What to Do After a Hit and Run
Car accidents happen all the time on the busy highways and streets of Los Angeles. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were 2,049 deaths linked to hit and run accidents in 2016 – the highest number since 2009. On average, there are 682,000 hit and run accidents every year (since 2006) in the United States, and 65 percent of people killed in these tragic accidents were pedestrians or bicyclists.
If you’re the victim of a hit and run accident who suffered an injury and possibly even property damage, you’re likely experiencing immense distress. However, you’ll be better off if you remain as calm as possible and collect as many details as you can regarding the incident.
The more information you have about the accident, the higher the likelihood of law enforcement officers catching the driver who injured you. Having such information will enable our hit and run attorneys to seek the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and property damage. If possible, you should always try to gather the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle that hit you or your vehicle.
Plus, you should try to find out if there were any witnesses to the incident and request their contact information to testify on your behalf. Prior to leaving the scene of the accident, you should also try to collect the following information to the best of your ability, including the time and location of the incident; photos of the scene; and if property damage occurred, take pictures of your vehicle and all property that was damaged.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
Hit and run accidents occur when at least one person involved in the accident intentionally leaves the scene without exchanging information or aiding the other people involved. Furthermore, if you flee the scene of an accident without reporting it, you may face criminal charges in the state of California. Please keep in mind that a driver can be charged with a hit and run even if it was not their fault.
California Vehicle Code & Hit and Runs
Vehicle Code 20001 VC is the California law regulating how hit and run accidents with injury are prosecuted. Under this statute, it’s illegal for a person to flee the scene of an accident when another person(s) is injured or killed. More on this later, but a misdemeanor charge can only be filed if the accident resulted in property damage, but no bodily injuries. However, if the accident causes injuries or death, the responsible party can be charged with a felony hit and run under this piece of legislature.
What Injuries Are Most Common for Hit and Run Victims?
Many types of injuries can occur during vehicle collisions. Because of the unexpected nature of a hit and run accident, sometimes there is a delay before receiving medical assistance. The victim’s injuries are often severe.
Our attorneys demand full compensation for expenses caused by injuries that include:
- Injury to the spine
- Broken or fractured bones.
- Damage to internal organs
- Paraplegia and/or quadriplegia
- Head injuries
- Loss of limb or amputation
- Internal organ damage
To moderate the effects of the pain and suffering endured by our clients that were victims in a hit and run accident, all negotiations with insurance companies and counsel for the negligent parties are entirely managed by our experienced accident attorneys. The hit and run accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm understand the legal terms, technicalities, and nature of compensation claims and reimbursement, which ensures the best interests of our client’s needs.
Our legal counselors are available to travel to your home or hospital to discuss your legal options and answer any questions you may have in the negotiation process, with you comfortably resting and focusing on the recovery of your health. If you suffered a catastrophic injury or otherwise suffered following an accident, please contact our Los Angeles hit and run accident lawyers today.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in California
It is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident when an injury to a person or property destruction is involved. Despite this, it is common for a motorist to flee the scene of an accident, especially if they lack proper insurance coverage or are at fault. This should not stop you from receiving fair compensation or seeking justice.
1. Assess the need for any medical attention
Make sure that everyone is OK, and doesn’t require any medical attention. Immediately call 911 and do your best to get safe access to the side of the road. It’s very important that you stay calm and wait for the police to arrive on the scene.
2. Document everything
You may want to speed after the vehicle that hit you, this isn’t a good idea. The best thing that you can do is pull over and try to document as much information as you can. If you were able to get a licence plate number or a partial plate right that down right away before you forget. Try to remember the make, model and color of the vehicle that hit you.
3. Look for witnesses
After you’re in a safe spot start looking around to find potential witnesses. Make sure to take down the name and number of any potential witness on the scene. Ask them to stay long enough to give a police statement if they can.
4. File a police report
When the police arrive make sure to stay calm and explain in as much detail what happened to the officer. To pressure the officer to chase after the car. Don’t leave the scene until you’re cleared to do so.
5. Contact your insurance
If you were able to identify the vehicle that hit you then you may be able to have their insurance company pay for your damage and any potential injuries. The fact is though that the reason a lot of drivers flea the scene is because they are either uninsured, unlicensed, or have some sort of legal ramifications if they get caught by a police officer. Don’t expect much from this person if they do catch them.
