Hit and Run Drivers Face Civil as well as Criminal Charges

Car accidents are sometimes understandable mistakes or are simply unavoidable.  Sometimes they are caused by negligence like substance abuse or driving which has been distracted by electronics.  But as soon as drivers flee the scene in order to avoid responsibility, no matter the cause of the accident, it becomes a crime.  In these cases, families often file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against hit-and-run drivers in addition to criminal charges they are facing which may be up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Drivers often flee the scene of a pedestrian collision due to fear of prosecution, fear of being found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances, or fear of having been found to have been driving without liability insurance, as are one in every seven drivers on the road today.

We need to send a message to hit-and-run drivers in West Virginia which is:  You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted, so don’t make matters worse for yourself or anyone else involved.

Beverly, WV:  Hit and Run on Highway Route 219

A good example of this involves the West Virginia State Police in Elkins who are investigating a hit and run that happened on Rt. 219 outside of Beverly around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 29th, 2013.  State Police have located and arrested the driver and charged him with DUI causing personal injury, leaving the scene of an accident, possession of a controlled substance, and possessing marijuana.

State Police said the perpetrator of this hit and run was driving north on Rt. 219 outside of Beverly and struck a young man who was walking on the shoulder with another person. Troopers said the driver  was answering his cell phone while driving around a turn when he traveled off of the roadway and struck the pedestrian who is now in critical condition. The second pedestrian was not injured.  At the time of this post, the pedestrian remains in critical condition at Ruby Hospital, and the hit and run driver is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

What Can A Victim Do In Such Cases?

This collision exemplifies all that can go wrong when irresponsible persons are behind the wheel of a vehicle —  driving under the influence, losing control of the vehicle and leaving the victim on the side of the road.   Thankfully, there was a witness who was able to communicate the identity of the perpetrator to the police.    But what about the victim’s rights of recovery against the perpetrator?   What can be done to make him responsible for the damages he has caused?   Unfortunately, in many cases, there is little that can be done.   If the perpetrator has insurance, it is often in the minimum limits required by law: $20,000.   One day in the hospital would absorb that amount.   More often, though, the perpetrator doesn’t have automobile insurance and has no assets.   A judgment against such an individual would likely be difficult if not impossible to collect.  Besides, he is likely to be spending some time behind bars for his illegal behavior.   These types of situations illustrate the need for responsible drivers to have sufficient underinsured motorist vehicle coverage and medical payments coverage on their own policies.

Elkins WV Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Every year in communities throughout West Virginia, hundreds of innocent adults and children are injured or killed while walking on a sidewalk or pedestrian crossing, or riding their bikes legally on our streets. When a car or truck hits a pedestrian, there is usually no question about who is going to suffer.

Going up against an insurance company to fight for full and fair money damages for your injuries or financial losses is no easy task. Insurance companies often devote substantial financial resources trying to beat you down and frustrate you until you accept their low settlement offer.

The  Robinette Legal Group puts you on an even playing field.  Jeff Robinette is a former insurance defense lawyer who understands the strategies and tactics insurance companies use to limit their liability and avoid paying you what your claim is worth.

Our firm has experience representing clients in all types of pedestrian accident injury and wrongful death claims, including:

  • Intersection and crosswalk injuries
  • Parking lot injuries
  • Hit and run and uninsured motorist accidents

Contact our offices in Morgantown to schedule a free consultation about your pedestrian accident injury claim. We represent clients injured in communities throughout West Virginia.

Related article on Erin’s Law in WV stiffening penalties for hit and run drivers.

If you have questions, call 304-594-1800 or 304-216-6695 today.

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Source:  WBOY: “1 Arrested, 1 Hospitalized at Ruby Memorial Hospital Following Rt. 219 Hit and Run.”  December 3, 2013.

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