Accidents happen every day, but when two cars recently collided in Charleston, the driver of one of the vehicles fled the scene. Officers who arrived shortly afterward pursued the vehicle and arrested the driver.
This recent incident illustrates a scenario that is all too common after car crashes. A hit and run accident occurs when people who are involved in an accident — which may involve pedestrians, another vehicle, or fixed objects — leave the scene without identifying themselves or attempting to assist anyone who may be injured. What many people don’t realize is that it doesn’t matter whether or not a person actually caused the accident, leaving the accident scene under any circumstance (except for quickly getting emergency assistance) may constitute a hit and run.
What happens after a hit and run?
Depending on the circumstances and applicable state laws, a hit and run may be considered a felony or misdemeanor offense. When there is an injury involved, the offense is more likely to be classified as a felony. Either way, a driver’s license is generally revoked or suspended for six months or longer. Also, if a person is found guilty of a hit and run, many insurance companies will cancel that individual’s insurance policy.
The person who caused the accident could also be liable for damages resulting from the crash, including personal injuries and property damage. Often, the amount awarded in damages is increased because of the reckless behavior involved in a hit-and-run accident. In short, it is easier for plaintiffs to demonstrate that the at-fault driver was reckless or negligent if that person attempted to leave the scene.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a hit and run accident in West Virginia, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney right away.