Being hit by another driver is a deeply frustrating experience under any circumstances. But when that driver flees the crash scene without exchanging information, that frustration can lead to anger. After all, they are attempting to avoid their legal responsibilities and leave you with the bill. How can you pursue the money you need for your injuries and property damage if you don’t know how to find the responsible party?
The West Virginia hit-and-run lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC can help regardless of whether the driver who hit you is found. We’re ready to evaluate your legal options and demand the money you need for medical bills and other expenses. Our firm started out defending insurance companies before we decided that we could better help the people of the Mountaineer State by focusing on personal injury law. Now, we apply the knowledge and experience we gained working for the insurance companies against them to get our clients the money and accountability they deserve.
What Is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident in WV?
West Virginia hit-and-run laws state that any driver involved in a collision where a car is damaged, or a person suffers bodily injury, must stop their vehicle as close to the scene of the crash as possible and stay there until they have exchanged certain information with the other driver. Failing to meet these requirements is a misdemeanor.
The West Virginia Code spells out what information drivers are required to exchange:
- Their name
- Their telephone number
- The year, make, model, and last four digits of the VIN of the car they were driving when the crash occurred
- Insurance information
The law also requires drivers to provide medical assistance if possible or arrange for emergency medical personnel to come to the crash scene.
There is also a specific state law concerning accidents involving unattended vehicles. Any driver who hits an unattended vehicle must immediately stop and try to locate the owner or operator of the unattended vehicle. If the unattended vehicle’s owner cannot be found, the other driver must leave their name and address in a written notice left in a “conspicuous place” on the vehicle.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in West Virginia
The steps you take in the moments after a hit-and-run accident can have a major effect on the outcome of your case. If possible, you should:
- Try to identify the other driver and their vehicle — If possible, use your phone to take pictures of the vehicle and its license plate, so you can pass the information on to the police.
- Do not chase after the other driver — You may end up causing additional damage to your vehicle or become involved in another crash if you try to pursue the other vehicle. As frustrating as it is to see the other driver flee the scene, you need to focus on your safety and the safety of those around you.
- Call 911 to report the accident — Stay at the scene until police arrive, and then tell them what happened. If you have any information on the other driver’s identity, give it to the responding officer.
- Document the accident scene — Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the spot where the accident occurred, and any injuries you sustained as a result. Insurance companies often need proof of a hit-and-run crash before they will pay out a claim, so you need as much evidence as possible before you contact them.
- Seek medical treatment right away — Even if you feel fine now, you may have injuries you’re not aware of yet. Delaying medical treatment could give these injuries time to worsen and make it more difficult to recover compensation for your injuries.
- Hire an auto accident attorney — Before you speak to the insurance company, talk to a lawyer to review your legal options. You should let your lawyer handle all communication with the insurance company, so you do not accidentally do anything to hurt your case.
Types of Compensation Available for West Virginia Hit-and-Run Claims
Your options for pursuing compensation will likely depend on one main factor: whether the driver who hit you can be found.
If the police can find the other driver, you can file a standard auto accident claim with their insurance provider for losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lower quality of life
- Damaged personal property
If the other driver is not found, you may still have some options. The easiest way is to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance provider should treat the incident the same as if an uninsured driver hit you.
However, uninsured motorist coverage generally does not allow you to recover compensation for losses such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. The minimum uninsured motorist coverage required by law also may not be enough to cover all your losses.
If the other driver is not found and your uninsured motorist coverage is not enough to cover your losses, you may be able to turn to additional policies for further coverage. For example, health insurance through your employer or the insurance marketplace may cover your medical expenses. An auto accident attorney can review your insurance policies with you and find the best way to cover your losses after an accident if the other driver cannot be found.
Why Hire Our West Virginia Car Accident Attorneys for Your Case?
Our West Virginia personal injury law firm founder, Jeff Robinette, used to defend insurance companies against claims from car accident victims. We know how they think and how they might try to get you to settle for less money than you deserve. We can aggressively pursue full compensation for all your injuries and use the latest technology and legal tools to help you make your case.
But more than the experience and resources we can bring to your case, we will always treat you with the respect and care you deserve. This personal, dedicated approach sets us apart from other personal injury firms. You will see that difference when you meet with our car accident attorneys.
Contact Our Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers in West Virginia Now
Have you been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who fled the scene? Then don’t wait another moment to contact our West Virginia hit-and-run accident lawyers for a free consultation.