What to Do After a Hit and Run in California

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“Someone hit my car and left… Now what?”

While being in a vehicle accident isn’t ideal, several things can worsen it, such as a motorist hitting your car and then fleeing the scene.

California law requires drivers to exchange contact and insurance information after an accident. Still, some drivers choose to abandon the scene, making it a more complicated and maybe more expensive situation for you and your loved ones.

In between making sure that you or a loved one have no injuries and getting as much information about the driver that hit you, it can get a little foggy knowing what to do after a hit and run. The good news is that you are not helpless. You can take action if you are a hit and run victim to resolve the situation. Contact a hit and run car accident attorney in Hesperia, California for legal advice.

AttorneyJeff Car Accident Lawyer wants you to know what kind of claims you can make and what to do after experiencing a hit and run accident.

What Warrants as a Hit and Run in California?

A hit-and-run in California occurs when a vehicle flees the site of an accident before the authorities arrive or flees the scene without giving the other driver their contact information.

The California Traffic Code mandates that motorists pull their cars out of the way of traffic to stop, identify themselves by name, current residence, and vehicle registration number, and provide “necessary aid” to those who are hurt.

In California, hit and run accidents can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the sole damage from the collision is to property, it is a misdemeanor. Injuries make it a felony. No matter how terrible or mild the accident is, these categories remain constant, irrespective of who is to blame, the damage degree, or the injuries degree.

California law on hit-and-run accidents

In contrast to other states, California has strict penalties for hit-and-run drivers (if found). The severity of the penalties is determined by how much damage was done. Below are some of the penalties a hit and run driver may face:

  • Property damage: The driver who fled the scene might receive up to six months in county jail or a monetary fine of up to $1,000 if they only caused property damage, but no one was hurt.
  • Injury from the accident: If found, the driver who fled the scene might spend up to a year in a state penitentiary or county jail or pay a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Deaths or permanent injury: According to California law, a hit and run motorist who is apprehended faces up to $10,000 in fines or 2 to 4 years in a state penitentiary.

What Kind of Insurance Can You Claim Compensation Against in a Hit and Run?

Sadly, many drivers who flee the scene of a hit and run collision in California are hardly ever identified. However, your insurance can partially cover some of your medical charges and auto repair bills.

You might be able to recoup your financial losses if your auto insurance policy covers the following:

Collision insurance

After a hit and run accident, collision coverage can assist pay for the costs of fixing your car. Typically, you will be responsible for a portion of the costs known as your deductible. Keep in mind that if the damage is too costly to fix, the insurance company can decide that your car is wrecked.

MedPay insurance

MedPay coverage is available with some auto insurance policies. The purpose of MedPay insurance is to assist you in covering any medical costs associated with accident-related injuries. Not all auto insurance providers provide MedPay coverage.

Uninsured or underinsured insurance

Your auto insurance provider may provide you with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This insurance covers you if you are hit by an uninsured driver or a hit and run driver. However, it has a catch: it only pays for physical harm damages if you are unaware of who hit you.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Incident

If you or your loved one are victims of a hit and run in California, you can take specific steps to protect yourselves after the incident. They include:

Move out of traffic and check for injuries

You should check on both you and your occupants after moving your car out of the way of traffic. Calling for medical assistance should be your top priority if somebody is in need.

Write everything you recall about the driver and vehicle

The inability to communicate insurance information in a hit and run situation presents several difficulties. While the details are still fresh in your memory, take notes on anything you can recall about the other driver’s car (color, make, model, license plate, bumper sticker, etc.), along with anything you remember about the driver(gender, age, and facial features).

Ask any witnesses who may have information to stay and speak with the authorities. Obtain their contact information if they are unable or unwilling to remain on the scene.

Call the police and file a report

Call 911 and notify the authorities you are a hit and run victim. Give them all the information you noted down, and be sure to duplicate your records. If the driver is identified, they will be liable for your car’s damages and any accident-related medical expenses.

Contact your insurance provider

Call your insurance provider to report the hit and run. They will notify you of the details required to submit a claim.‍ But make sure you consult an experienced hit and run lawyer before signing any documents that might restrict your financial recovery.

‍Contact an Experienced Hit and Run Attorney in California

In California, hit and run incidents can result in the defendant being charged with serious crimes for fleeing the collision scene. This is why you should consider hiring a professional injury attorney for your compensation claim.

At AttorneyJeff Car Accident Lawyer, we are familiar with the legal ramifications of hit and run incidents and have handled hit and run cases throughout California. We’ll do everything we can to ensure you get fair reimbursement for your losses. ‍Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Hit and Run Case FAQs

Does liability insurance cover a hit and run victim?

Unfortunately, liability insurance only pays for damage to the other car if you are in an accident. However, you can claim the other driver’s insurance if the authorities apprehend them and prosecute them with hit and run.

How common are hit and run incidents in California?

California hit and runs are increasing, according to the California Annual Report of 2021. In a hit and run accident, having the appropriate coverage in your auto insurance policy may assist in lessening the financial toll.

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