Hit-and-run collisions are a serious problem on our roads. Every year, thousands of people are injured in hit-and-run accidents. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run collision, it is important to know your rights and what to do next.
In this blog post, we will discuss several details regarding hit-and-run collisions that you may not know. Read on to learn more.
Who Can be Held Liable in a Hit-and-Run Collision
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run collision, you may be wondering who can be held liable. The short answer is typically the driver who fled the scene. However, it can be difficult to track down a hit-and-run driver. If you can identify the driver, you may be able to file a claim for damages against their insurance company. If you are unable to identify the driver, your own insurance company may cover your damages.
However, what if another driver hits you and runs when you are illegally parked? Even in such instances, the driver who hit you will most likely be held responsible for the damages you incur because of the crash. Similarly, if you are legally parked, and a hit-and-run crash occurs, the driver that runs will probably be held liable.
Do Not Follow a Driver Who Hits You and Runs
It is important not to follow the driver who fled the scene. It can be tempting to try and follow the driver so that you can get the license plate number of their vehicle.
However, following an unruly driver can be very dangerous. You do not know how the driver will react if they realize you are following them. It is best to call the police and let them handle the situation.
Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Offense
In California, the penalties for a hit-and-run offense depend on the severity of the damages caused. If the collision resulted in property damage, the driver can be charged with a misdemeanor. If the collision resulted in injuries, the driver can be charged with a felony. A conviction for a hit-and-run offense may result in jail time, probation, and a fine.
Investigating a Hit-and-Run Crash
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run collision, you should try to gather as much evidence as possible. This may include taking pictures of the accident scene and getting the contact information of any witnesses. You should also make sure to get the license plate number of the responsible driver, if possible (but again, not by chasing them down). The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to track down the hit-and-run driver and hold them accountable.
The Damages You May Be Able to Recover in a Hit-and-Run Case
You may be entitled to recover compensatory damages for your injuries and losses. These may include financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
If the hit-and-run driver is identified and found guilty of a crime, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious and are intended to punish the wrongful party for their actions.
What You Should Do if You are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Collision
It is important to stay calm and call the police. Remain at the scene and do not move your vehicle. Once the police arrive on the scene, they will begin an investigation. Be sure to give them a detailed description of the other vehicle and the driver if you were able to get a look at them. The police may be able to track down the hit-and-run driver and bring them to justice.
In addition to having the police help find the person who hit you, their police report can be beneficial to the outcome of your case. The report will contain information on the details of the accident itself as well as any injuries that were sustained. This can be used as evidence if you decide to file a claim against the hit-and-run driver and/or their insurance company.
While you are required to report the accident to your insurance company, it is important that you speak with a skilled car accident attorney as soon as possible. The insurance companies, particularly the one representing the driver who hit you, will be looking out for their own interests, not yours. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and options and protect you from being taken advantage of by insurance companies.
Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company
If you are unable to identify the hit-and-run driver, you may still be able to recover damages by filing a claim with your insurance company. However, this is only possible if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in cases where the at-fault driver does not have insurance or cannot be identified.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
If you have sustained any injuries because of the crash, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Even if you do not feel like you’ve been seriously hurt after the accident, it is still in your best interest to get checked out by emergency medical professionals or your primary care physician right away.
You may be like many other people who suffer injuries in car accidents and not immediately feel pain The shock of the crash can block the pain receptors in your brain, which might prevent you from feeling discomfort or realizing the extent of your injuries right away.
Additionally, having official medical documentation that provides the details of your condition following the crash can be significantly valuable for your case. Next to a police report, this official documentation can be used as evidence to help prove that you suffered the injuries you are claiming from the collision.
We’re Here to Help with Your Hit-and-Run Injury Case
If you’ve suffered injuries in a hit-and-run collision, you may be eligible for compensation to help cover your losses. You shouldn’t have to pay for another’s negligence, and we are here to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team right away to learn more about what we can do for you.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.