El Centro Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys
- What Constitutes a Hit-And-Run Accident?
- How Frequently Do Hit-and-Run Accidents Happen?
- California Hit-and-Run Laws
- California Vehicle Code § 20002 Penalties
- Legal Defenses to California Vehicle Code §20002 Misdemeanor Hit-And-Run
- Related Criminal Offenses
- Felony Hit-and-Run, California Vehicle Code § 20001
- California Jury Instructions for Felony Hit-and-Run Offenses
- How Police Officers Locate Hit-and-Run Drivers
- Why Drivers Commit Hit-and-Run Offenses
- How Expensive Can It Be to Hire a Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney in El Centro?
AWARD-WINNING HIT-and-RUN ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS Turning Injured Victims into Victors in El Centro
El Centro is the county seat of Imperial County in California and the biggest city in the Imperial Valley. The valley is bordered by the Colorado River to the east and the Salton Sea to the north.
Attractions in El Centro include the Algodones Dunes (which is the largest dune field in the United States), the Salton Sea and Colorado River, the El Centro Naval Air Facility, Stark Field, and the city’s close proximity to Mexico (being only 10 miles away). At 50 feet below sea level, El Centro is the largest city in the country below sea level.
According to the United States Census, El Centro had a population of 44,158 as of July 1, 2021, with 87.3 percent of residents being Hispanic or Latino, 35.9 percent being white, 12.6 percent being two or more races, 2.7 percent being Black or African-American, 1.9 percent being Asian, and 1.1 percent being American Indian and Alaska natives. The population at that point was 51.7 percent female, with 19.3 percent being 65 years of age or older, 22.3 percent being under 18 years of age, and 6.0 percent being under 5 years of age.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that the biggest employers in El Centro include 8A Packing LLC, the Central Union High School District, El Centro Naval Air Facility, El Centro Regional Medical Center, Imperial County Behavioral, Imperial County Coroner, the Imperial County Office of Education, the Imperial County Sheriff, Imperial Irrigation, Target, the United States Border Patrol, and Walmart Supercenter. Forbes once listed El Centro on its list of the Top 10 Places “Where U.S. Homeowners Are Losing Value Fastest,” with 31.4 percent of buyers having negative equity.
When you or your loved one suffer serious injuries in a hit-and-run accident in the greater El Centro area or a surrounding community in Imperial County, make sure you contact experienced El Centro hit-and-run accident attorneys at Arash Law, founded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to get a free consultation, so we can talk to you about your case and outline all of your legal options.
December 2016: $22M+ verdict in a mild traumatic brain injury case. The entire details of the case can be found in the public record filings by the defendant entity that sued its defense– BRIAN BEECHER
What Constitutes a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident involves a negligent driver leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging any information with victims or waiting for law enforcement to arrive. People can have a variety of reasons for fleeing the scene of the accident.
Some drivers may be concerned about being arrested for other crimes when they were driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, did not have valid driver’s licenses, or may have had outstanding warrants. Many people also leave the scene of accidents when they do not have valid car insurance.
Whatever the reason a person leaves the scene of an accident, doing so will constitute a new criminal offense. An alleged offender in these cases can face multiple problems later on when apprehended by authorities.
How Frequently Do Hit-and-Run Accidents Happen?
The insurance research and analysis website ValuePenguin found that fatal hit-and-run accidents increased from 1,342 to 1,939 over the course of a decade, with the number of deaths increasing 44 percent from 1,393 to 2,005. It should be noted that California had the largest share of fatal hit-and-run accidents during the reporting period, with 17 percent of the nation’s total and 2,948 crashes resulting in 3,056 deaths.
California’s rate was 8.8 fatal hit-and-run accidents per 10 billion miles and 104 deaths per 100 crashes. It was 25–34-year-olds who were the age group most likely to be killed in hit-and-run accidents during the time period, with ValuePenguin reporting that 687 drivers in this age group were killed in hit-and-run accidents.
