Any car accident can be an overwhelming experience. When the case involves a hit-and-run driver, everything becomes more complicated. Your legal rights could be placed in even more danger, which is why it is important to hire an Orange County hit-and-run accident lawyer as soon as possible.
The experienced injury lawyers at our trusted firm know how to find all potential defendants and insurance policies that could cover your injuries. We work hard to be sure that you are not missing out on the compensation you are legally owed. Don’t be discouraged if you have been the victim of a hit-and-run. We are here to help. Learn more about hit-and-run accidents, like what they are, who is liable for them, what compensation you are owed, and how our car accident lawyers fight to protect the rights of hit-and-run victims.
Paz v. Airfax Logistics (settled on 5/26/2020) – settlement in a case involving a client who was involved in a trucking accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury and other trauma.– TINA ESHGHIEH
“Hit-and-run” is also sometimes referred to as “fleeing the scene.” Both of these names refer to a specific crime that a driver commits. California law requires drivers to stop after they have been involved in an accident. Drivers who fail to do so can be charged with a crime. Under California Vehicle Code Section 20002, this offense is a misdemeanor if the accident caused property damage.
The defendant can be fined up to a thousand dollars and sentenced to up to six months in jail. If, however, the accident resulted in injuries or death, the penalties are much more severe. Section 20001 of the California Vehicle Code makes it a felony to leave the scene of an accident that results in injuries or death.
A person convicted of this felony can be sent to prison for up to four years and fined up to ten thousand dollars. If a driver is charged with a misdemeanor or felony for hit-and-run, this criminal charge is separate from your civil claim for compensation for your injuries.
It is important to understand the difference between criminal charges and a civil claim. Criminal charges can be filed against a hit-and-run driver. This case is handled by a prosecutor in the criminal court. It may result in jail time or fines for the offender, but it usually does not get you the compensation you are owed for your injuries, which is why it is also important to hire an injury lawyer to handle your civil claim. Document all of your injuries and losses and demand the compensation you are owed for them.
After a hit-and-run accident, it is common for both a criminal case and a civil claim to be filed against the driver. These are separate cases. The outcome of one case does not necessarily affect the outcome of the other case. It is important for the police to file criminal charges so that hit-and-run drivers face the consequences of their illegal actions.
These criminal cases are not, however, intended to get victims the compensation they are owed for their injuries. Be sure to hire an injury lawyer to pursue your civil claim so that you are not left without the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
There are many reasons why hit-and-run drivers choose to leave an accident scene. A driver may be worried about their immigration status or have outstanding warrants. Perhaps they have parking tickets or administrative issues with the DMV. Often, however, a hit-and-run driver has committed another crime before fleeing the scene of the accident, such as:
Traffic infractions are a particular issue for those who hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Commercial drivers are held to high standards of safety, and even a minor traffic violation could jeopardize their career. A traffic violation could endanger a CDL even if the driver was off duty and in a personal vehicle at the time. If the driver is on duty in a commercial vehicle, they could be covering evidence of commercial infractions, such as:
All of these are legal issues that are separate from an injury victim’s legal right to compensation. When the DMV, prosecutors, and other agencies get involved, it can be easy for the victim’s rights to get lost in the shuffle. When you hire an Orange County hit-and-run accident lawyer, you will have legal professionals fighting on your side, ensuring that you have someone advocating for your rights at every step of the legal process.
Value Penguin reports that over seventeen thousand victims have been killed in the U.S. between 2010 and 2019. California had the highest number of hit-and-run fatalities. Our 3,056 deaths represented 17 percent of the total number of fatalities.
Worse still, the number of hit-and-run fatalities increased by 44 percent between 2010 and 2019, indicating that road deaths are on the rise. It also shows that it is more important than ever to hold hit-and-run drivers accountable for their crimes.
You might wonder who is going to pay for the damage and injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver. Arash Khorsandi and his experienced injury lawyers at Arash Law know how to find all accountable parties in any type of car accident case. We work hard to find potential defendants and their insurance policies to ensure that our clients have access to all the compensation they are owed. What follows are some of the most common defendants in a hit-and-run injury case.
It is not always possible to find a hit-and-run driver. Even if the police are able to locate the driver, that person might not have auto insurance. Either of these scenarios does not, however, mean that it is impossible to get a hit-and-run driver to pay for the injuries they have caused. Some hit-and-run drivers are able to be located.
If the police are able to find the driver, our attorneys may be able to find their auto insurance policy information and file an injury claim on your behalf. But even if police are not able to locate the hit-and-run driver, there are other sources of compensation that might be available to you.
Even if the driver is never located, the owner of the vehicle might be legally responsible (“liable”) for your injuries. The owner might have been negligent in entrusting their vehicle to someone they knew was a bad driver or a flight risk. Perhaps they left the keys in the car.
