A hit and run accident can be can be described as any car accident with a pedestrian, a fixed object or another car, in which a driver leaves the scene of the accident intentionally without stopping to provide contact information or rendering aid to anyone who might need it. California drivers are required to stop immediately at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. However, this large, populated state has seen an increase in the hit-and-run crime. Hit and run accidents not only involve those accidents on the highway or public road but also parking lot collisions.
Hit-and-run accidents can be devastating to the casualty especially due to the fact that they are left with the complex task of recovering from the injuries without having nobody to hold accountable. If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, we urge you to call the experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm immediately. We are ready to help you explore your options after the accident which may involve helping law enforcement officials to locate the at-fault driver. If the driver is not found, you may think that you have no form of legal recourse against any party. This is not the case since you can also hold your own insurer liable for paying out a fair amount depending on the policy terms. Let Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and expenses by calling 424-231-2013.
California Hit and Run Accidents Laws
Under California Vehicle Code 2001, a motorist who is involved in an accident that results in the injury or death of another individual must immediately stop their vehicle at the accident scene until the authorities get there. California vehicle Code 2003 adds that the driver must give the necessary information to the police officer and this should include name, the registration number of the vehicle and address. The motorist is also expected to render aid to the injured victim for instance by calling 911. If a hit and run victim does not get immediate medical attention, they may end up sustaining fatal injuries. In most cases, the casualties are left to fend for themselves while others are in no position to do that and end up losing their lives before they get help.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
Hit and run accidents in Los Angeles are an epidemic. Los Angeles can be termed as the hit and run capital of the United States. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are about 20,000 hit and run accidents in Los Angeles every year. In 2014, 27 people were killed in hit and run accidents and 144 others severely injured. Between 2008 and 2012, only one in five hit and run cases were solved by the LAPD. Fewer than half of those cases were concluded by an arrest. According to the California Highway Patrol, 9% of the fatal and injury collisions are as a result of hit and run incidents.
Most common reasons why a driver might leave an accident scene
People who take off from an accident scene generally do so because of fear. While there are of course many other reasons for hit and run cases, here are some of the common reasons that make people leave the scene of a car accident.
- Lack of insurance
- Lack of a valid driver’s license, citizenship or visa
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, taking prescription drugs or in possession of illegal drugs at the time of the accident
- The driver is already in trouble with the law
Steps to follow after a hit and run accident
There are important things that you must do if you have been involved in a hit and run accidents. Follow these simple steps and improve the likelihood of catching the perpetrator and securing maximum compensation from your own insurance company.
- Collect information about the vehicle that hit you
If you notice the vehicle driving away, note down the necessary information which should include the license plate number, the vehicle’s make, color, and model. Also, include details such as bumper stickers and the direction in which the vehicle moved. Note down the damages and injuries caused by the accident by taking photos or videos.
- Check for witnesses
It is always a good idea to locate individuals in the proximity that might have witnessed the event and collect their contact information. This is vital because it will make it easy for the police or insurance company to contact them during an investigation. Whether you get witnesses or not, get coverage of the accident from a nearby surveillance.
- Contact emergency services
You need to call 911 to get police assistance and immediate medical attention even if you are the only one at the scene of the accident. If possible give them maximum assistance by providing information about the hit and run vehicle and other information surrounding the accident to help them compile a report. Moreover, witnesses are more likely to answer questions from a police officer than they would answer yours. It is also important not to leave the accident scene to pursue the driver.
- File a police report
If for instance, you do not get roadside assistance, you should go ahead and file a police report. You must make a written report to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days. However, it is advised to submit a report within 24 hours to improve the likelihood of having the driver caught. Your insurance company may also require you to submit the report within 24 hours for you to get uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits.
- Call the insurance company
After the accident, contact your insurance company to let them know that you have been involved in an accident and the location where it happened. Focus on providing only the basic facts about the incident such as the nature of the accident which in this case is hit and run. Do not provide further details until after the results of the investigations. It’s also critical to look into your policy for information concerning the time limit specified for reporting an accident.
