Encino Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers

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Encino is a city in Los Angeles County, located in the San Fernando Valley of California. It is near the Santa Monica Mountains and Lake Balboa.
Some of the attractions in Encino include Los Encinos State Historic Park, Balboa Sports Center, and Tapia Bros. Farm. Encino is a common area for people to drive in, and individuals who are involved in motor vehicle accidents have an obligation to remain at the scene of their accidents, ensure nobody needs medical attention, and exchange contact information. Failure to take these steps constitutes a hit-and-run accident that creates legal consequences.
Interstate 405 (I-405) and United States Route 101 (US 101) are two of the major roadways running through Southern California and the Encino area, which makes both highways common sites of motor vehicle accidents. I-405 extends from Interstate 5 (I-5) in Irvine to I-5 near San Fernando, and US 101 stretches from Los Angeles all the way to Tumwater in Washington State.

Encino is near a number of other popular neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including Tarzana, Sepulveda Basin, and Sherman Oaks, with Van Nuys, Reseda, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Studio City, Valley Village, and Valley Glen also being nearby. Mapping from the Los Angeles Times indicates Encino had a population of 44,581 according to the most recent estimate, with 80.1 percent of residents being white, 8.5 percent being Latino, 4.9 percent being Asian, and 2.4 percent being Black.

The $78,529 median household income was high for both the city and the county of Los Angeles, and 46.8 percent of residents 25 years of age and older had a four-year degree. The median age for Encino was 42 years of age, with 10,239 residents being 35-49, 8,252 being 65 and older, 7,895 being 19-34, 7,773 being 50-64, 4,643 being 10 or less, and 3,103 being 11-18. An estimated 61.6 percent of residents own their homes compared to 38.4 percent renting, and 60.2 percent of men were married while 27.9 percent had never been married, 8.9 percent were divorced, and 3.0 percent were widowed, and 53.2 percent of women were married as opposed to 22.1 percent who had never been married, 13.6 percent were divorced, and 11.1 percent were widowed.

People who suffer catastrophic injuries or whose loved ones die in hit-and-run accidents in Encino or a surrounding community in Los Angeles County should immediately contact an Encino hit-and-run accident lawyer at Arash Law, founded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., for help determining what their legal options will be. You can call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to get a free consultation that will allow our firm to examine the details of your case better and help you explore what steps you can take.

Car Accident
A farm worker, suffered multiple broken bones and other orthopedic injuries resulting from an auto accident where the defendant driver attempted to make a left turn in front of our client in heavy fog.

Definition of a Hit-and-Run Accident Under California Vehicle Code § 20002

California Vehicle Code § 20002 is the state law establishing the misdemeanor offense of hit-and-run, and this law specifies that people involved in accidents resulting only in damage to property must stop their vehicles at the nearest locations and take two actions. Such drivers must locate and notify an owner or person in charge of the property with the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved. After locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, the driver must present their driver’s license and vehicle registration to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. Information needs to include the current residence address of the driver and the registered owner.

