What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in California
No car accident happens under favorable conditions, but for many, being involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver who flees the scene is the worst-case scenario. This can leave drivers with serious injuries, and without the liable driver’s insurance to rely on for coverage. Without it, they may easily max out their own policy support. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident and have suffered injuries as a result, do not despair. It may feel like you will never financially recover, but there are still legal avenues available to you. Regardless of whether you are able to identify the responsible driver, a lawyer can help.
Hit-and-Run is Illegal in California
In California, it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident. In the event that someone is involved in a car accident and leaves the scene, they may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. They will be charged with a misdemeanor if the accident only resulted in damage to the vehicle, whereas a felony will be charged if any injuries occur. Because this conduct is illegal, the police will be motivated to track down the person who fled, particularly if they have committed a felony. This may help you to learn the identity of the hit-and-run driver so that you can hold them legally and financially accountable by bringing a personal injury lawsuit. Note that a lawsuit can be brought and does not in any way disturb the criminal charges and proceedings.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, the first step is to bring your car to a safe stop (if it is still moving) and to try and get it out of the road if you are able to do so safely. Quickly record any information that you can recall about the other vehicle, including make, model, color, and any digits of the license plate. Assess the scene of the accident to see if there are any traffic cameras or security cameras that may have recorded the accident. Also be sure to get the names and contact information of any witnesses. If your car has sustained at least $750 of damage or if you have suffered an injury, you should call the California police to report the accident. Note that it is actually legally mandated to file a police report for any incident involving at least $750 of damages.
After you have talked to the police, be sure to seek medical care and get an assessment to determine whether you have sustained any injuries. Pay close attention to any soreness, aches, or discomfort that you are experiencing, as pain tends to get worse over the next few days following an accident. Be sure to tell your doctor about any discomfort that you are experiencing so that they can document it in their medical records. You will need this documentation if you bring a personal injury claim later on. After you have gotten medical care, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine your options. They may be able to help you identify additionally liable parties, even if you are unable to find the driver who fled the scene. They can also help you file claims for coverage with your own insurance company.
Damages for a Hit-and-Run Lawsuit
If you are able to identify the hit-and-run driver or other liable parties, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against them to recover any financial harm that the accident caused. This will allow you to receive compensation for all medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs incurred as a result of the hit-and-run accident. You can also receive compensation for pain and suffering. This is generally determined based on how bad your injuries are, how long they are expected to last, and what the total amount of your economic damages is. In some cases, it may also be possible to get punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to restore a victim of negligence to wholeness, but to punish the negligent party. In cases where the negligent party illegally fled the scene, there may be a strong argument to be made for punitive damages. Ultimately, because there are so many different factors involved, the best way to determine the value of your claim is to consult with an attorney who can familiarize themselves with the specifics of your case.
Schedule a Consultation With Mary Alexander Law
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be feeling like you are all on your own trying to dig yourself out of the hole that it created. Contact Mary Alexander Law to get more information on your options and to find out how you can hold the hit-and-run driver accountable.