All car accidents are stressful. But a hit and run California is particularly scary, especially if you suffer serious injuries or vehicular damage. As the other driver flees the scene, you wonder how you will ever recover your losses. Thankfully, a skilled auto accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you are owed for the damages you suffered in your hit and run crash.
Below are some specific steps you can take to resolve the problems caused by a hit and run California. For most accident victims, these steps involve relying on your own auto insurance coverage for auto repairs and medical costs. Your Kesh Law auto accident lawyer can help you understand if this is your recourse or whether you have other options for recovering compensation for the accident damages.
What is a hit and run California?
A hit and run California accident occurs when the driver who caused the crash flees the scene without exchanging contact details and insurance information with other involved parties. This can be a multi-vehicle accident, an auto accident involving a pedestrian or a single vehicle accident that damages property. A hit and run California accident is against the law. If the offending driver is identified and located, he or she faces the potential of criminal charges.
Unfortunately, Southern California is one of the busiest regions in the nation, in terms of traffic. This makes the occurrence of hit and run California accidents all too common, particularly with law enforcement officers spread thinly. It is a growing problem with the California Office of Traffic Safety reporting that fatal hit-and-run accidents increased by more than 10 percent in 2021, from the prior year. Injury accidents like these increased by an astounding 19.25 percent in the same time period.
Hit and Run California Laws
The state of California has unique laws governing hit and run drivers. If they are identified, these drivers face stiff penalties, such as:
- Up to 6 months’ jail time and/or a fine of up to $1000 for a hit and run causing property damage
- One year in jail or prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 for a hit and run causing injuries
- Two to 4 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000 for a hit and run causing death or permanent injuries
Hit and run California law states that the resulting charges for identified drivers may be misdemeanors or felonies. In most cases, authorities charge misdemeanors for property damage and felonies for serious injuries or fatalities.
What to Do after Your Hit and Run California
If you are a victim of a hit and run California, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. These steps include:
1. Ensure everyone is safe.
Immediately move your vehicle out of the traffic flow. Check yourself for injuries and check your passengers and parties in other involved vehicles. If anyone needs medical attention, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency medical response.
2. Call the police.
It is very important to call the police to file an accident report after a hit and run California. This will increase the chances that police will locate the other driver. You also need this accident report for your insurance claim. The police will gather evidence at the scene and take down any information you can provide about the fleeing driver’s identity and vehicle.
3. Gather your own evidence.
Take lots of photos at the scene using your smartphone or other camera. Also take notes about the fleeing driver and their vehicle before you forget the details. Get the contact information for any witnesses on the scene and ask them to stay to talk to police. While checking out evidence at the scene, remember not to touch or move anything you find.
4. Contact your insurance company.
Immediately contact your insurance company to find out what information you need to provide to start an auto accident claim. Do not admit fault or provide statements at this time. You should wait until you talk to a lawyer before giving the insurance company too much information.
5. Call a reputable Southern California auto accident lawyer.
After your hit and run California, it is important to discuss your claim with a reputable Southern California auto accident lawyer. Although the at-fault driver fled the scene, you may still have other options for recovering monetary compensation for the damages you suffered. Your lawyer will gather evidence from your accident, compile documentation and receipts related to your claim, file your claim and negotiate for a settlement from the insurance companies.
Will my auto insurance policy cover a hit and run accident?
The type of insurance coverage you have determines whether your policy will cover your hit and run accident. Your primary benefits, such as bodily injury and property damage liability, cover damages suffered by other parties when you are at fault in an accident. This liability coverage does not pay for your accident-related costs.
However, if you have optional collision and comprehensive coverage, these are benefits you can claim when impacted by a hit and run driver. This coverage pays for your property damage, such as to your vehicle. If you also have medical payments coverage, this can help pay for your medical bills. There is typically a deductible you must pay to use collision and comprehensive coverage, but not one for medical payments coverage.
Your auto accident attorney will help you understand your own insurance coverage, as well as avenues for filing an insurance claim against other at-fault parties in your accident. They typically help identify these other at-fault parties by gathering evidence in your accident. The fleeing driver may not be the only party to blame, although it often appears that way at face value.
Hire an Experienced Hit and Run California Accident Lawyer
The skilled auto accident attorneys of Kesh Law can help you navigate the complex scenarios presented by a hit and run crash. These types of wrecks are particularly stressful. By having an auto accident lawyer, you can focus on recovery from your injuries while your attorney skillfully works your claim to recover the compensation you are owed.
Call the hit and run California accident lawyers of Kesh Law now at (818) 639-3955 or fill out our easy online form for a free initial case evaluation.