Recent findings indicate the dire state of hit and run numbers in Santa Ana, California. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there was an increase in Santa Ana hit and run accidents from two in 2019 to five in 2020. 2023 has already had its share of fatal hit and run collisions in Santa Ana involving pedestrians.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit and run accident in Santa Ana, it is vital to seek legal advice from an experienced hit and run accident attorney. A car accident lawyer can provide knowledgeable and compassionate counsel, helping you understand your rights and the best options for seeking justice and compensation.
What Counts as a Hit and Run in California?
In California, a hit and run is defined as leaving the scene without exchanging information or reporting the incident to law enforcement after being involved in an accident.
In order for someone to be convicted of a hit and run in California, three elements must be present:
- There must have been an act of negligence.
- The negligent act must cause bodily injury, death, or property damage.
- The driver knowingly left the scene without providing their contact details and/or notifying authorities before they departed.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Scene?
In this section, we will explore some of the commonly cited reasons why at fault drivers may choose to leave the scene of an accident.
- Fear of legal repercussions: Many hit and run drivers fear the consequences of their actions and, as a result, flee the scene in an attempt to avoid being identified.
- Lack of experience: Inexperienced drivers may be unfamiliar with the protocol for dealing with a hit and run and may panic and flee the scene.
- Fear of public humiliation: Hit and run drivers may be embarrassed by their actions and fear public humiliation if they stay on the scene.
- Fear of financial penalties: Hit and run drivers may be concerned that they will be liable for costly financial liabilities, such as repair costs for property damage or medical expenses of injured parties.
- Fear of physical harm: Hit and run drivers may be concerned that they will be physically harmed by the victims or bystanders.
- Intoxication: Most intoxicated drivers will not be in the right frame of mind to handle the aftermath of a collision. Sometimes, they may end up fleeing the scene to avoid facing a DUI charge.
How Do You Get Compensation as a Hit and Run Victim?
If you are dealing with the impact of a hit and run, you can still seek justice through civil litigation with help from an experienced hit and run victim lawyer.
You can start by following these steps.
Contact the police
Getting in touch with local law enforcement personnel should be the first step. Ensure that you provide the necessary information, such as the description of the vehicle and the driver. This will allow the police to investigate the incident and take appropriate action.
Seek medical attention
Ensure that any injuries sustained are properly treated and documented. This should involve a thorough medical evaluation to identify any potential injuries and to provide the necessary medical care and treatment.
The evidence collection stage is essential if you plan to file a lawsuit against the at fault driver. The evidence can provide valuable information for establishing the driver’s identity and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were responsible for the incident.
Contact your insurance company
It is also important to contact your insurance company. Even if the at-fault driver is not identified, your insurer can provide some compensation for medical bills, lost wages due to time off work, and other damages.
Consult with a Santa Ana hit and run accident attorney
With the help of a lawyer, you could pursue a civil lawsuit against the driver if they’re ever identified later on. The good thing is that investigators may be able to track them down using surveillance footage from nearby businesses or reports of a damaged vehicle that matches a description.
Working with an accident attorney can increase your chances of compensation, since the lawyer will help you collect as much evidence about the incident as possible.
Hit and Run Investigations
When an investigation into a hit and run commences:
- The police will search for any potential witnesses and gather as much evidence as possible.
- Authorities may contact local businesses or review security footage from nearby stores or buildings.
- Your attorney can help you follow up with the insurance company, which might be able to reimburse you for medical expenses incurred due to the accident.
- Your lawyer can also assist if civil cases are filed against the driver by helping you obtain compensation for property damage or physical injuries suffered in the incident.
- A lawyer can also monitor the criminal case proceedings so that you receive justice for what has happened.
What Compensation is Available?
The damages you can receive include payment for medical bills, lost income due to an inability to work, pain and suffering caused by physical injury or mental anguish, property damage, and loss of consortium.
In California, the principle of pure comparative negligence applies, indicating that each party involved in an accident is responsible only for the proportion of fault they contributed. Therefore, in cases where both drivers share some degree of liability, each driver is accountable for the specific amount of damage they caused.
Contact Us in Santa Ana About Your Hit and Run Accident
If you or a loved one has been affected by a hit and run accident in Santa Ana, it is essential to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
At Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers, we help victims of hit and run accidents seek compensation for damages. Since we understand that the aftermath of such an incident can be overwhelming, we work diligently to help ensure your legal rights are protected throughout this difficult time.
Contact us today so we can help you follow up on your case based on California hit and run laws.
Hit and Run Case FAQs
How can I prove that I was injured in a hit and run accident?
First, document any physical signs of injury by taking pictures if possible. Also, keep detailed records of all your medical expenses associated with the incident and seek witness testimony from anyone who saw what happened.
What is the statute of limitations for a hit and run claim?
In California, the statute of limitation for filing a personal injury claim resulting from a hit and run is two years from the date of the incident.