It is against the law for a driver to leave the scene of the accident, especially if they caused it themselves. According to the California Vehicle Code (VEH) §20001, drivers involved in an accident must stop and report it to the police if the accident resulted in a person’s injury or death. Failure to report a serious accident may lead to fines of up to $10,000 and a year in jail.
Despite these punishments, hit-and-run drivers continue to exist, often leaving victims feeling vulnerable and at a loss for what to do. If you were injured in an accident, but the other driver left the scene before you could exchange information, you might still be able to get the compensation you need to cover your damages.
Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices invites people in the Los Angeles area to take advantage of our legal services. A Los Angeles hit-and-run accident lawyer from our firm may be able to help you fight for compensation.
You can talk with a representative at our firm by calling (888) 522-6291 today. We offer free, no-obligation case reviews to Los Angeles car accident victims.
Hit-and-Run Drivers Often Panic After an Accident
If you are a responsible driver, leaving an accident scene—especially if someone got injured or might potentially be dead — might seem unheard of. So, why would someone leave an accident, knowing they could get into legal trouble if caught later on?
Some reasons why hit-and-run drivers leave the scene of an accident may include:
- They did not think anyone saw them cause the accident
- They are uninsured
- They panicked and decided to flee the scene
- They were in a rush to get somewhere else, such as to work
- They were driving with a suspended or revoked license
- They were intoxicated and wanted to avoid arrest
Hit-and-run drivers might leave for several other reasons. Still, no matter the reason, leaving a victim to deal with the repercussions of an accident alone is both illegal and morally wrong. A Los Angeles based car accident lawyer will fight to protect your rights and see that justice is done on your behalf.
Reporting Your Accident to the Police
If you are reading this article, you are probably way past the need to deal with the immediate concerns of an accident. If you did not report the accident when it occurred, you can still go to your local police station and file a report so that your accident has an official starting point in its paper trail. The crash report may be used as evidence for your case to establish that the at-fault driver left the accident scene and that you experienced damages.
The details you provide the police may help their attempt to identify the hit-and-run driver. Even details you might dismiss as unimportant might become a lead, so try to remember as much information as you can. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What did the car look like? Did you see the car’s make and model?
- What was the license plate number? Do you remember any numbers or letters it had?
- What time did the accident occur?
- Where did the accident occur? What was the street name or intersection?
- For the accident location, were there any residential homes or businesses nearby? Do you think they might have captured the accident on their security cameras?
- Did you notice any traffic cameras nearby?
- Did you see the driver or what they were doing before they left the accident?
We understand that it can be difficult trying to determine what information is useful to remember and what is not. If you decide to work with Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices on your case, our team can guide you through this process.
Call (888) 522-6291 to speak with a representative of Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices about your hit-and-run accident. The first consultation is free.
You Might Be Able to Get Compensation Through Your Insurance Coverage
Depending on your insurance policy, you might still be able to recover your financial damages, even if the at-fault driver is missing. Your Los Angeles hit-and-run accident lawyer might ask you if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, or they might review your insurance policy to determine this for you.
UM coverage may help affected drivers recover their damages in the event that the at-fault party does not have any insurance. This policy may also be used to cover hit-and-run accidents because they fall under a similar situation: there is no insured person to cover your losses.
According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), insurance companies are required to offer prospective policyholders the option to purchase UM coverage, but people are not required to buy it. If you decide to forego purchasing this policy, you must sign a waiver.
If You Find the Hit-and-Run Driver Later On
If the hit-and-run driver becomes known later on, you might be able to file an insurance claim with their insurer or a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. Whether they turned themselves in or were caught by the police, the moment their identity is known, your options may open.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to pursue compensation for your medical expenses, property damage costs, lost income, and general pain and suffering.
Keep in mind that there is a deadline to sue in California. For a personal injury lawsuit, the deadline is generally two years after the accident occurred, according to the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1. If you do not file your lawsuit within this timeframe, you might not be able to have your case heard.
Our Team May Be Able to Start Working on Your Case Today
When a driver flees the scene after causing an accident, it can leave the affected party feeling hopeless or frustrated. If you are struggling after this type of accident, you are not alone. A Los Angeles hit-and-run accident lawyer from Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices may be able to help you figure out how to recover your losses.
Call us today at (888) 522-6291 to learn more about your options in a free case review with a member of our team.