California Hit-and-Run Laws
Under California Vehicle Code § 20002, any person driving a motor vehicle involved in an accident causing injury or death to another person will have a duty to immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident and fulfill the requirements of California Vehicle Code § 20003 and California Vehicle Code § 20004. The state law applies whether a person is involved in an accident causing property damage, injury, or death.
- Locate and notify either the vehicle owner or the person in charge of any damaged property of the name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle involved. When locating the driver of any other motor vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any other kind of damaged property, on request, present their driver’s license and vehicle registration to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of the property. Information presented must include a current residence address for the driver and the registered owner. When a registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, they must also, upon request, present their driver’s license information or some other kind of valid identification to the other involved parties.
- Leave a written notice on a motor vehicle or damaged property that gives the name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances and must, without delay, notify a police department of the city where a collision occurred. If a collision occurs in unincorporated territory, then the driver and owner must notify the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
Prohibitions Under California Vehicle Code § 20002
- When they are a driver leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident
- When they are a driver not identifying themselves to other involved parties
- When damage occurs to another party’s property
How California Vehicle Code § 20002 Defines a Hit-and-Run Accident
- The alleged offender was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
- The alleged offender’s accident caused damage to another party’s property.
- The alleged offender knew they were involved in an accident causing property damage, injury, or death.
- The alleged offender willfully failed to stop at the scene of an accident. In addition, they failed to provide the owner or person in control of the damaged property with their name and current residence address.
California Vehicle Code § 20002 Penalties
A hit-and-run crime causing only property damage is usually a misdemeanor and can result in up to six months in the county jail or a fine of up to $1,000. Penalties may also include three years of probation, restitution for damage, and two points on a California driving record.
There are other misdemeanor charges that can result in up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, restitution to victims for property damage, or two points on the California driving record. Cases of injuries or death can result in felony charges that involve such penalties as up to four years in state jail, a fine of up to $10,000, restitution to victims for property damage, and two points on the California driving record.
Related Criminal Offenses
Driving without a License, California Vehicle Code 12500
Under California Vehicle Code 12500, it is illegal for a person to drive without a valid driver’s license. This crime is known as a wobbler, meaning the offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction.
Misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. Infractions can result in a fine of up to $250 but no jail time.
California Jury Instructions for Driving Without a License Offenses
- The alleged offender drove a motor vehicle on a highway.
- And when the alleged offender drove, they did not have a valid California driver’s license.
DUI, California Vehicle Code § 23152
California Vehicle Code § 23152 states that it is unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle under any of the following circumstances:
- They are under the influence of alcohol.
- They have a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level or higher.
- They are addicted to the use of any drug.
- They have a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol level or higher and are driving a commercial motor vehicle.
- They are under the influence of any drug.
- They are under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
- First DUI offense in 10 years – Three to five years of summary probation, when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is less than 0.15 percent, three months or 30 hours of DUI school, when BAC is 0.15 percent to 0.19 percent, six months or 60 hours of DUI school, when BAC is 0.20 percent or higher, attendance at a Victim Impact Panel, nine months of 90 hours of DUI school, up to $1,000 in fines, six-month driver’s license suspension, or up to six months in jail
- Second DUI in 10 years – Three to five years of summary probation, an 18-month or 30-month DUI school course, up to $1,000 in fines, two-year driver’s license suspension, or up to one year in jail
- Third DUI in 10 years – Three to five years of summary probation, 30-month DUI school course, up to $1,000 in fines, three-year driver’s license suspension, or up to one year in county jail
California Jury Instructions for DUI Offenses
CALCRIM No. 2110 specifically relates to DUI for California Vehicle Code § 23152 subsections (a), (f), and (g). It provides that the state must establish the following to prove that an alleged offender is guilty of DUI:
- The alleged offender drove a vehicle.
- And when they drove, the alleged offender was under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or alcohol and a drug.
Felony Hit-and-Run, California Vehicle Code § 20001
Under California Vehicle Code § 20001(a), the driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to another person or in the death of another person must immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of an accident and fulfill the requirements of California Vehicle Code § 20003 and California Vehicle Code § 20004. People who violate this section of state law can face a sentence of up to one year in state prison or county jail or a fine of up to $10,000.
