The Driver and Passengers of a vehicle in Virginia have duties in the case of a vehicle accident. These duties are the duty to stop, to give certain information to the driver or any inured persons, and to report the accident to Police. This Duty to Report an Accident occurs for any accident in the state, not just on the streets and highways but on private property also. Failure to report the accident is a criminal offense that is either a misdemeanor or a felony. Additionally, any person who violates any of the laws about the duties to report can lose their Virginia driver’s license for up to six months.
Duties of Driver involved in an Accident in Virginia;Death, Injury or occupied vehicle. A driver’s duties in an accident are described in section 46.2-894 of the Code of Virginia (Duty of Driver to Stop, Etc., in event of accident involving injury or death or damage to attended property). The driver of a vehicle who is involved in an accident where injuries occur or there is another vehicle involved that is occupied has certain duties as required by Virginia Law:
- To immediately stop at the scene of the accident;
- To report his name, address, driver’s license number, and registration number to
- State Police or local law enforcement agency;
- The person struck or injured (if they can are able to understand and retain that information);
- Or the driver or other occupant of the vehicle collided with
- Or the custodian of the damaged property
- To render reasonable assistance to any injured person, including obtaining and transporting the injured person to medical treatment.
Violations of Section 46.2-894 of the Virginia Code are a Class 5 Felony (1 day to 10 years in prison) if anyone in the accident suffers an injury or death, or if the accident results in more than $1,000.00 of property damage. Violations are a Class 1 Misdemeanor (1 day to 12 months in jail) if there were no injuries and the accident resulted in less than $1,000 in property damage.
Persons who are unable to make a report because of injuries sustained in the accident are exempt from this statute.
Duties of Passenger involved in an Accident in Virginia; Death, Injury or occupied vehicle.A passenger’s duties are described in Section 46.2-895 of the Code of Virginia (Duty of certain persons accompanying driver to report accidents involving injury death or damage). In an accident where there are injuries or death or when another occupied car is involved, and the driver of the vehicle fails to stop at the scene of the accident, any passengers in the vehicle have a duty to report the accident to the State Police or local law enforcement, within 24 hours of the time of the accident.
Failure to comply with this statute is a Class 6 Felony (1 day to 5 years in prison) if the accident resulted in the death or injury of any person. If the accident involved only damage to property, a conviction is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (1 day to 12 months in jail).
Duty of Drivers in Accidents involving only Unattended Property. A driver’s duties if there is an accident involving unattended property, such as a parked car or a fence or pole, are described in section 46.2-896 of the Code of Virginia (Duties of Driver in event of Accident involving damage to Unattended Property), as follows:
- Shall make a reasonable effort to find the owner or custodian of the property and report to the owner his name, address, driver’s license number, and registration number;
- If the owner cannot be found, then the driver should leave a note or other sufficient information including identification of the driver and contact information in a conspicuous place at the scene of the accident AND the person shall report to accident in writing within 24 hours to State Police or local law enforcement.
A driver who is unable to comply with this statute because of injuries suffered in the accident is exempt from this statute. A conviction of violation of this statute is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (1 day to 12 months in Jail) if the damage to property is more than $250. If the damage is less than $250, conviction under this statute is a Class 4 Misdemeanor (fine up to $250).
Duty of Passengers to Report Accidents involving only Unattended Property. A passenger’s duties in the case where a driver fails to perform his duty to stop and leave a note are described in section 46.2-897 of the Code of Virginia (Duty of Certain Persons accompanying Driver to Report Accidents). A passenger who is over 16 years old and is aware of the accident and that the driver failed to stop after the accident to leave a note, has a duty to notify the State Police or local law enforcement of the accident and to include his name, address and any facts within his knowledge about the accident.
A conviction of violation of this statute is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (1 day to 12 months in Jail) if the damage to property is more than $250. If the damage is less than $250, conviction under this statute is a Class 4 Misdemeanor (fine up to $250).