Stockton Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys
- What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
- Statistics for California Hit-and-Run Accidents
- Types of Hit-and-Run Accident Cases
- Laws Regarding Hit-and-Run Accidents
- Offenses Related to Hit-and-Run Accidents and Traffic Laws
- What Causes Hit-and-Run Accidents in California?
- What Happens During a Hit-and-Run Investigation and How Are They Settled?
- Do the Police Ever Find Hit-and-Run Drivers?
- What Damages Can I Recover From a Hit-and-Run Accident?
- How Can a Stockton Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
Powerful Law Firm Defending the Injured in Hit-and-Run Accident Cases
Beautiful Stockton, California, is a wonderful place to live. It is the largest city in San Joaquin County, boasting a population of 309,000 people. Between commuting to work or taking trips for pleasure, there are many cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians sharing the road each day. As more people are on the roads, the chances of getting into an accident increase. You may even find yourself involved in a hit-and-run accident.
If you get into a hit-and-run accident in Stockton, it’s essential to get in touch with our experienced Stockton hit-and-run accident attorneys. At Arash Law, we have a team of personal injury lawyers who specialize in these types of cases. Led by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., at (888) 488-1391. We are here to help.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident happens when one driver causes an accident and flees the scene. If it is found that the driver that left the scene caused the accident, they may face civil liability and criminal penalties. Hit-and-run accidents are discussed in more detail below.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 20002, to be convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, the state must prove that the defendant:
- Was in an accident while driving
- Damaged another person’s property
- Knew that they had been involved in an accident
- Willfully failed to comply with any provision of California Vehicle Code Section 20002
Belanger v. City of Simi Valley (settled on 4/13/2021) – settlement in a case involving a client who was hit by a vehicle while working as a crossing guard resulting in orthopedic injuries as well as a traumatic brain injury.– Tina Eshghieh
Statistics for California Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents are destructive. Over the past several years in California, there has been a large increase in the number of hit-and-run accidents. Here are some facts about California hit-and-run accidents:
- Pedestrians and bicyclists are the groups at the greatest risk of dying in a hit-and-run accident.
- There are more than 745,000 hit-and-run accidents across California every year.
- There are nearly 400,000 injuries caused by hit-and-run accidents across the state.
- More than 2,000 people are killed every year in hit-and-run accidents in California.
Types of Hit-and-Run Accident Cases
Anytime you are on the road, there is potential for a traffic accident. There are many different types of accidents, and each can end in severe injury or death. Most accident victims benefit from a hit-and-run accident attorney in Stockton no matter the type of hit-and-run accident that caused their harm. Here are some common types of hit-and-run accidents:
Rideshare Hit-and-Run Accidents
If you are the passenger in a rideshare that gets into a hit-and-run accident, you may face an additional battle finding the person responsible for your injuries. There may be multiple responsible parties, and finding the hit-and-run driver may cause many challenges for a rideshare passenger.
Bicycle Hit-and-Run Accidents
Every driver must remember that they share the road with bicyclists. Most roads have a bicycle lane. Many bicycle accidents happen when drivers travel too closely to the bicycle lane, and the driver sideswipes the bicyclist. Because the accident happens so quickly, the chances of a driver leaving the scene of an accident can increase.
Motorcycle Hit-and-Run Accidents
Pedestrian Hit-and-Run Accidents
Commercial Truck Hit-and-Run Accidents
Finding the responsible party can be challenging if you are struck by a commercial truck. The challenge of finding the responsible party may be more difficult if the commercial truck driver speeds away from the scene of the accident. If you get into a hit-and-run accident with a commercial truck, you may benefit from the knowledge of an experienced accident attorney.
Hit-and-Run Accidents that Cause Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is extreme harm to an accident victim. Injuries classified as catastrophic are those that have a serious impact on the victim’s well-being and how they affect different parts of the body. Many catastrophic injuries include head injuries, trauma to the spine or spinal cord, or other areas of the body that receive significant impact during a traffic crash. Catastrophic injuries are usually expensive to treat. The person responsible for the crash should pay for the harm suffered by the victim. It’s important to seek legal representation from experienced Stockton hit-and-run accident attorneys who can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. The person responsible for the crash should pay for the harm suffered by the victim.
