After getting into a car crash in California, most drivers stop to see if everyone is okay, report the accident to the police, and exchange necessary information from each other. However, if you are the victim of a hit and run accident, do you know what to do? Should you hire a car accident lawyer after you’ve been involved in a hit and run?
Whenever there is an automobile accident and one of the parties in the accident flees the scene, it can leave the victim feeling completely helpless. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. The car accident attorneys of Bonjour, Thorman, Burn & Dahm are experienced in handling hit and run accidents whether they involve motorcycles, trucks, bicycles or pedestrians. Contact us today for a free hit and run accident consultation.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a party involved in a motor vehicle accident flees the scene of the crash. Whether it was a major car accident causing serious injuries, or a small fender bender, leaving a car accident scene is against the law in California.
What Type of Crime is a Hit and Run?
In California, a hit and run is considered a misdemeanor if the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident causing property damage fails to:
- Stop at the nearest safe location
- Locate the owner or person in charge of the property and provide their name and address
- Provide their driver license and vehicle registration, if requested
In the case that a driver caused damage to someone else’s property but the owner of the damaged property, or vehicle, is not present, a driver must leave a note in an obvious, noticeable place with the following information:
- Name and address of the driver
- An explanation of the circumstances of the crime
- Notify the local police department of the accident
Is a hit and run a felony in CA?
A hit and run can become a felony crime if an involved driver flees the scene of an accident causing:
- Injury to a person, other than themself
- Death of a person
Why Do People Commit Hit and Run Accidents?
In California, a hit and run accident is considered a misdemeanor unless Drivers may choose to flee a car accident scene for a number of different reasons including:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving without auto insurance coverage
- Driving while already breaking the law in some other way
- Driving a vehicle they do not own
What Should I Do in a Hit and Run Accident?
Get to the Nearest Safe Area
The spot where the car crash happened is not always a place where it is safe to remain. If possible, all involved parties should move their vehicles to the side of the road or find a safe area nearby.
Seek Medical Attention for Personal Injuries
One of the first things you should do if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run is call 911. Police officers and emergency medical services will be sent to your location. The authorities will be able to begin their investigation and file an accident report.
If you end up needing medical attention, be sure to keep track of all of your medical bills and documents. You will need them later to prove a personal injury claim.
Attempt to Identify the Other Driver
If possible, try your best to identify the automobile or other driver that hit you. Anything you can remember may help the investigation. Write down the car color, make, model, or license plate if you can remember. Even a partial license plate can help you snag the driver who fled the scene.
Take Photos and Find Witnesses
Unless in a remote location, car accidents typically draw attention from others. While waiting for the police and EMS to arrive, look for potential witnesses to the hit and run accident. If they noticed anything about the hit-and-run driver, that could be of help in identifying them.
Don’t forget to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, and other property damage, or evidence of the crash. When the police arrive, give them the identifying info you’ve collected, and point them in the direction of witnesses that may be able to give them further details.
Once the accident area has been cleared and you’re safe, reach out to any local businesses or institutions that may have caught the accident on camera.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As with any auto accident, be sure to call your insurance company as soon as possible. Calling them on the scene of the hit and run accident is best, if possible. A police officer might be able to give your insurance company a more accurate report.
Speak with an Experienced Hit and Run Accident Attorney
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be in an extremely vulnerable situation. If you were injured, you may have emotional and physical scars, piling medical bills, and be out of work. You need a trusted partner to help you navigate this trying time in your life.
To receive the compensation you deserve, contact an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate the insurance claim process and collect damages. Our personal injury lawyers will provide you with a free consultation to get started. Fill out the form or give a call at (925) 460-8484.