Virginia Beach Hit-and-Run Accident Victim Receives $225,000 Uninsured Motorist Claim Settlement | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

What Happened

Our Virginia personal injury client suffered severe shoulder injuries when the vehicle in which she was riding was involved in a hit-and-run accident. She had just left her house with her husband in the predawn hours in order to spend the day hunting.

Neither our client nor her husband lost consciousness in the crash, and they observed the at-fault driver as he exited his car and before he fled the scene on foot. They described the man as “probably drunk.” Unfortunately, police never tracked down the hit-and-driver, so our client could not file insurance claims against him.

Repairing the damage to our client’s shoulder required two expensive surgeries, each of which was followed by a long and painful recovery.


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Key Legal Strategy

Our Virginia personal injury law firm’s investigators identified the owner of the car that was driven by the man who fled the scene of the head-on collision. That person claimed that a friend had borrowed the vehicle, and our investigators located that individual in a local jail serving time on an unrelated conviction.

Despite our best efforts, we could produce no definitive evidence that placed either the vehicle’s owner or the incarcerated man behind the wheel of the car at the time of the crash that injured our client. Further, the owner’s insurance company denied any legal duty to settle a claim for a driver who, although operating with the policyholder’s permission, did not have a valid driver’s license and may have been committing the crime of driving under the influence.

Unable to file a third-party injury claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy, we invoked the uninsured motorist coverage provision of the policy held by our client. Filing an uninsured motorist claim involves treating one’s own insurer as if it insured the person who hit and injured you. Predictably, our client’s insurance company looked for several reasons to deny and minimize the settlement on her claim.

Our client was smart enough to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, which was optional when this hit-an-run collision occurred. Virginia now requires every car insurance policy sold in the state to include this essential protection against negligent or reckless drivers who flee the scene of accidents. Thanks to her own foresight and our Virginia personal injury attorney’s skills in negotiating with insurance claims adjustors, the injured woman was able to receive a settlement totaling $225,000.

Court: Virginia Beach Circuit Court, Virginia Beach, VA

Staff: Staff attorney