Hit-and-Run Accidents Causing Wrongful Death
Wrongful death accidents are among the most tragic types of traffic accidents that happen. The sudden loss of a loved one can be unbearable. In addition to the emotional loss, when you suddenly lose a loved one, there is also a financial burden, especially if the one you lost was the provider. A hit-and-run accident can be even more devastating when it results in a wrongful death because sometimes it is hard to find the responsible party.
Stockton Drivers’ Duty of Care
Everyone must exercise reasonable care when driving. Driving reasonably means that the driver operates their vehicle in a way that does not put another driver, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian in danger. If a driver fails to drive their vehicle safely, they may be liable for negligence. People found liable for acting negligently are responsible for paying for the injured party’s damages, including hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
If a driver does any of the following, they may be liable for breaching their duty to exercise reasonable care:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or being otherwise impaired
- Distracted driving (such as by texting, changing music, or driving while fatigued)
- Disobeying traffic laws (such as by making illegal turns)
- Any other reckless activity
Laws Regarding Hit-and-Run Accidents
Each state has its own traffic laws. In California, a person that leaves the scene of an accident may face civil and criminal liability. Under California Vehicle Code Section 20002, if a driver is involved in an accident, they must complete the following steps:
- Stop the car immediately and pull over to a safe location that does not impede traffic.
- Locate the other driver.
- Speak to the other driver and get their name and address. If the driver does not own the vehicle, get the name and address of the vehicle’s owner, too.
- Give the other driver your information, including your license number and vehicle registration.
- If you hit a parked car and the driver is not inside the car, you must leave a note giving them your name and address and a description of what happened.
- Each driver is responsible for making a police report within a reasonable amount of time after the accident.
Offenses Related to Hit-and-Run Accidents and Traffic Laws
There are some offenses related to the offense of leaving the scene of an accident. You may not think of some of these related offenses as crimes, but they are under state law. These offenses carry various punishments. Under California law, a driver is also prohibited from committing the following criminal acts.
Felony hit-and-run charges are brought against the driver if the accident caused death or injury. Under California Penal Code Section 20001, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident and does not provide identifying information to the other person involved in an accident may be guilty of felony hit-and-run if someone other than the driver was killed or injured. Before a defendant is found guilty of felony hit-and-run, the state must show that they were driving at the time of the accident, that the accident caused injury or death to someone other than the driver, and that the driver knew the accident caused serious injury or death but failed to stop to assist the victim.
Penal Code Section 20001 can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The punishments for violating this section of the penal code are as follows:
- Misdemeanor – If a driver is convicted of a misdemeanor under California Penal Code Section 20001, the driver may face a fine between $1,000-$10,000, up to one year in county jail, or both.
- Felony – If a driver is convicted of a felony under California Penal Code Section 20001, the driver may face a fine between $1,000-$10,000, between 16 to three years in state prison, or both. If the accident caused the death of someone other than the driver, the driver might be sentenced to two to four years in state prison.
Driving Without a License
Under California Vehicle Code Section 12500, a driver may be found guilty of driving under the influence if they did not renew their license or the driver moved to California and failed to get a California license. To convict a driver of this offense, the state must prove that the defendant drove on a California highway without a valid California license and that the defendant is not excused from obtaining a state license.
Vehicle Code Section 12500 can be charged as a misdemeanor. If convicted, the driver may face six months in county, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Exhibition of Speed
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23109, a driver may be found guilty of an exhibition of speed if the driver races in traffic. To prove that a driver is guilty of an exhibition of speed, the state must prove that the driver was operating their vehicle willfully at a dangerous and unsafe speed to show off.
Vehicle Code Section 23109 can be charged as a misdemeanor. If convicted, the driver may face:
- At least 24 hours, and up to 90 days, in county jail
- A fine of at least $355 but no more than $1,000
- Both jail time and a fine
- A suspended license
- 40 hours of community service
Driving Under the Influence
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, a driver can be convicted of the criminal offense of driving under the influence. A driver can be charged with this offense if there is evidence that the driver’s mental or physical state was altered by the use of drugs or alcohol. To prove that a person is guilty of driving under the influence, the state must prove that a person drove while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The punishment for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol depends on the number of times that the driver has been convicted of the crime. For first, second, or third convictions of driving under the influence, the person will face jail time in county jail for up to one year, three to five years of probation, a $390 fine, court costs, DUI school, and suspension of their driver’s license for six months. The driver may also face issues getting car insurance in the future.