A driver must also leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or damaged property some kind of written notice that gives the name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances, and they must also, without delay, notify the police department of the city where the collision occurred or, when a collision occurs in an unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol. Alleged offenders accused of committing hit-and-run accidents will have criminal cases in which a prosecutor must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • An alleged offender drove and caused a motor vehicle accident.
  • The accident caused damage to another party’s property.
  • The alleged offender knew of their involvement in the accident that caused property damage, injury, or death.
  • The alleged offender willfully failed to stop at the scene of their accident or provide an owner or person in control of damaged property with their name and current residence address.
Possible Punishments Under California Vehicle Code § 20002
A hit-and-run offense causing only property damage is usually a misdemeanor and can result in up to six months in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00. The penalties may also include three years of probation, restitution for damage, and 2 points on a California driving record.
Some misdemeanor offenses are also punishable by up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, restitution to victims for property damage, and/or 2 points on California driving record. If a hit-and-run accident causes injuries or death, then the crime is usually a felony offense punishable by up to four years in state jail, a fine of up to $10,000, restitution to victims for property damage, and 2 points on California driving record.
Emperatriz Ayala
Emperatriz Ayala
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My husband had an accident 2 years ago, a 85 years old man hit him, the Arash law group works very well on my husband case that took 9 month and he won the case and my husband was happy with the results. A year later I got into an accident as well and I’m still waiting in my case is almost resolving and it’s 9 months already. This people knows the law and they do their job right to help you out in getting the most for you to fight on your behalf. I strongly recommend the Arash Law firm they do things right in a efficient and professional manner.
Chris Zavala
Chris Zavala
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Had a great experience with all the people at Arash law. Long story short was in a bad car accident. It was overwhelming and the whole process was a lot, but they kept me in the loop. They answered all my questions and gave me great advice. Couldn't be any happier. Would definitely recommend anyone looking for a personal injury lawyer. They'll guide you through the whole process!
Jill Smith
Jill Smith
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Having Arash Law handle my auto accident was the best decision I could have made. Everyone I interacted with was kind, professional and detail oriented. I am extremely happy with the outcome and would recommend them highly.
Joseph R. Porter
Joseph R. Porter
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From start to finish, Arash Law firm is there every step of the way with close, constant, personal contact and attention. I never knew a Law firm could actually care so much for me as a person and what I was personally going through as well as the settlement I was going to recieve once my case was finally completed. Thank you to everyone at Arash Law for your ongoing support and communication. You are the ONLY firm I will ever recommend to someone who is need of a great attorny.
Monica Parra
Monica Parra
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I had an excellent experience with Arash Law. I will definitely recommend to my family and friends. I interviewed a few firms before deciding to work with Arash Law. What made my experience excellent was (i.e. head attorney being accessible to talk to and he answered all my questions and concerns, sensitive and thorough personel who completed in home intake & follow up process, being connected immediately to quality Physicians who addressed my injuries and recovery process, clear contract-read throughly to ensure its something you can commit to). Being in a car accident is a traumatic experience and I had a sense of peace knowing Arash Firm was walking with me throughout the whole process. Thank you Arash Firm for all your hard work and help. I am so grateful and appreciative for you all! 🙏 With Gratitude, Monica Parra
Possible Defenses Against Violations of California Vehicle Code § 20002

Being charged with a hit-and-run offense is not the same as being convicted, and it may be possible for an alleged offender to argue that there was some kind of extenuating circumstance that justified their failure to stop at the scene of an accident. A few of the more common kinds of defense against hit-and-run charges include:

  • An alleged offender was not aware they were involved in an accident While most people are expected to notice when they cause collisions, there may be certain cases of minor accidents in which a person can credibly claim that they simply did not notice that they had struck another vehicle or other kind of property.
  • There was no damage stemming from an accident A driver may have known they caused an accident but concluded on their own inspection of the property involved that there was no damage and, thus, no need to exchange any information with another party.
  • Emergency situations People can avoid criminal penalties for hit-and-run offenses when they did not stop at the scene of the accident if they were in the middle of a personal emergency, such as when a person was driving to a hospital.

Felony Hit-and-Run, California Vehicle Code § 20001

Under California Vehicle Code § 20001(a), the driver of any motor vehicle that is involved in a motor vehicle accident causing injury to another person or the death of another person has a duty to immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of an accident and fulfill the requirements of California Vehicle Code § 20003 and California Vehicle Code § 20004. In most cases, violations are punishable by up to one year in state prison or county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

It is important to note that California Vehicle Code § 20001(c) establishes that a person fleeing the scene of a crime after committing a violation of California Penal Code § 191.5 relating to gross vehicular manslaughter or California Penal Code § 192(c)(1) relating to manslaughter may also be subject to an additional term of five years in the state prison.

California Jury Instructions for Felony Hit-and-Run Offenses

California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) No. 2140 is the jury instructions for cases involving an alleged offender’s failure to perform their duty following an accident causing death or injury under California Vehicle Code § 20001, California Vehicle Code § 20003, and California Vehicle Code § 20004. A prosecutor must prove the following:

  • The alleged offender was involved in an accident while driving.
  • The alleged offender’s 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 likely 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:
      • Their 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 they are not the owner
      • The names and current residence addresses of any occupants of their 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.
The jury instructions state that people commit acts willfully when they do them willingly or on purpose. It will not be necessary for people to intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.
A duty to stop immediately means that a driver must stop their vehicle as soon as is reasonably possible under the circumstances. Providing reasonable assistance will mean that a driver needs to determine what assistance, if any, an injured person needs and make a reasonable effort to see that such assistance is provided, either by the driver or someone else.
A jury must all agree that the state proved that an alleged offender failed to perform at least one of their required duties. Every member must also agree on the duty an alleged offender failed to perform.