You may be able to get your insurance company to cover your expenses, this is assuming you have purchased adequate protection against uninsured or under-insured drivers. If you don’t then you may be forced to pay for any expenses out of your own pocket.
if this happens it’s unfortunate but the lesson learned is to have good insurance that covers un-insured and under-insured drivers.
It is widespread for a person to flee the scene when it involves a collision in a parking lot where minor damage may occur. The more serious cases of hit and run accidents involve victims being left at the scene without help being called and without regard for others’ well-being. Negligent parties usually flee the scene to avoid paying for damages. In most cases, the guilty party flees the scene because they were driving without insurance, leaving the victim to seek medical treatment and compensation from their own insurance companies and in potential immediate danger following the collision.
If you suffered an injury in a hit and run accident or any motor vehicle crash in California, please do not hesitate to call Wilshire Law Firm. When dealing with insurance companies, you need a professional that specializes in motor vehicle accidents. Our consultation is free, and we work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is no fee unless your case is resolved. Please contact one of our car accident lawyers to set up a consultation or speak to a representative 24/7 for immediate assistance call us (866) 877 4189.
How Can I Receive Compensation for My Injuries If a Hit and Run Driver Caused My Accident?
It is imperative to contact the police and file a report following any car accident type, even if the other driver has left the scene of the crash. In doing so, you will be taking the appropriate steps to obtain compensation for your injuries and any other damages sustained. By filing a police report, there will be an official record of when the accident occurred, what the cause was, and that the responsible driver fled the scene, leading to a hit-and-run.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Hit and Run Injury Claims?
In California under Assembly Bill 184 the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit following a hit and run accident is six years. This means that, to take legal action against the person(s) responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, the prosecutor must file the charge within six years from the date the offense occurred. To learn more about the statute of limitations regarding these types of accidents, please contact a California hit and run accident lawyer from Wilshire Law Firm today.
Contact our Los Angeles Hit and Run Accident Lawyers Today
Because of the high density of vehicles in the Los Angeles area, hit and run accidents are unfortunate. The most common cause of hit and run accidents are from drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road or surroundings.
Despite that accidents are common, fleeing from a hit-and-run accident is a serious criminal offense that will provide evidence of negligence in a civil trial for damages against the negligent party. Our personal injury attorneys are determined to see that you receive maximum compensation from the negligent party for all medical costs, expenses, and lost income due to the accident.
Private investigators are employed by the firm to get appropriate evidence and facts against the negligent party that is going to be presented in court. Background checks and investigations may determine a history of dangerous or negligent driving habits by the liable party.
Our engineers are able to recreate the scene of the accident and provide video evidence of the events that took place to support your point of view in the case. Testimonials obtained from witnesses and professionals are used to determine the timeline of events and testify to the seriousness of the victim’s injuries.
Hit and Run Accidents FAQs
You now have the information and resources necessary to better understand your rights following a hit and run accident in California, but chances are you still have questions. Our Los Angeles hit and run attorneys have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to provide more insight.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact a hit and run lawyer near you and schedule a free consultation:
What type of insurance will pay for damages if you are the victim of a hit and run driver?
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, collision insurance will help cover your vehicle’s repair costs.
What is the difference between misdemeanor and felony hit and run?
In California, hit and run offenses are a misdemeanor if property damage is the only result. However, if the victim suffers bodily injury or death, the responsible driver can be charged with a felony hit and run.
What happens if a hit and run driver is never identified or apprehended?
Unfortunately, if the driver responsible for a hit and run accident is never identified or found, the driver may get away with the crime. This is upsetting for numerous reasons, but namely, because it means accident victims are left to deal with mounting medical bills and other costs. This is where a good Los Angeles hit and run lawyer will come in handy. With our help, you should be able to negotiate your claim with the insurance company, prove fault, and receive compensation.
Can a passenger be charged with hit and run in California?
Depending on the circumstances, a passenger may be held liable for a hit and run accident in California. For example, if the passenger encourages the driver to flee the scene or is otherwise involved in the driver’s negligent behavior, they may face criminal charges.
Contact Our Experienced Hit and Run Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you know was injured in an accident involving a hit and run driver, please contact Wilshire Law Firm at (866) 877-4189. Our dedicated staff is on standby, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.