Driving Under the Influence with Injury
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23153, an individual that drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes an accident that leaves a person other than the driver suffering an injury can be charged with driving under the influence with injury. The state must prove that the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident and that the driver’s actions led to the injury.
Driving under the influence with injury can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. First and second convictions for driving under the influence with injury can each be charged as a misdemeanor. A third conviction for driving under the influence with injury is an automatic felony under California law. The punishments for the misdemeanor and felony charges are below:
A driver that is charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence with injury may face the following punishment:
- At least five days and up to one year in county jail to serve
- Three to five years of probation
- A fine between $390-$5,000
- Order to pay restitution to the victim(s)
- Required to participate in an alcohol and drug education program
- One to three years suspended license
A driver that is charged with felony driving under the influence with injury may face the following punishment:
- A fine of $1,015-$5,000
- Two to four years in state prison with one additional year added for every injured person up to three years
- Revocation of California license for five years
- A strike on California driving record
- Required participation in an alcohol or drug education program for 18-30 months
- The driver has been listed as a Habitual Traffic Offender for three years
What Causes Hit-and-Run Accidents in California?
Sometimes hit-and-run accidents happen because the driver that caused the accident was unaware that the accident occurred. For example, a driver may not know that they dinged another car as they backed into a parking spot. However, most hit-and-run accidents happen because the driver that fled the scene did so intentionally to avoid speaking to the police and facing responsibility for the accident. The following are some of the reasons that drivers leave the scene of the accident:
- The driver is operating a company vehicle and wants to avoid consequences from their employer.
- The driver simply panics and speeds away from the scene.
- The driver is in the country illegally and wants to avoid immigration consequences.
- The driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both and wants to avoid jail time.
- The driver does not have a valid California license.
- The driver does not have car insurance.
- The vehicle is stolen.
- The driver is transporting drugs, guns, other weapons, or evidence of a crime.
- The driver does not care that they caused an accident.
What Happens During a Hit-and-Run Investigation and How Are They Settled?
The investigation phase of settling a hit-and-run accident usually involves several separate investigations. The first is the investigation by each insurance company. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be required to report that you were in an accident, even if it is not your fault. Your insurance company will investigate. Once the other driver is found, if they have insurance, their insurance company will also complete an investigation. Your Stockton hit-and-run accident attorney may also want to investigate the cause of the accident themselves as a part of their representation.
A typical accident investigation may include the following:
- With the aid of your attorney, you gather evidence that includes pictures, witness statements, the police report, traffic cameras, the insurance company’s investigation, and going over your memory of the accident.
- You may work with expert witnesses that can help prove your damages and injuries and connect the accident as the cause of your losses.
- Your personal injury lawyer and their team will review your medical records and summarize your physician’s notes. They will also review your medical bills and itemize your losses, and add the total to your overall damages.
You may feel hopeless after a hit-and-run accident. It seems like the at-fault driver just got away, and they will never face the consequences. The truth is that hit-and-run accidents are often an uphill battle. Trying to find the responsible parties in a hit-and-run accident alone can be an exercise in futility. Most hit-and-run accident victims need the assistance of an experienced Stockton hit-and-run accident attorney to ensure that a thorough and proper investigation takes place after an accident.
Do the Police Ever Find Hit-and-Run Drivers?
Finding a hit-and-run driver is difficult, and even the police may face challenges as they search for the responsible party. Although it can seem hopeless that the person that caused your injuries will be found, do not give up on the investigation. The police can use the following strategies to help them find hit-and-run drivers:
- The police can use evidence of property damage that they can gather from your vehicle to get a lead on who the hit-and-run driver is. For example, if the hit-and-run driver left paint on your car after they hit you, the police can use that information to create a profile of the suspect.
- The police can use video footage and pictures to their advantage. Nowadays, there seems to be a camera everywhere you look, for which you may be grateful if you were in an accident with a hit-and-run driver. The police will survey the surrounding area for all the pictures and videos that they can find. If there is a traffic camera, the driver may have been caught if they sped through a red light to get away from the accident. Local businesses may have caught the driver, the car, or the license plate number on their security cameras if located near the accident site. Everyone has a camera right in their pocket. When the police speak to witnesses, they may ask if they captured anything relevant to the investigation on their cell phones.