Difference Between Criminal Charges and Civil Lawsuits in Hit-and-Run Cases

When a person commits a hit-and-run offense, local authorities will try to track down an alleged offender and press criminal charges, which are not the same as a civil case a victim of a hit-and-run accident may have to file. While certain criminal penalties can include restitution to victims, recovering full damages often requires a civil lawsuit.

There are many important differences between criminal cases and civil ones. The biggest difference is the standard of proof in both cases, as a prosecutor in a criminal case must prove an alleged offender’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, one of the highest possible burdens to satisfy, while a victim in a civil case only needs to prove an alleged offender’s liability by a preponderance of the evidence, essentially meaning “more likely than not.”

While a guilty verdict in a criminal case will certainly help prove liability in a civil case, people should know that drivers who are acquitted or have their criminal charges dismissed can still be found civilly liable. Remember the case of O.J. Simpson, who was infamously found not guilty of murdering both his wife, Nicole Brown, and her companion, Ronald Goldman, but later had a civil jury later found him liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman and battery against Brown and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages.

Hit-and-Run Accident Statistics, Studies, and Victim’s Rights in California

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that 2,049 deaths during its most recent reporting period represented the most fatalities on record and were also a 60 percent increase over the past seven years. AAA also stated that more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every single minute on roads in the United States.

Insurance research and analysis website ValuePenguin also found that fatal hit-and-run accidents increased from 1,342 to 1,939 over the course of a decade, and the number of deaths increased 44 percent from 1,393 to 2,005. California accounted for the largest share of fatal hit-and-run accidents during this reporting period, with 17 percent of the nation’s total and 2,948 crashes causing 3,056 deaths.

California had a rate of 8.8 fatal hit-and-run accidents per 10 billion miles and 104 deaths per 100 crashes. The age group most likely to be killed in hit-and-run accidents during the time period was 25- to 34-year-olds, and ValuePenguin reported that 687 drivers in this age group were killed in hit-and-run accidents.

Ways That Safety Studies Are Suggesting to Reverse Hit-and-Run Trends

So many studies examine hit-and-run accidents and identify some of the common elements of these offenses, and the data in many of these reports also allows experts and advocates to create solutions that might help try to change driver behavior. All of the data that has been collected so far demonstrates several common factors in hit-and-run crashes that drivers can take steps to avoid.

Some of the most common problems inherent to hit-and-run crashes include:

  • Driver impairment – California takes driving under the influence (DUI) offenses very seriously and is always discouraging people from getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using drugs, but there remains a large segment of the population that ignores these requests and tries to operate motor vehicles. Drivers who are intoxicated are among the most likely to leave the scenes of accidents simply because they do not want to be charged with DUI.
  • Distracted driving – Many drivers in California these days find it difficult outright to ignore their cell phones or other mobile devices, but distractions take many forms in this day and age. Despite frequent public service announcements (PSAs) about the dangers of distracted driving, there remains a considerable number of people who are still engaging in trying to drive while they are distracted.
  • Speeding – The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California Berkeley found that 9,378 people were killed in speeding-related traffic crashes during the most recent year, and 25.7 percent of the nation’s 36,560 motor vehicle fatalities were speeding-related. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) further reports that about 5 percent of pedestrians die when struck by vehicles traveling 20 mph at impact, about 40 percent die because of vehicles traveling 30 mph at impact, 80 percent at 40 mph, and almost 100 percent die when struck by vehicles traveling at speeds over 50 mph at impact.
  • Medical treatment – State law in California makes a hit-and-run offense a crime when a person fails to render necessary assistance to a victim because a person who needs help and is denied any chance to get medical assistance can be much more likely to suffer severe injury complications or even death. These types of concerns mean that there is now a greater focus on ensuring that medical professionals are among the parties responding to initial traffic accident reports.
  • Law enforcement and infrastructure – Two elements that state and local governments can invest in to help prevent hit-and-run accidents include their law enforcement efforts and resources dedicated to improving existing infrastructure. With regard to law enforcement, police officers can recognize behaviors that create risks of hit-and-run accidents, such as speeding or DUI, and stop alleged offenders before they cause accidents. When it comes to infrastructure, cities, counties, and other townships may have a duty to try and improve certain dangerous roads that create additional risks of causing motor vehicle accidents.
Franchot M.
Personal Injury Settlement
Our client was the victim of a rear-end accident who was left injured and severely in pain. Arash Law was able to outshine other injury law firms when he searched online, and thankfully we were able to handle everything for our client from A to Z — All that he had to do was ask and focus on his recovery. Our client’s life has changed forever, and the compensation received for the pain and suffering has opened paths for new lifelong opportunities.
Personal Injury Settlement
Our client was the victim of a rear-end accident who was left injured and severely in pain. Arash Law was able to outshine other injury law firms when he searched online, and thankfully we were able to handle everything for our client from A to Z — All that he had to do was ask and focus on his recovery. Our client’s life has changed forever, and the compensation received for the pain and suffering has opened paths for new lifelong opportunities.

