A driver fatally struck a pedestrian early on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day 2018 and fled the scene. Local police tracked down and arrested the hit-and-run driver that afternoon, but the deadly crash illustrates the dangers people walking by the side of highways face from uninsured motorists.
The hit-and-run collision happened in the Short Pump area of Henrico County, Virginia (VA). Witnesses called authorities to the scene on Gaskins Road near I-64, and they found the 29-year-old female pedestrian unresponsive and laying in the roadway. She died at the scene, but witnesses were able to provide a good description of the fleeing driver’s vehicle.
The car involved in the deadly wreck just northwest of Richmond was located at an apartment complex close to the site of the crash. Preliminary charges for felony hit and run and driving with a suspended license have been filed.
The first charge comes under section 46.2-894 of the Virginia Code, which makes it a crime to drive off after a crash without speaking with police and, when able, providing first aid to injured individuals. Fleeing the scene after inflicting fatal injuries elevates the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.
As my Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I note elsewhere on our website, “common reasons why drivers flee is that they were driving on a suspended license, registration, or without insurance.” Hit-and-run drivers, by definition, want to avoid the consequences of the crashes they cause. That can mean trying to avoid arrest, or simply not wanting to pay compensation and damages to their victims.
A driver who has or her license suspended will often lose their car insurance or let it lapse. Virginia also allows individuals to drive without insurance as long as they pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee each year. These two factors leave roughly 10 percent of Virginia drivers lacking the insurance necessary to cover the harm they inflict when they collide with another vehicle or pedestrian.
Victims of uninsured motorists can file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the at-fault drivers. The victims should also be able to file claims under the uninsured motorist provisions of their own car insurance policies. With such claims, the company that covers the victim pays claims as if they were the insurer for the at-fault driver. The process of having claims investigated and challenged is often just as contentious, however, so working with an experienced plaintiff’s attorney can help.