximum. Personal injury protection is a form of uninsured/under-insured motorist insurance that can help you recover the costs of damages after a hit-and-run crash in Virginia.
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A Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you do not have the proper type of insurance to cover your losses after a hit-and-run, or if an insurance company is not offering enough compensation, you may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit instead. A lawsuit could end in greater compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. If you know the identity of the at-fault driver, file a claim against him or her to demand better compensation. If the hit-and-run driver remains at large, discuss your option of naming another defendant in your lawsuit instead.
- A third-party driver
- An automaker or part manufacturer
- A negligent mechanic
- A property owner
- The city
- A construction company
- A taxi or rideshare company
- A trucking company
- An employer
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So can you sue a hit-and-run driver in Virginia?
Many different parties may have played a role in your auto accident. Hire an attorney to thoroughly investigate the crash and review all available evidence and information. A lawyer can conclude whether someone other than the hit-and-run driver contributed to your car accident. Then, a lawyer can assist you in bringing a personal injury lawsuit against that party (or parties) for full compensation for your losses.
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Another one of your rights as a victim of a hit-and-run in Virginia is to cooperate in a criminal case against the driver. If the police determine the identity of the at-fault driver, you could help prosecutors convict the driver of a hit-and-run. This crime comes with penalties such as expensive fines and even time behind bars in Virginia. Holding the at-fault driver accountable for his or her crimes could give you peace of mind after a car accident. It could also result in the courts ordering the driver to pay you restitution. Finally, a criminal conviction could help your civil case against the driver. Contact a hit-and-run attorney after your accident for further counsel.
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