Know What Your Rights Are Following a Hit-and-Run Accident

Everybody can make better efforts to drive more defensively and protect themselves from being involved in motor vehicle crashes, but the truth remains that there is little most people can do to prevent negligence by other drivers. It is often one poor decision by another driver that can cause a collision.

Victims of hit-and-run accidents will face several immediate challenges to recovering appropriate damages from their crashes. The first and predominant concern is locating an alleged hit-and-run offender who has usually left the scene, but beyond that, even when a hit-and-run driver is found, whether that driver is going to have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for the damages a victim experiences.

While many hit-and-run drivers who are found do end up having sufficient insurance coverage to provide for adequate damages, the truth remains that there are a significant number of hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles that go unsolved. When another driver cannot be located, a victim can seek compensation from their own insurance company under an uninsured or underinsured driver claim.
It is important for people filing claims with their own insurance companies to understand that they may have a significantly reduced statute of limitations for filing their claims, possibly as short as one year in some cases. You also need to understand that even when you are dealing with your own insurance company for who you have been a regular customer, the insurer is always seeking to pay as little as possible to resolve a claim.
Most hit-and-run victims face many additional challenges in trying to collect all of the compensation to which they are entitled. You will want to have an Encino hit-and-run accident lawyer on your side, fighting to protect your rights and collect all of the money you need and deserve.

Take the Time to Speak to the Best Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in Encino

All people who suffer injuries in hit-and-run accidents have the right to seek financial compensation from negligent parties or their own insurance companies. Headed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law has decades of experience dealing with insurance companies, so we know how to negotiate these kinds of cases and help people recover every last dollar that is available to them.

Our firm goes well beyond just dealing with financial concerns, as we understand that many victims are dealing with confusion relating to various aspects of their recovery. When you are having difficulty obtaining necessary medical care because of outstanding bills, we can work with a hospital or other treatment provider to achieve a medical lien that will allow you to continue receiving treatment under the agreement that you will pay your bill in full as soon as you obtain a jury verdict or settlement.
Encino is an incredibly popular area of Los Angeles for people to work and live, so we understand why so many people choose to call this place home. We also know how the roadways in and around the city can be such common locations of motor vehicle accidents.

Arash Law is led by famous lawyer Arash Khorsandi, Esq., and works tirelessly to help all kinds of accident victims get justice. You can take advantage of a free, no-risk case assessment that will allow us to understand your case better and outline how we can help you.

Why Choose Arash Law?

Managed and operated by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law has decades of experience handling all kinds of motor vehicle accident cases, and our record of success includes more than $500 million recovered for our clients. Better yet, for you, we have a no-win, no-fee guarantee under which we do not charge you anything unless we settle or win your case.

We speak multiple languages at our firm and can communicate in English, Spanish, Italian, Farsi, Korean, French, or Hebrew. We also make ourselves available to our clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Reasons You Need an Encino Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney

While many hit-and-run accident victims immediately turn to police departments for help solving their cases, such agencies do have their limits, and not all of them can locate an alleged offender. When you hire a skilled hit-and-run accident lawyer in Encino, there is the chance that their own independent investigation of your accident can lead them to the negligent driver.

Even when the driver cannot be found, a lawyer is going to know what other options you have for recovering compensation. Arash Law is run by the talented team of Arash Khorsandi, Esq., and knows how to get real answers for people in these types of cases and can work to deal with insurance companies on your behalf, so you are not stuck trying to fight on your own.
Motor Vehicle Accident
Settlement in a motor vehicle accident; client suffered internal injuries.

