A young boy wound up hospitalized with serious injuries after a driver struck him in Portsmouth, Virginia (VA), and then fled the scene. When police took the suspected hit-and-run driver into custody the following day, they discovered the woman was operating without a valid driver’s license.
According to news reports, the hit-and-run collision in the 200 block of Avondale Road happened shortly before 5 pm on April 3, 2022. Avondale runs through a residential neighborhood off Victory Boulevard. Neighbors told reporters drivers often speed down the road, but it is unclear whether speeding contributed to causing this pedestrian crash.
Officials did not share details of the injuries suffered by the 5-year-old crash victim beyond describing them as non-life-threatening. My Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I wish him a full and rapid recovery.
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As the investigation into the hit-and-run collision continued, police announced they believed they found the at-fault driver when they responded a different crash in Chesapeake on the afternoon of April 4. Charges for causing and leaving the scene of a crash that injured another person and for driving with a suspended or revoked license have been filed against a 31-year-old woman.
Hit-and Run Crashes Cause Legal Complications
Identifying, arresting and charging the suspected hit-and-run driver surely increases the possibility that someone will be held criminally culpable for badly injuring a child. The fact that the alleged hit-and-run driver does not hold a valid license, however, likely complicates efforts to file and collect on personal injury insurance claims.
An unlicensed driver is also likely to be uninsured. If that turns out to be true here, the family of the 5-year-old would need to seek compensation by filing claims under the uninsured motorist provisions of their own car insurance policies.
Pursuing uninsured motorist claims involves, essentially, suing one’s own insurance company. The insurer may dispute claims. The company might even go so far as try to have claims dismissed by, for example, arguing the injured person contributed to causing the accident.
Such a contributory negligence argument probably will not work in this Portsmouth case. A centuries-old legal principle holds that children younger than 7 years old cannot be held negligent in the way adults are.
Still, the family of the injured boy can expect to encounter some roadblocks while navigating the uninsured motorist claim process. Consulting with an experienced and caring plaintiff’s attorney will ease the journey.