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Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Virginia – It’s a Crime

My hometown motivates me to work hard for my client and get results.- John Cooper

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Virginia – It’s a Crime

Getting into a motor vehicle accident is always stressful and confusing. To add fuel to the fire, sometimes drivers do not stay at the scene of the accident. As a personal injury attorney in Hampton Roads, I have seen many accident scenes made more complicated by the fleeing of the at-fault party. Leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia is not only reprehensible – it’s a crime.

Virginia’s “hit and run” laws are found in Virginia Code § 46.2-894. This code section sets out the duties of both drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in wrecks, and the penalties for those who do not comply with these required duties.

Leaving the scene of an accident carries serious penalties

Leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia is an offense

If you are the driver of a vehicle who hits another vehicle that is occupied, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia can be severe. The law imposes a duty on the driver to stop at the scene of the accident, exchange information with the driver of the other vehicle(s) involved, and offer assistance to any person that was injured as a result of the accident.

The level of punishment prescribed by the statute to someone who leaves the scene depends on.

  1. Whether any injuries resulted from the accident;
  1. Whether the other vehicle was attended or unattended
  1. The amount of property damage inflicted to the vehicle.

For instance, if the wreck results in injury or death, the offense is a Class 5 Felony – punishable by “a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years.

The Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Virginia

At the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement the crime can lead to jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both” according to Virginia Code § 18.2-10(e). If the vehicle is unattended and the property damage is relatively minor (less than $250), the offense is classified as a Class 4 Misdemeanor.

To further complicate matters, if the driver flees the scene and is not apprehended, how then can you make an insurance claim to get compensated for your injuries? The answer is that in situations where you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or someone without auto insurance, your own uninsured motorist coverage should protect you.

If you have been injured in an accident and the driver does not stop at the scene, you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to navigate the complicated waters of an uninsured motorist claim. Contact Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757-455-0077 for a free consultation.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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