Help! I Was the Victim of Hit-and-Run Accident

California Auto Accident Lawyers Helping Hit-and-Run Victims Recover Compensation

Any auto accident is a stressful event, but if you are the victim of a hit-and-run crash, you will have additional complications to worry about.

The good news is that you don’t have to face this complicated situation alone. A hit-and-run accident lawyer in California can help you protect your legal right to compensation. Your attorney will handle the insurance claims and other paperwork so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and moving on with your life.

At Arash Law, our experienced hit-and-run accident attorneys have helped many victims obtain the compensation they deserve. We know how to work with law enforcement and insurance companies to get compensation for your injuries.

In addition, we know how to find alternative sources of compensation for your injuries, such as uninsured motorist coverage or the Crime Victims Compensation Fund

You don’t have to face these challenging circumstances alone. Let an experienced hit-and-run victim lawyer protect your legal rights. The best hit-and-run lawyers in California are right here at Arash Law. Our experienced car accident attorneys have over twenty years of experience and have collected over 200 million dollars for our clients. We have helped accident victims in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and throughout California. We can help you access all sources of compensation so that your legal rights are protected.

Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California lawyer for hit-and-run victims.  The first thing you need to know is what to do immediately after you are struck by a hit-and-run driver. Follow these tips to stay safe and protect your legal rights: 

FAQ About California Hit and Run Accidents

Here are some of the most common questions our auto accident lawyers receive about hit-and-run accidents: 

What constitutes a “hit-and-run” under the California Vehicle Code? 

hit-and-run”-under-the-California-Vehicle-Code - Arash Law California - Personal InjurySection 20002 of the California Vehicle Code requires drivers to immediately stop the vehicle (at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists) after being involved in an accident that resulted in damage to any property. The driver must also do one of the following: 

  • Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.
  • Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

Failure to do these things after an accident is a crime. Hit-and-run drivers who cause property damage can be charged with a misdemeanor and prosecuted in the criminal courts of California. Section 20001 of the California Vehicle Code also provides more serious penalties for hit-and-run drivers who cause injuries to other drivers. These cases can often be charged as felonies.

What Are The Penalties For Hit and Run Drivers in California? 

If a hit-and-run driver has only caused property damage, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail and $1000 fine (or both). Hit-and-run drivers who cause injuries face more serious penalties. Section 20001 allows these drivers to be jailed for up to a year and face fines of $1000 to $10,000. If the victim is seriously injured, Section 20001 recommends an additional ninety days to four years of imprisonment.

The Section does allow judges to reduce or eliminate this additional sentence “in the interests of justice.”  If the victim dies, and the hit-and-run driver is convicted of involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide, the hit-and-run driver will face an additional five years in state prison. The Section does not allow a judge to reduce or eliminate this added prison time in the case of the victim’s death.


California-Auto-Accident-Lawyers-Helping-Hit-and-run-Victims - Arash Law California - Personal Injury


What Are Common Criminal-Charges Associated with Hit and Run Accidents? 

In addition to the misdemeanor and felonies created by Sections 20001 and 20002 of the California Vehicle Code, several other crimes are often associated with hit-and-run accidents. Often, people who get into accidents while committing these crimes panic and flee the scene, not realizing that doing so will only get them in more trouble. Here are some of the most common offenses associated with hit-and-run accidents: 

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs:  Section 23152 of the Vehicle Code prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any combination thereof. “Under the influence” means that a driver’s physical or mental abilities are impaired to the extent that he can no longer drive as well as a cautious sober person. In California, motorists can be prosecuted under this statute even if their blood alcohol concentration was below 0.08%. Penalties for a DUI conviction may include misdemeanor probation, fines, DUI school, and a driver’s license suspension.
  • Driving without a license: Section 12500 of the Vehicle Code makes it unlawful for a person to drive in California without a valid driver’s license.  The driver’s license does not have to be from California. It can be from any jurisdiction as long as it was issued by the state or country in which the driver resides, and it is currently valid for the type of vehicle driven. Driving without a valid license can be charged as either a California misdemeanor or a non-criminal infraction. As an infraction, driving without a license carries a potential fine of up to $250.  Misdemeanors can be punished by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

What Are The Most Common Types of Hit and Run Crashes?

Cars getting hit parked is a surprisingly common occurrence. If your car is safe in a parking spot, leave it where it is while you call the police. Keep in mind that there might be security footage that captured the accident. Contact the store, parking management, or other company that operates the lot where the accident occurred to see if they have security cameras. You should do this as soon as possible. Security footage isn’t kept for very long. If you wait a day or two, the footage might already be erased. 

It is also common to be rear-ended at a stop sign or red light. This often happens when the rear driver was not expecting to stop (such as when a light turns yellow). Rear-end accidents are almost always the fault of the rear driver. This is why some drivers will try to take off after rear-ending another vehicle. If this happens, follow our tips for hit-and-run accidents. Pull your vehicle over in a safe location and call local law enforcement to report the accident. 

How do I File an Insurance Claim After a Hit-and-Run Accident in California?

If police are not able to locate the hit-and-run driver (or if that driver has no auto insurance), you still might be able to file a claim through your own auto insurance. Medical payments coverage (Med Pay) is an optional coverage that compensates you for your medical bills incurred due to an auto accident. It does not matter who was at fault for the accident or even what vehicle you were in. If you are a named policyholder on this optional coverage, you are entitled to file a claim for medical bills incurred because of auto accident injuries. Another optional coverage is uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This will pay for injuries caused by a driver who either has no insurance or does not have enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries fully. If a hit-and-run driver cannot be located, uninsured motorist coverage will apply.

Notice that these are optional coverages. If you only have the minimum auto insurance coverage required by law, you may not be able to access any compensation through your own auto insurance policy. Carefully review your auto insurance with your agent to be sure you have appropriate coverage. 

Will a Hit and Run Accident Affect The Cost of my Car Insurance?

Medical payments and UM/UIM are “no-fault” coverages. This means that they are not based upon your own liability in a car accident. As a result, your auto insurance premiums should not increase based on making Med Pay or UM/UIM claims. There are, however, many other reasons why insurance premiums can increase. Ask your insurance agent if you have questions about changes to your premium that occur after filing a no-fault claim (such as medical payments, UM, or UIM coverage).

Hit & Run Statistics in California

CBS Sacramento reports that California led the nation in fatal hit-and-run accidents in 2016. Of 2,049 fatalities due to hit-and-run accidents in the United States that year, 337 of them occurred here in California. This was the highest annual number of hit-and-run fatalities ever recorded in the state. It was also a sixty percent increase from 2009. California is only the seventh-highest state for hit-and-run accidents on a per capita basis, but that is still too high. Nearly 65 percent of all hit-and-run victims were pedestrians and bicyclists. 

The good news is that some California cities are seeing a decline in hit-and-run fatalities. San Francisco had twenty deaths in hit-and-run accidents in 2017, which was the lowest number since this statistic started to be tracked. But conviction numbers remain discouraging. Curbed reports that less than one percent of drivers who fled the scene of an accident causing an injury were eventually convicted of a felony. Public safety and awareness campaigns are an important step. Ultimately, though, it is up to individual drivers to take responsibility for stopping at the scene of an accident. 

Experienced California Auto Accident Lawyers for All Hit and Run Accidents

Searching for a “hit-and-run lawyer near me”? The best auto accident lawyers in California are right here at Arash Law. Our experienced lawyers have collected millions of dollars for auto accident victims over many years, and California hit-and-run victims trust Arash Law to protect their legal rights. Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California lawyer for hit-and-run accidents

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DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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