There are many things a vehicle owner could do to be liable for a driver’s negligence. In these cases, the owner’s auto insurance may cover damages caused by the hit-and-run driver. While it is sometimes difficult to locate a hit-and-run driver, the police are often able to identify the vehicle’s owner through DMV records.
The law requires drivers to carry liability coverage on their auto insurance policies. This coverage pays for damage that you cause to someone else. But many drivers add optional coverages to their auto insurance policy so that they are covered in other situations, as well. One of these optional coverages is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM and UIM coverage).
This coverage pays for damages caused by a driver who has no insurance – or who does not have enough insurance to pay the full value of your losses. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) can also be used to pay for damages caused by an unknown hit-and-run driver. Some drivers also have medical payments coverage (“med pay”), which supplements other insurance coverage by paying for your medical bills. Our experienced Orange County car accident lawyers will review your insurance policy to make sure that you have access to all the coverage for which you pay.
If the hit-and-run driver was on duty at the time of the accident, their employer could be liable for their negligence, meaning that the company would have to pay for your injuries. Most employers cover work vehicles with comprehensive auto insurance policies. But even if the worker was in their own vehicle, the company could be liable for the accident. This situation is not common, but it is a possibility our lawyers will evaluate to be sure we have found all potential defendants with an obligation to compensate you for your injuries.
Employers are liable for all injuries that occur to employees while they are on duty. So long as you are in the “scope and course” of your employment, you are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage, meaning that workers’ compensation benefits are available to workers who are injured in a car accident while on duty. This compensation applies whether you are in a work vehicle or whether you are running a work errand in a personal vehicle.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation benefits are limited. Though all of your medical bills are covered, workers’ compensation pays for only a set portion of your lost wages. It offers nothing for pain and suffering, which is why our attorneys investigate other insurance coverage to pay for the full value of your injuries. In spite of this lack, workers’ compensation is an important supplement that can help you get your medical bills paid right away.
Some accidents are caused by defective vehicles. Auto manufacturers are liable for injuries caused by defects in the new vehicles they sell, meaning that you could have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer – even if the driver fled the scene of the accident. This situation is not common, but it is just one more possibility our lawyers will evaluate to be sure you have access to all the compensation you are owed.
The first question many clients ask is, “How much is my case worth?” Most injury victims are rightfully worried about finances at a time when the medical bills are piling up, and they might not be able to work. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Every injury victim is entitled to compensation that recognizes their unique circumstances. What follows are some of the most common losses that are compensated in a personal injury settlement.
Most injury victims will miss at least some time off work as a result of their injuries. In some cases, the victim misses only a day or two, and it is easy to calculate these losses. You simply multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours you missed. (A salary can be prorated based on a forty-hour workweek to determine your hourly rate.)
If you are out for weeks or months, it can be more difficult to calculate your total lost wages, but our injury lawyers are experienced in calculating these figures and proving these losses. You are also entitled to compensation for lost overtime, bonuses, and other compensation you would have earned but for your injuries.
Pain and suffering is often the largest area of compensation in a personal injury award. It is also the most difficult loss to prove with certainty. For these two reasons, insurance companies are known for attacking the value of your pain and suffering. Claims adjusters are trained to use a very simple mathematical formula to calculate your pain and suffering.
This simple calculation does not account for underlying medical conditions, medical complications, or the actual nature of your injuries. Arash Khorsandi and his dedicated team at Arash Law know how to prove the fair value of all your physical pain and emotional suffering. We fight hard to demonstrate just how painful these intangible losses actually were. When insurance companies refuse to make fair settlement offers, we know how to prove these losses to a jury and let your peers decide what your pain and suffering is fairly worth.
Most injury claims must be filed within two years of the accident. When a victim is left with permanent injuries, their financial and emotional losses will continue well past this statute of limitation. Injury victims are entitled to compensation for the future losses they will suffer due to their injuries. Our Orange County hit-and-run lawyers know how to prove the value of these losses so that you can be fairly compensated for them.
If you have permanent injuries, you are likely to require ongoing treatment and monitoring for the rest of your life. Our accident lawyers work with expert witnesses to estimate the cost of this care. Our Life Care Planners can identify the treatment you will need, what it is likely to cost, and how this total should be adjusted for inflation over your lifetime. With expert testimony to support your claim, our lawyers are able to persuade a claims adjuster or jury of the cost of your future medical care.
Permanent injuries can also affect your ability to work. In the most serious cases, an injury victim might never be able to return to any type of gainful employment. More commonly, an injury victim is forced to take a position with reduced hours or fewer responsibilities, which results in a pay decrease. You are entitled to compensation for whatever the difference in your earnings is before and after the accident.
If you are no longer eligible for employment benefits, such as health insurance or retirement contributions, you can be compensated for these losses, as well. Often, an insurance company will dispute claims that a victim is no longer able to work. They may ask for an “independent” medical evaluation from a doctor of their choosing. They might also ask for a career evaluation from a vocational counselor.
