A hit and run accident is considered a serious legal infraction in California. It is defined as one where a driver hits another vehicle or property and leaves the scene of the accident without stopping to provide contact information or to help an injured person in some cases. When this happens to you, there are things you should do if possible. The most important element of a hit and run case is identifying the driver of the fleeing vehicle. The police will assist in trying to find the driver, and the information you provide will be of immense help. Let’s take an in-depth look at hit and run accidents, what needs to be done at the scene, how negligence is compensated and what an attorney can do to help.
Get Started with a Los Angeles Hit and Run Truck Crash Lawyer
LA semi-truck accident attorney David Azizi has practiced personal injury law for 25 years. He is well-known for his legal acumen and his compassion. Because of his excellence in practicing law, David has been called one of the top personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles by Super Lawyers year after year. Call him at (800) 991-5292 to schedule a free case review. Let David analyze your case and give you an estimate of what it is worth. Remember, there is no fee until your case is won.
California Hit and Runs
Technically, a hit and run occurs when a vehicle leaves the accident site without stopping and providing contact information. It happens when a vehicle hits a parked car, rear ends another car or strikes a mailbox on a person’s property. If the owner of the property or vehicle is not present, then the driver is expected to leave a note with contact information in a visible location such as under a windshield wiper. If someone is hurt in the accident, the driver is expected to provide reasonable medical assistance such as calling 911. An exception is when the driver needs to leave to obtain medical care for themselves or a passenger. Even in this situation, it is best to leave contact information before leaving, if possible.
Is Hit and Run Associated With Fault?
A hit and run is not associated with fault. Even if a driver is not responsible for the accident, they are still guilty of a hit and run if they leave the accident site. The insurance company or other authorities may also find it hard to believe that a driver who did not cause the accident would run.
Why Do People Leave the Scene?
There are many reasons people leave. Often it is because they are hiding something. For instance, someone driving without a license or insurance may not want this discovered once police arrive. Likewise, an impaired driver may not want the police to notice they are not sober and charge them with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Penalties in a Hit and Run
The severity of the accident determines the consequences of a hit and run in terms of injury. For instance, if no one was hurt in the accident, the hit and run will probably be charged as a misdemeanor. This could result in a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Alternately, if a person was injured or killed in the accident, it will probably be charged as a felony. The fine will increase from $1,000 to $10,000, and jail time of up to four years can result. The final sentence will take into consideration the extent of the injuries.
What You Should Do After the Accident
The main objective beyond obtaining medical care is finding the hit and run driver. The more information you provide the police the higher the likelihood this will happen. Try to take the following steps:
- Note how the accident happened.
- If you can, describe what direction the vehicle was going when they left.
- Write down the make, model and license plate number of the fleeing vehicle. Don’t worry if all you can remember is a few numbers or letters. It is still possible to put it together.
- Note identifying stickers or decals on the vehicle.
- Describe the appearance of the driver with special emphasis on standout features or adornment. If more than one person was in the vehicle, do the same with them.
- Take a photo of paint that may be present on the impact point.
- If any piece of the fleeing vehicle was left behind, describe it. Point it out to police who will place it in a clean container or baggie.
- Look around and note if any CCTV cameras are present.
- Look to see if there were any witnesses to the accident. They can provide additional information about the fleeing car and also how the crash occurred. Get their contact information.
Other Things That Need to Be Done
It is important to contact your insurer as soon as possible after the accident occurred. You have up to two years to make a claim, but doing it early is best. Staying in touch with the police is also a good idea. You may be able to provide additional information as the investigation proceeds.
Does Your Insurance Cover a Hit and Run?
If the hit and run driver is caught, you will be able to make a claim against them and their insurer if they have insurance. If they are uninsured or underinsured, your own uninsured insurance will take care of it. If the driver is not identified, then you can make a claim on your own uninsured insurance. This is possible for injuries but not property damage.
Collision coverage will help pay for any damage to your vehicle. If you opted for MedPay, that will cover the costs associated with injuries.
What an Attorney Can Do for You
Your personal injury attorney will be able to answer any questions your insurer may have. They will also investigate the accident and keep abreast of police investigations. Witnesses are an important part of a hit and run investigation. Your attorney will talk to witnesses to elicit more information about the accident and the hit and run driver. Video capture of the accident can lead police to the driver who fled the scene. Your attorney will be able to obtain the footage for use in your case. If the hit and run driver is apprehended, your attorney will be able to bring a case against them and their insurer for damages.
Free Case Review with a Los Angeles Hit and Run Truck Accident Law Firm
David Azizi is ready to help when you need him. He has done that for numerous clients and won 98 percent of his cases. Don’t delay after a hit and run accident. Call David at (800) 991-5292 or contact him online. You can set up a free case review, and put the accident case in David’s hands.