Yes, you must report a car accident to the police, if the accident resulted in the injury or death of another person or damage to another person’s property.
Virginia law imposes duties on drivers who are involved in an accident. If the accident results in injury or death to another person, the driver must pull over as close to the scene of the accident as is safe to do so without obstructing traffic. They must give their name, address, driver’s license number and vehicle registration number to the police and to the injured person, if the injured person appears capable of understanding. The driver must also render reasonable aid to the injured person, including driving them to the hospital, if necessary. Generally, in an accident involving injury or death, the driver must remain on the scene until the police tell them they can leave.
If a driver is unable to carry out these duties because of injuries they sustained in the accident, they must report the accident to the State Police or local police as soon as is reasonably possible.
The penalties can be harsh for those who are convicted of failing in these duties. A person who fails to report an accident to the police can face felony charges in a case involving injury, death or property damage totaling more than $1,000. Failure to report an accident involving property damage totaling less than $1,000 is treated as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Victims of hit-and-run drivers
The law is quite clear about all this, but still people sometimes flee the scene of an accident after they have injured someone else. These hit-and-run accidents can leave victims with serious injuries, enormous medical bills and other damages. If a negligent driver sticks around like they are supposed to after an accident, an injured person can hold them liable for their damages. Perhaps needless to say, it’s not easy to recover compensation from a negligent driver who fled the scene.
The good news here is that police take hit-and-run accident investigations seriously, and they do often track down drivers who have fled the scene of an accident. Also, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, your policy should help you with some of your damages.
Still, if a hit-and-run accident has hurt you or someone you love, it’s a good idea for you to learn more about your legal options by speaking with a knowledgeable attorney.