- Contact a hit and run accident attorney
In the event that you have any inquiries concerning the process, a lawyer who has practical experience in car accidents and hit and run cases can help you negotiate with your insurer and acquire fair remuneration for your injuries. You might need to examine your case with a lawyer before notifying your insurance company. Review your policy for particular information on time restraints for reporting an accident.
In a best-case scenario, the police may get the driver and give you the chance to stand up to him or her about their insurance information. Unfortunately, many drivers will flee from the scene since they don't have insurance or it is not enough or they simply don't have a valid driver’s license. Drivers without adequate insurance might not be able to pay out of pocket for your injuries or property damage.
What if the at-fault driver is not caught?
If the driver was unidentified or uninsured, you will have to look into your own insurance policy. On the off chance that you do not have the uninsured motorist coverage, you can ask you insurer to add it to your existing policy. It can take time to deal with the insurance company and search for the hit and run driver. Cases involving such accidents are usually complex for victims who sustain severe injuries and have trouble finding monetary remuneration required to recover. Get in touch with a hit and run accident lawyer at Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney today to get more information about such cases. We are determined to see that you get maximum compensation for all damages brought about by the accident. Call us at 424-231-2013 for a free case evaluation.
Hit and run accidents wrongful death
It is unfortunate that a hit-and -run collision can lead to death. Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another party can be traumatizing especially if the perpetrator is still unknown. The surviving family members are usually left with devastation and financial struggle from the medical and funeral expenses. Do not go through suffering silently if you are in such a situation because you can also file a claim and get compensated for your loss. Call the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney immediately for free consultation. We work on a contingency fee meaning that you pay nothing unless we win.
Seeking full compensation for your injuries
A vehicle collision can lead to many types of injuries with some being mild and others severe. Many sorts of injuries can happen amid vehicle impacts. Due to the startling nature of a hit and run accident, at times there is a delay in getting medical help, casualty's injuries are in most cases severe. Our lawyers demand full compensation for costs brought on by injuries that include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal injury
- Head injuries and concussions
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Traumatic brain injury
Our experienced accident attorneys manage all the negotiations with insurance companies and the negligent parties to compensate for the effects of the pain and suffering endured by our clients who were casualties of hit and run accidents. At Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we understand the legal terms, technicalities, and nature of claims surrounding this kind of accidents, which guarantees the best advantages of our client’s needs. Our attorneys will come to your home or hospital to discuss your case and answer the questions you might have while you rest and focus on recovery.
Kinds of Compensation Recoverable in a Hit and Run Accident
In a hit and run case, the recoverable damages that a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can help you receive include:
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of function
- Emotional trauma
- Past and future loss of wages
Statute of Limitation for Hit and Run Accidents
The statutory period for filing a lawsuit in California for hit and run collisions was extended from 3 years to 6 years. The 3 year extension was a response to the negative attention that Los Angeles was receiving for its hit and run epidemic. With six years to prosecute hit and run crime suspects, there is adequate time to track down the at-fault driver and to gather more evidence as well. A six year period also makes it harder for the victims of a hit and run accident to “run out of time.”
How your insurance company will handle your claim
Many hit and run injury victims end up being disappointed by their own insurance companies when they file a claim. As most of them discover, insurance companies are really not on your side even if they claim to be. Insurance companies are interested in making a low offer to resolve the case. The amount they give is not enough to even cover medical expenses let alone other genuine costs such as lost wages and life care expenses. The adjusters are interested in protecting the profitability of the insurance company by minimizing the extent of your financial recovery. This is why it is important to work with an attorney with your interests at heart and who will fight the battle for you with utmost dedication and commitment.
Hit and run cases in Los Angeles require legal skill, expertise, and experience. Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney will work to identify all the possible sources of recovery. If the hit and run driver is not found, we will negotiate your insurance company to ensure that you get every penny that you deserve. If you or your loved one has been injured in a hit and run car, bicycle or pedestrian accident, you’re invited to contact us or call us at 424-231-2013 for a free case evaluation. We do not charge upfront fees and therefore you only pay us after the case is won.