Anyone Could Be Injured by a Hit-and-Run Driver

Sometimes after a traffic accident, one driver leaves the scene. If you’re injured by a hit-and-run motorist in Southern California, schedule a consultation at once to discuss your rights with a Pasadena hit-and-run accident lawyer.

If they crash into a vehicle, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or cause some other type of accident, California drivers are required by the law to stop, identify themselves, and exchange insurance information. Too often in California, however, a driver will not stop after a collision.

What are your legal rights if a hit-and-run driver injures you? A negligent driver’s injured victims have a right to sue for damages, but what if the driver who injures you flees from the accident scene and can’t be located?

Every person in this state – passengers, drivers, and pedestrians – should understand what steps to take after being injured in a hit-and-run accident. If you will continue reading, you will find the answers you need about hit-and-run accidents and your rights in the State of California.

What Legally Constitutes Hit-and-Run?

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver involved in a collision does not stop but instead flees from the accident scene. The others involved are left without any insurance information or any of the details they need to submit insurance claims and recover damages.

Hit-and-run is on the rise everywhere, but particularly in Southern California. In Los Angeles County alone in 2021, the California Transportation Injury Mapping System recorded more than 5,500 felony hit-and-run accidents with injuries and 121 hit-and-run-related fatalities.

The injured victims of negligent drivers are entitled under California law to compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, pain, personal suffering, and related damages. Every accident is legally complicated, but hit-and-run collisions with injuries can be exceedingly difficult.

Why Would Someone Leave an Accident Scene?

Why do so many California drivers flee from accident scenes? It’s primarily because hit-and-run drivers are often driving illegally or involved in some other crime at the time of the accident. For example, a driver may flee from the scene of a collision if that driver:

  1.  has no valid license or auto insurance
  2.  is carrying stolen or contraband items like illegal drugs or weapons
  3.  is driving a vehicle that is stolen
  4.  is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  5.  is the subject of an active arrest warrant

After an accident occurs but before the police arrive, it is always possible that a driver could bolt from the scene. Immediately after any accident, get a description of the other vehicle and write down the license plate number, just in case the driver decides to run.

How is Hit-and-Run Handled in California?

In California, a hit-and-run may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor if someone’s property is damaged and the driver leaves the scene without providing any insurance information, but if the accident involves an injury or a fatality, a hit-and-run will almost always prompt a felony charge.

If a driver receives a felony hit-and-run conviction, the law in California provides penalties that include a costly fine – as much as $10,000 – and a lengthy prison term if the hit-and-run incident resulted in a fatality or a serious injury.

Additionally, the injured victim of a hit-and-run driver may bring a personal injury claim – with the help of a Pasadena hit-and-run accident attorney – against that driver in civil court. If that claim prevails, the victim may recover his or her medical costs, lost wages, and other damages.

What Steps Should Hit-and-Run Injury Victims Take?

When a driver in California is involved in an accident with property damage or personal injuries, the law requires that driver to stop the vehicle safely and provide the other motorist with identification including a name, address, driver’s license number, and car insurance information.

But what if a negligent driver injures you, runs from the accident scene, cannot be identified, and no one can be charged for a criminal offense or held liable for your damages? First, have some patience. Give the police several weeks to locate the person who injured you.

Nevertheless, if you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver, put a Pasadena hit-and-run accident lawyer on the case as soon as you have been treated for your injuries. The sooner you have legal counsel, the more likely it is that you will be compensated fairly and fully for your injury and other damages.

Should You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If the hit-and-run driver cannot be found or identified, your lawyer will work to recover damages from your own insurance company or from any party that may have liability. If the police find the driver, your lawyer will help you with your claim against that driver’s insurance company.

After you have been injured in a hit-and-run collision, and if the other driver cannot be found but you carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, your automobile insurance company should compensate you as if it were the other driver’s auto insurance company.

California law does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but it is one of the smartest things you can do. UM coverage not only protects you if you’re injured in a hit-and-run accident, but it also covers you in any accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

However, and as mentioned previously, hit-and-run accidents entail a number of legal difficulties, and as you may know, some auto insurance companies will go to great lengths to reduce what they pay out to injury victims. You’re going to need a personal injury lawyer’s help.

How Can You Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorney?

When you become our client at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell, you will be represented by an award-winning Pasadena hit-and-run accident attorney and by a personal injury firm that has recovered millions of dollars for our clients throughout Southern California.

Your first legal consultation is provided without cost or obligation, and you will pay no lawyer’s fee to Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell until or unless we recover your compensation with an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.

We have more than forty years of experience successfully fighting for the injured victims of negligence. If you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver in Southern California, or if that happens to you in the future – and whether or not that driver is apprehended – call Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell at 626-795-8333, and let us fight for the justice you need.