- As a part of the investigation, the police will search for witnesses. The police will interview the witnesses that they find and try to elicit any relevant information the witness may have. The police will speak to anyone that may have seen the driver or the driver’s car. Potential witnesses can include pedestrians, people eating at area restaurants, patrons in shops, or other drivers.
Do not lose hope if you suffer an injury in a hit-and-run accident. You do not have to figure it all out on your own. If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident in Stockton, it’s important to seek legal representation from experienced Stockton hit-and-run accident attorneys who can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. You deserve to be compensated for a hit-and-run accident, and our team of attorneys is here to help you fight for your rights.
Settlement in a motor vehicle accident; client suffered internal injuries.– JUDD ROSS ALLEN
What Damages Can I Recover From a Hit-and-Run Accident?
There are various kinds of damages that you may receive after getting hurt in a hit-and-run accident. Damages are a measure of your total losses resulting from an accident, whether they are tangible or intangible. There are three major categories that these damages fall into economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Each category is explained below.
- Economic Damages
Economic damages are obvious losses that the accident victim suffered because of the accident. These damages are tangible and may be the easiest types of damages to prove. What follows are some major areas of economic damages.
- Medical Bills
Medical bills represent the largest amount of economic damage that most hit-and-run accident victims obtain. If you are hurt in a hit-and-run accident because of a negligent driver, you are entitled to recover all your medical bills. You can recover for current and future medical treatment. Your injuries may mature over time, so it is important to avoid settling quickly with an insurance company before you become aware of the extent of your injuries.
- Lost Income
If an accident victim was unable to work because of injuries they sustained in the accident, they might be entitled to lost wages. You may be entitled to current and future lost income that is related to the accident. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for lost earning capacity. Lost earning capacity refers to a diminished ability to make money. If you can no longer earn as much money as you can before the accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for lost earning capacity.
- Property Damage
Property damage refers to any damage to your car that was caused by the accident.
- Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are the unseen losses that an accident victim may suffer. Some damages are real, but they do not have a set cost like medical bills have. You deserve to receive compensation for your unseen damages. You receive compensation based on the jury’s assessment of the evidence.
- Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are awarded to an accident victim to alter the defendant’s behavior. Punitive damages are rare, and they are only awarded when the defendant’s conduct is so beyond the bounds of human decency that society wants to prevent that kind of behavior from happening ever again. Whether you will receive an award for punitive damages solely depends on the facts of your case. California law limits who may receive punitive damages to accident victims that prove the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or oppression.
How Can our Stockton Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys Help You?
If you get into a hit-and-run accident, you may immediately feel overwhelmed. You may have a vague idea about what to do next but may lose steam once you realize that you do not know how to find the person that is responsible for your harm. A Stockton hit-and-run accident attorney can help you through each step of the process and help you achieve the best outcome for your case.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you maximize your chances of compensation after a hit-and-run accident by:
- Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf – Insurance companies are huge businesses whose only goal is to increase the profit margin. To do so, they work to avoid paying claims from accident victims. If you are not represented by a Stockton personal injury lawyer, your chances of receiving the money you deserve are low.
- Helping you prepare for trial – Most hit-and-run accident claims are resolved during settlement negotiations with the insurance company, but sometimes cases must go to trial. If you have an attorney working with you, you have someone with knowledge of the court system and experience trying cases.
- Recognizing a good settlement offer – Sometimes, it is hard to know whether you should accept a settlement offer or hold out in case the offer gets better. Your hit-and-run accident attorney in Stockton can help you understand the implications of accepting a settlement offer.
Contact the Stockton Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers at Arash Law Today
You have been through enough. After a hit-and-run accident, you need an experienced legal team with a reputation for advocating for its clients and winning cases. Managed and operated by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., the team of Stockton hit-and-run accident attorneys at Arash Law, headed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., is here to help.
At Arash Law, Injury Attorneys managed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., we have decades of experience helping people across California get the compensation that they deserve after a car accident. We have recovered over $500 million in compensation for accident victims in Stockton and surrounding cities, including Ceres, Antioch, Oakdale, Modesto, Riverbank, Oakley, Brentwood, Galt, Ripo, Tracy, Lodi, Manteca, Lathrop, Garden Acres, and County Club.
We want to help you, too. To learn more about our services and to schedule a free consultation, contact our office at (888) 488-1391 or reach out to us by completing an online contact form.