Most people coping with the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision expect to file an insurance claim. Every driver in West Virginia should have a license and proof of registration for their vehicle, as well as liability insurance coverage. However, you won’t be able to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy if you can’t identify or locate them after a collision.
Although West Virginia law clearly requires that drivers stop after a crash that causes property damage or injury, some people will speed off after causing a crash. Perhaps they do not have insurance at the moment, or maybe they have a suspended driver’s license. They could be under the influence, which is why they don’t want to interact with law enforcement officers after causing a crash.
What rights do you have after someone hits you and then drives off in West Virginia?
You have the right to law enforcement support
You should be able to call and file a police report after a hit-and-run collision, even if the only consequence is minor property damage to your vehicle. Although police officers may not make searching for a hit-and-run driver their top priority, they can collect information about the scene of the crash, secure local traffic camera video and even interview witnesses to try to find information about the other vehicle.
If you are fortunate and the police can locate the other driver, then you may be in a position to make a claim against their insurance, if they have it. You could potentially also take the other driver to civil court.
What if you never locate the person to blame for the crash?
Hit-and-run collisions often go unsolved. The police never identify the other driver, so the person hurt or coping with property damage expenses won’t be able to file a claim against the insurance coverage of the driver who hurt them.
You won’t have very many options in that scenario unless you proactively protect yourself. If you already have uninsured motorist protection or collision coverage on your insurance policy, you can make a claim even though you are not at fault for the wreck. If you decide to install a dashboard camera in your vehicle, you would have a much easier time identifying and locating the other vehicle involved in the crash, which might expand your options for compensation.
Knowing what laws and programs protect you after a hit-and-run crash can help you avoid lasting financial losses caused by someone else’s poor choices.