Recovering Damages After a Hit-and-Run Accident

While many hit-and-run accident victims clearly hope that perpetrators will be found and held accountable so their insurance companies can cover all of their losses, it can be a major problem when an alleged offender cannot be found. In most cases, people will then have to turn to their own insurance coverage.
All insurers in California are required to offer uninsured and underinsured driver policies when any person is buying a car insurance plan in the state. People do have the option to choose not to purchase it.
When uninsured and underinsured coverage is denied, then the insurance company may recommend collision and comprehensive coverage. Each one of these types of coverage can cover you when you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

The major problem in these cases can concern when a person’s damages exceed their policy limits, but insurers are reluctant to pay as much as people are entitled to even when they do not hit their limits. You will want to have an Encino hit-and-run accident lawyer negotiating with an insurance company on your behalf because many insurers know how to take advantage of people representing themselves, and studies have repeatedly shown that drivers handling their own insurance claims receive far less than those with legal representation.

What You Should Do After a Hit-And-Run Accident

Hit-and-run victims will need to take several important steps after an accident. You will want to do all of the following:

  • Call 911 – Always make sure to call 911 and report your accident so you can immediately get law enforcement involved with your crash. You should also seek medical assistance for any person who suffered injuries.
  • Seek medical attention – Many people receive emergency medical attention at the scene of an accident in cases of severe injuries. If you do not think your injuries were particularly serious or maybe even did not suffer any injuries, it is still a good idea to see a doctor just to be sure. Several serious injuries involve delayed symptoms, and you also want to create a medical record of your accident as soon as possible.
  • Gather relevant evidence – Try to write down as many details as you can remember about the vehicle involved in your accident and what the driver looked like. Also, try to collect as much evidence as you can at the scene of your accident, such as pictures and videos of any vehicles involved, property damage, or other signs of an accident, such as skid marks.
  • Report your accident – Your insurance company will likely require you to report your accident, even when you were not at fault. You should contact your insurance company and give them basic information, but avoid getting into any details. If the negligent driver’s insurance company contacts you, do not provide any statement until you have legal counsel from Encino hit-and-run accident lawyers. They can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim

In many car accident cases, resolutions are achieved through settlements with insurance companies because most insurers do not want to pay the high costs of taking cases to trial. There can be cases, however, in which adequate settlement offers are never made, and lawsuits become necessary.

You will most certainly want the help of an experienced Encino hit-and-run accident attorney when you need to file a lawsuit because they will know everything that is required as part of the process and how to prove your claim in court. It may be possible that filing a claim leads to an insurance company suddenly becoming willing to pay you what you deserve through a settlement.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit-and-Run Accident in California?

The statute of limitations for hit-and-run accidents can be criminal or civil. The Judicial Branch of California website notes that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is often two years, but Assembly Bill No. 184 modified the criminal statute of limitations such that hit-and-run offenses now have a limitations period of six years instead of three.

While the statute of limitations is generally shorter for civil personal injury claims, there are certain exceptions that might allow for your limitations period to be extended. These situations can include a victim being a minor (in which case, the minor has two years to file after turning 18 years of age), a victim not being mentally competent at the time of their accident, or an alleged offender evading service out of fraud or being out of the country.
An Encino hit-and-run accident lawyer understands how to extend the statute of limitations if it is necessary. You will give yourself the best chance of recovery by contacting Arash Law and the team led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., as soon as possible.

Contact a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in Encino Today

When you or your loved one have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in the greater Encino area of California, you are probably dealing with a lot of confusion and frustration. You should be focusing on your recovery and letting an experienced Encino hit-and-run accident lawyer handle all of the legal headaches for you.

Arash Law offers a complete team of dedicated legal professionals led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. The team will work non-stop for you to help identify a negligent driver, hold them accountable, and recover every single dollar to which you are entitled. Our firm understands the many challenges victims are facing in these circumstances, and we will work hard to make sure that your life can become much easier.

We represent clients in Encino and many other surrounding communities in the greater Los Angeles area, as well as several other cities all over California. You can call Arash Law, spearheaded by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq.,  at (888) 488-1391 or complete a contact form on our website to take the first steps to set up a completely free initial consultation so we can further discuss your case.

Our firm has served such communities as Calabasas, Glendale, Beverly Hills, Westlake Village, Santa Monica, Santa Clarita, West Hollywood, Malibu, San Fernando, El Segundo, Culver City, Inglewood, Burbank, Simi Valley, and Agoura Hills.

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