What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident: Do You Need a Hit and Run Lawyer?
California hit and run accidents have been on a steady rise. According to recent data from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), fatal hit and run crashes increased over 10%, while injury hit and run crashes increased almost 20% between 2020 and 2021. Being a victim of a hit and run accident in San Bernardino County is a worst case scenario. If a negligent driver hit you and fled the scene, you have to take important steps to ensure your rights and compensation. Our car accident lawyer in Victorville can help you obtain justice in this difficult situation. Speak to our hit and run lawyer by calling us at (760) 628-0818.
California Hit and Run Laws
California Vehicle Code (CVC) divides hit and run accidents into two categories:
- Misdemeanor hit and run
- Felony hit and run
If you hit a vehicle, no matter the damage, you must leave your contact information for the other party. Leaving the accident scene that resulted in property damage is considered a misdemeanor hit and run.
Under California Vehicle Code 20001, a felony hit and run is the act of leaving the accident scene where a collision resulted in injury or death. A felony is a serious crime that may result in imprisonment and a fine.
Causes of Hit and Run Accidents
As car accident lawyers, we have seen our fair share of hit and run car accidents involving motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Some of the most common causes of hit and run accidents are:
Drunk driving: Many serious and fatal hit and run accidents in Victorville, CA are caused by a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Impaired drivers will want to avoid a DUI charge and flee the scene. They may even be too impaired to realize the severity of the accident.
Driving without a valid license, insurance, or registration: Due to fear of legal consequences, drivers without a valid license, registration, or insurance may leave the scene of the accident.
Speeding or reckless driving: A driver who is speeding, weaving, tailgating, or drag racing may cause a crash due to their negligence or intentional behavior, and then run away to avoid responsibility or retaliation.
Distracted driving: Texting, talking, eating, or doing other activities takes a driver’s attention away from the road. They may not notice the crash or be too ashamed to admit their fault, and leave the scene without stopping.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Crash in California
Motor vehicle accidents are disorienting, stressful, and painful. Take these steps to protect your well-being and right to file a car accident claim:
- Call 911: A hit and run is a serious offense in California and should be reported. The responding officer will create an official accident report. They will ask you questions about the hit and run driver, their vehicle, and what direction they were headed.
- Take photos and videos: Document the accident scene as much as you can, either through photos, videos, or a written account. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and your injuries. Take note of the other driver’s make, model, and color of the vehicle.
- Talk to witnesses: If there are any witnesses who saw the car accident, get their contact information.
- Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance of any injuries or damage to your vehicle, but be careful not to admit fault or apologize.
- Seek medical attention: Even if your injuries seem minor, you should still seek prompt medical attention. This creates medical bills of your accident-related injuries and gives credibility to your case.
- Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer: The right car accident lawyer with experience representing victims of hit and run car accidents can be your best chance at recovering fair compensation.
Compensation in a Hit and Run Car Accident
Determining the value of a personal injury claim is challenging, even when the other driver is present. If the other hit and run driver flees the scene, it can add on more difficulties to the case.
In California, all drivers are required to carry a minimum bodily injury insurance coverage:
- $15,000 in bodily injury per person
- $30,000 in total bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 in property damage per accident
This insurance covers you in case you injure another person in an accident. On the contrary, if you are injured and the other driver is not located, this insurance coverage will not cover you for your injuries. Instead, you will have to use your uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) bodily injury coverage.
This will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses up to your policy limits. The minimum UM and UIM coverage required by California law is the same as the minimum liability coverage.
Contact a Victorville Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a California hit and run accident, you deserve to be compensated by the person who hit you. However, if they fled the scene or their insurance company is placing the blame on you, you may need the help of experienced personal injury attorneys. If you lost a loved one in a tragic car accident, our car accident lawyer can help you sue for wrongful death
At Rockview Accident Lawyers, our trained legal team will go to bat with the other party’s insurance company to fight for the settlement you need to recover. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not ask for any upfront legal fees. You don’t pay unless we win. Call our Victorville personal injury law firm today to schedule a free consultation at (760) 628-0818.