Most car accident cases follow a standard procedure. The challenge, however, comes in whenever you are involved in a hit-and-run case where the at-fault driver fled the scene.
Hit-and-run cases are high in California. This state has recorded a 44% rise in death cases associated with hit-and-run accidents in recent years.
So what should you do if the driver of the car that hit you did not cooperate or fled the scene of the accident? A call to AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers to speak to an experienced California car accident lawyer is a step you should take early on. Contact us to request a case review.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Hit-and-run accidents occur whenever a driver crashes into another vehicle, property, or pedestrians and flees without assisting the victim or even identifying themselves.
The California Penal CODE 20001 considers fleeing an accident scene a crime and is punishable as a felony or misdemeanor. According to the law, any driver involved in an accident should remain and share their identification details with the investigating officer.
Some possible reasons for the rising number of hit-and-run cases include the following:
- Driving under the influence
- Fear of license loss due to past citations
- Driving borrowed or stolen vehicles
- Suspended or no license
- A driver carrying illegal substances
What Evidence Should You Provide to Prove a Hit and Run?
A hit-and-run car accident can be a civil and criminal case. Where the case is criminal, the focus of the county prosecutor and police is to find out the applicable charges. Additionally, they look for the suspected driver to carry out the hit-and-run investigation process.
Where the case is civil, you are required to assert your legal right in pursuing the liable driver — if they are ever found — to compensate you. In most cases, engaging a personal injury lawyer increases the chances of a positive outcome.
The focus of a hit-and-run civil case is not to jail the at-fault driver. Instead, the goal is to get reimbursement for the damages following the accident – often financial stability, body, and life.
Key elements to prove in a hit-and-run car accident
You have a right to seek compensation when injured or your property or car gets damaged after a hit-and-run accident.
However, it is your duty to prove the accident happened and that the other driver was at fault.
When involved in a hit-and-run car accident, the law requires you to prove the following four critical elements for a successful civil case:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- Breach of the duty of care by the other driver
- The suspected driver was the proximate cause of other damages or injuries
- You suffered significant property damage or injuries following the accident
Provided evidence in a hit-and-run case
Now that you know the critical elements under which your civil case is judged, the next step after a hit-and-run car accident is to provide the necessary evidence to prove the incident.
- Identification details: Provide as many details as possible to help identify the hit-and-run car and the driver. Some essential identifying information includes the car’s model and make, driver’s license plate number, and eyewitness information.
- Footage of the accident: Audio and video recordings of the accident could help you prove a hit-and-run accident. You can get such recordings from nearby security or traffic cameras that might have captured the incident.
- Witness information: If you plan to file a hit-and-run lawsuit, it is advisable to have as much witness information as possible. Gather several witnesses at the scene of the accident to help you prove your case.
- Vehicle damages and body injuries: Any damages to your vehicle or injuries on your body can be used as evidence that a hit-and-run accident occurred. Ensure that you take pictures of the accident scene from different angles. Such photos can help show the degree of the damage.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Whenever you’re hit and the driver flees, the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to follow certain basic steps, including:
- Stop your car if you were driving and call 911 to report the incident
- If possible, move your vehicle aside to a safe location
- In case someone involved in the accident remained on the scene, exchange your insurance, registration, and license information and share the same with the investigating police officer
- Where there is severe property damage, fatalities, or injuries, contact an attorney for help retaining evidence.
In case you do not sustain serious injuries, it would help if you did the following too:
- Take photos of your car from different angles
- Find contacts of witnesses and get as many details from them as you can about the hit-and-run vehicle
- Look for debris or dropped parts that could help identify the hit-and-run driver and the car.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in California About Your Hit-and-Run Accident
Let’s face the truth – pursuing a hit-and-run accident case is frustrating and energy-draining. It becomes even worse when you don’t know where to start or what evidence is needed to prove that the accident happened.
Whereas you might know what information to give, another challenge comes if you don’t know how to gather the required details.
That’s when it becomes necessary to engage a reliable and experienced car accident lawyer in California to help you. Contact us today at AttorneyJeff if you or a loved one is involved in a hit-and-run accident. We will fight on your behalf for your right to obtain compensation.
Hit-and-Run Accident Case FAQs
What compensation am I liable for after a hit-and-run accident?
The compensation depends on the results of hit-and-run investigations. Often, such results are influenced by several factors, including, who was at fault, what happened, and the injuries or damages you suffered.
What if my insurance company fails to pay for my hit-and-run accident injuries?
Your insurance company may sometimes deny responsibility for your injuries after a hit-and-run accident. If such happens, seek help from an experienced car accident attorney to know your options.