California Jury Instructions for Felony Hit-and-Run Offenses
- While driving, the alleged offender was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
- The motor vehicle accident caused the death of or permanent, serious injury to another person.
- The alleged offender knew that they had been involved in an accident injuring another person or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had suffered an injury.
- The alleged offender willfully failed to perform one or more of the following duties:
- Immediately stop at the scene of the accident
- Provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident
- Give to the person struck, the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, or any peace officer at the scene of the accident, all of the following information:
- The alleged offender’s name and current residence address
- The registration number of the vehicle they were driving
- The name and current residence address of the owner of the vehicle if the alleged offender is not the owner
- The names and current residence addresses of any occupants of the alleged offender’s vehicle who suffered an injury in the accident
- When requested, show their driver’s license, if available, to the person struck, the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, or any peace officer at the scene of the accident
- Without unnecessary delay, notify either the police department of the city where the accident happened or the local headquarters of the California Highway Patrol if the accident happened in an unincorporated area.
Settlement in a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial agricultural defendant – client suffered spinal injuries– JUDD ROSS ALLEN
DUI Causing Injury, California Vehicle Code § 23153
California Vehicle Code § 23153 is the state law making it unlawful for a person, while under the influence of alcohol, to drive a vehicle and also perform any legally forbidden act or neglect any legal duty in driving a vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to another person, or while they have 0.08 percent or more of alcohol in their blood to drive a vehicle and perform any legally forbidden act or neglect any duty imposed by law while driving a vehicle when the act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to another person. The victim does not need to be a person outside of an alleged offender’s vehicle because it is possible for them to be a passenger in an alleged offender’s vehicle.
California Jury Instructions for DUI Causing Injury Offenses
- The alleged offender was driving a vehicle.
- While they were driving, the alleged offender’s blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more by weight.
- While the alleged offender was driving with that blood alcohol level, they also committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty.
- The alleged offender’s illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty caused bodily injury to another person.
Exhibition of Speed, California Vehicle Code 23109(c)
California Vehicle Code § 23109 states that people cannot engage in motor vehicle speed contests on highways cannot aid or abet in any speed contest on any highway, and cannot, for the purpose of facilitating or aiding or as an incident to any speed contest or exhibition upon a highway, in any way obstruct or place a barricade or obstruction or assist or participate in placing a barricade or obstruction upon any highway. Under California Vehicle Code 23109(e), convictions may be punishable by up to 90 days in county jail or a fine of up to $1,000, but violations causing bodily injury to another person can be punishable by up to six months in county jail or a fine of up to $1,000.
Repeat offenses committed within five years of prior offenses can result in aggravated penalties.
California Jury Instructions for Exhibition of Speed Offenses
CALCRIM No. 2202 states that an alleged offender will be charged with engaging in an exhibition of speed in violation of California Vehicle Code 23109. Proving an alleged offender committed this crime involves the state needing to prove that:
- The alleged offender was driving a motor vehicle on a highway.
- While they were driving, the alleged offender willfully engaged in an exhibition of speed.
Your Entitlements As A Hit & Run Victim
Victims of hit-and-run accidents can be entitled to various kinds of compensatory damages. Compensatory damages usually include both economic and non-economic damages.
- Your past, present, and future lost wages
- Your past, present, and future medical bills
- Property damage
- Any reduced earning potential
- Other out-of-pocket costs associated with your accident
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment in life
How Police Officers Locate Hit-and-Run Drivers
- Conducting thorough searches of accident scenes and surrounding areas to locate alleged offenders and their vehicles
- By conducting interviews with other drivers, passengers, and witnesses to help get detailed descriptions of alleged offenders and their vehicles
- Getting access to surveillance footage from certain establishments in the area that can provide information about vehicles involved
- Examining the damage to vehicles involved or property struck to use the paint left behind or other evidence and help determine an alleged offender’s vehicle
Why Drivers Commit Hit-and-Run Offenses
It is often hard to explain why drivers do not stop at the scenes of crashes, but the truth usually becomes more evident when alleged offenders are apprehended. Some of the most common reasons people do not stop at the scene of the accident include, but are not limited to the following:
- The driver does not have a valid driver’s license. – An alleged offender may have been operating without a driver’s license and avoided stopping because of the consequences of driving without a license.
