One of the biggest issues when prosecuting the driver in a hit-and-run accident is that they crashed into someone or something and then fled the scene of the accident. As a result, it can be really difficult to track them down and charge them with their crimes when they don’t stay at the accident scene.
California’s traffic laws require all drivers involved in an accident to pull over on the side of the road and exchange insurance details and contact information. When someone leaves the scene of an accident before the police show up, they will likely be prosecuted with either misdemeanor (if there were no injuries) or felony charges (if there were injuries).
Continue reading to learn what it takes to get compensation as the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Make Sure Everyone Is Okay
Once you’ve been hit by a driver that fled the scene of a car accident, you need to take action. The first step is making sure that everyone (including yourself) is okay. If it’s necessary, you will want to move your vehicle off of an active roadway to avoid another collision.
You should never follow a hit-and-run driver. The hit-and-run driver may be dangerous and can pose a threat to your well-being if they notice you following them. Chasing a hit-and-run driver could also lead to another accident. Additionally, leaving the accident scene may also cause the authorities to question your account of the accident. You could also jeopardize qualifying for your collision coverage.
Gather Evidence of the Hit-and-Run
Gather as much evidence as you can to help the police track down the driver that fled the scene. If you are too injured to get out of the vehicle, ask someone else to take pictures of everything. You’ll want photographic evidence of your injuries, the damage done to your vehicle, and what is left at the scene of the accident.
You should also try to see what the car that hit you looked like, including the make, model, and color. Write down anything that could help identify the fleeing driver. Something as simple as a partial license plate number or the direction the driver took off in can help track down the vehicle.
Find witnesses. Anyone who saw the accident can help confirm your account. If you notice surveillance cameras in parking lots or on houses near the accident, you should mention them to the police so that they can get access to the video footage.
Call the Proper Authorities
When you are in a serious car accident, you may be the person responsible for calling 9-1-1 to get the police, firefighters, and emergency medical services to come to your location.
If anyone is injured during a hit-and-run, emergency services should be called to treat any injuries. This is a crucial step in the process and will provide evidence of your injuries when you file for compensation.
Don’t refuse medical attention, even if you feel okay at the time of the accident. Some injuries may show up as the shock and adrenaline from the accident start to wear off.
Call the police to report the hit-and-run. Give them all of the information that you gathered from the scene of the accident. The police will run with any leads you can give them.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
California is an at-fault state. This means that the person responsible for causing the accident will be held accountable for their actions. As soon as you know who caused your accident, you can file a claim.
You have up to two years following the incident to file an insurance claim or personal injury claim. So, even if you don’t know who was responsible for the hit-and-run right away, you will want to secure legal counsel quickly and sue them for financial compensation.
As the victim of a car accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation after a hit-and-run. These funds can help pay for your car repairs or cover the medical expenses that occurred as a result of the accident.
You may also be struggling to pay your bills because you had to take some time off of work. The financial compensation can also cover any wages you lost due to the accident. The hit-and-run driver may also be responsible for any pain and suffering you went through because of the accident that they caused.
If the driver was insured at the time of the accident, you would file an insurance claim. However, it’s best not to file a claim alone. Insurance companies may try to lowball you with their offer for financial compensation. Never sign any documents regarding your accident without first speaking with an attorney.
If the driver wasn’t insured, you’ll want to file a personal injury claim. We understand that all of this can be confusing. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
We understand car accidents are stressful enough when you know who caused the accident. They can be even more stressful when the driver flees the scene of the accident.
Don’t wait to seek compensation for the damages caused by a hit-and-run accident. Seek medical attention and file a police report immediately. Then, hire a personal injury attorney to help you navigate your lawsuit.
Contact Golden State Accident Lawyers today for legal assistance in San Francisco. We look forward to helping you in your time of need.