Hit and run accident cases can be very complicated for victims who are seeking compensation. Even though hit and runs that cause personal injury are a felony offense in California, tens of thousands occur every year.
What Exactly is a “Hit and Run”?
Every driver has a legal obligation stop and exchange information any time they’re involved in a car accident — even the person who was hit, and even if they’re not hurt. If a driver hits a parked, empty car, he has an obligation to look for the car’s owner and at least leave a note providing his name and contact information. When there is property damage but no one has been hurt, fleeing the scene of the crash is a misdemeanor for hit and run accidents in California.
Leaving the scene of an injury accident is not only illegal, but morally reprehensible. If the accident leads to a court case, the jury is highly likely to sympathize with the victim and even award punitive damages.
Who Pays for a Hit and Run Accident?
That depends on whether or not the driver can be found. If there is no way to track him down, then you must rely on your own insurance to cover your expenses. In most states, uninsured motorist insurance applies to hit and run accidents, but California is one of the few states in which you must rely on collision insurance. Since the state only legally requires you to carry liability insurance, you may find yourself in a very unfortunate situation. It’s ideal to have a comprehensive insurance policy that covers all damages, but under some circumstances, you may be able to sue your insurance company for maximum compensation.
If the driver is found, however, a couple of options are open to you: seeking compensation from his insurance company or filing a civil lawsuit. California hit and run accidents are often caused by drivers who are driving illegally, without insurance, so seeking compensation may still be a challenge. Contacting our office to speak to an experienced hit and run car accident attorney would be in your best interest.
Catching California Hit and Run Drivers
If you were lucky, you were able to notice a few details about the car that hit you, and maybe even part of the license plate number, and called the police right away. If you did not see the other car — as is often the case — you should still file a police report as soon as possible. There is a chance that the police will be able to locate the driver with help from local media, or by searching footage from a traffic camera.
As of 2016, California driving laws include a program called Yellow Alert. Similar to the Amber Alert system which helps find missing children, Yellow Alert notifies people in the surrounding area to be on the lookout after a hit and run accident. Messages may be sent by text and posted on road signs.
The Best Possible Outcome
As a hit and run accident victim, you have our sympathy. We understand the frustration you feel, coping with injuries and medical bills while not knowing if you’ll ever be compensated. Please contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation, and get some reliable answers to all of your questions related to your hit and run accident.