- The driver has no car insurance. – An alleged offender may have also driven without a valid car insurance policy in place.
- The driver is concerned about their immigration status. – When a negligent driver does not yet have legal status to be in the United States, they might have left the scene because of the consequences of being in the country illegally.
- The driver has a criminal record. – Certain drivers with criminal records do not want to stop because they do not want any more new criminal charges when they might already have ongoing criminal cases.
- The driver is intoxicated. – Any driver who believes they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be fearful that stopping can result in DUI charges.
- The driver is unaware that they have caused injury or property damage. – Many drivers will claim not to have known that they caused accidents, and some people may be telling the truth.
- The driver is responding to an emergency. – Some drivers can claim they had medical emergencies that prevented them from stopping.
- The owner of the vehicle is not the person driving it. – The actual owner of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run might claim that they were not the person driving the vehicle at the time of a hit-and-run accident.
How Our Hit & Run Injury Attorneys Can Help You
Hit-and-run accidents can cause immense stress for victims, who often spend countless hours worrying about whether alleged offenders will be caught and whether there will be any way to recover money for all of the damage resulting from a crash. People in these situations cannot afford to overlook the benefits of hiring an experienced El Centro hit-and-run accident attorney.
Excellent personal injury attorneys will do whatever they can to ensure that you can find the negligent party and hold them accountable. Your injury lawyer will know how not only to seek the most financial compensation for your damages but also to gather all of the relevant evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and be your advocate inside the courtroom.
Arash Law, led by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, can best assist you by doing all of the following:
- Immediately establishing the legal grounds for your claim
- Researching all of the circumstances surrounding your injuries
- Identifying all of the evidence in your favor
- Deposing any witnesses who could have seen your accident
- Using various kinds of experts for testimony in your favor
- Keeping you aware of what is happening with your claim
- Working tirelessly to help you get results as fast as possible
- Managing every single aspect of your case so you can focus completely on your own recovery
How Expensive Can It Be to Hire a Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney in El Centro?
Most people are aware that hiring lawyers can be very expensive, which is probably not surprising when one considers how much time and effort El Centro hit-and-run accident attorneys must invest in each case. All of that said, most hit-and-run accident victims are not in a position to pay another major expense. They may be dealing with injuries that put them out of work and struggling to pay mounting medical expenses.
Led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law understands the difficult position that hit-and-run accident victims are in, so we represent clients in these cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay any money upfront for legal representation because we will instead take an agreed-upon percentage of your settlement or jury award.
Our firm will cover all of the costs of taking on your case, so you can focus on taking care of yourself. You will not have to worry about paying us anything unless we win or settle your case.
Getting You Fair and Full Compensation
You should be sure to reach out to Arash Law and the team led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., for help with your hit-and-run case. Our lawyers understand how many causes for concern exist in these cases, and we will work hard to make sure that you can get a measure of justice.
When you suffer injuries or your loved one dies in a hit-and-run accident in El Centro or a surrounding area, do not wait another moment to contact our firm. You can call us at (888) 488-1391 to speak with one of our hit-and-run accident attorneys in El Centro, or you can fill out the contact form on our website, and one of our lawyers will contact you as soon as possible.
Founded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law has decades of experience handling all kinds of personal injury cases in California, and our record of success includes over $500 million recovered for our clients. We serve the entire El Centro area, including such surrounding communities as Imperial, Somerton, Calexico, Estacion Coahuila, Mexicali, Yuma, Brawley, San Luis, Delta, Coachella, Ejido Hermosillo, San Luis Rio Colorado, Cuervos, La Quinta, and Algodones.