If their doctor or vocational expert determines that you are able to work, our attorneys can fight this determination with testimony from our own expert witnesses. We are prepared to prove what your earning capacity is, how it has changed due to your injuries, and what compensation you are owed for the difference.
Pain and suffering can be difficult to value. The problem is even worse when it comes to future pain and suffering that you have not yet endured. In spite of this challenge, you are still entitled to fair compensation for the ongoing pain and suffering you will endure because of your injuries. Imagine a painful orthopedic injury.
After a surgeon repairs the bone with pins, the victim will likely go through painful physical therapy. Then, for the rest of their life, they will have difficulty with metal detectors. This might seem like a small inconvenience, but it is a very real loss. It is also one that will continue for years. Our accident attorneys know how to prove all the future losses you will suffer – and what it will take to fairly compensate you for them.
If you are permanently disabled in a hit-and-run accident, you might have to alter your home or vehicle to accommodate your new life. Accessibility is costly. Ramps, lower countertops, roll-in showers, and other home renovations can quickly run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Accessible vehicles are also expensive – usually far more costly than the same model without the accessibility features.
Our Orange County injury team knows how to prove the value of all the alterations you need to accommodate your injuries. We work hard to be sure that our clients are fairly compensated for all the financial losses they incur as a result of their injuries.
Any accident is overwhelming, but when a driver chooses to hit and run, you are under even more stress than usual. You don’t have to deal with the situation on your own. Our experienced hit-and-run accident attorneys fight for your legal rights and answer all your questions. We have provided this guide with the answers to some of the most common questions our lawyers are asked.
Of course, we cannot answer all your questions here, and we cannot give you information that is specific to your case, which is why it is so important to schedule a consultation with one of our injury lawyers as soon as possible after any car accident. In the meantime, learn more about hit-and-run accidents and injuries.
Law enforcement professionals use many different techniques to identify a driver who has fled the scene of an accident, such as:
In general, the tactics can be highly successful in finding a hit-and-run driver. The driver could be turned in by the owner of the vehicle or by friends who do not want to get into trouble for hiding evidence of the accident. Sometimes a hit-and-run driver will even turn themselves in. But even if police are unable to find the hit-and-run driver, you still have options for getting compensation for your injuries.
Even if a hit-and-run driver is never caught, it is still possible to get compensation for your injuries. Our injury lawyers investigate your own auto insurance policy, workers’ compensation policies, auto insurance policies on the involved vehicle, and other insurance policies to be sure that you have access to all the compensation that you are legally owed. There are many potential defendants with many potential insurance policies. We will thoroughly investigate all possible legal claims to be sure that every legal option is available to you.
If the police file criminal charges against a hit-and-run driver, the injury victim has certain legal rights in the criminal case proceedings. You might be contacted by a victim advocate from the prosecutor’s office. The advocate’s job is to explain what is happening with the criminal case and keep you apprised of your legal rights.
Victims have the right to be advised when the defendant is being released on bail and updated throughout the case. They also have the right to make a victim impact statement to the court before sentencing. The victim advocate is there to guide you through this process. Though you should not discuss your case with other people, it is okay to ask the advocate (or other representatives from the prosecutor’s office) about the criminal case against the hit-and-run driver. Keep your injury lawyer updated on any information you receive from the prosecutor’s office.
Though injury victims are allowed to negotiate settlements on their own, doing so is not always a good idea. There is a reason why injury victims represented by counsel consistently receive higher settlements than those who handle their own claims, especially in hit-and-run cases. There are more defendants, more insurance policies, and more legal issues involved in these cases. These create more opportunities for your legal rights to get lost in the shuffle.
It is important not to get confused by the lawyers involved in the criminal case, either. The prosecutor does not represent you in the criminal court. Their job is to get a conviction against the defendant for the crime of fleeing the scene of an accident. Their job is not to get you compensation for your injuries, nor even for the damage to your vehicle. If you want to get the compensation you are legally entitled to for your injuries, you need an injury lawyer to represent your legal interests in a civil claim.
You could spend hours searching online for “hit-and-run injury lawyers near me,” but you have already found the best car accident law firm in California. Our Orange County hit and run accident lawyers have decades of experience. Our experienced legal team has collected over 400 million dollars for clients across the Golden State.
We work in Newport Beach, Dana Point, Anaheim, and Orange County. Our legal team also serves clients in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Riverside, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Diego, Fresno, Sherman Oaks, San Francisco, and throughout California.
Call (888) 488-1391 today to schedule your free consultation. Don’t wait to get an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer fighting on your side. Out of all car accidents, hit-and-runs place a victim’s legal rights in the greatest danger. Our skilled accident lawyers at Arash Law led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. know how to overcome these challenges and protect our clients’ important legal rights.