San Diego Hit And Run Accident Lawyer
Hit and run accidents with injuries constitute some of the most cowardly crimes. Instead of helping casualties and taking responsibility, these drivers flee the scene, leaving their bleeding victims in the dust.
California law punishes hit-and-run drivers who injure or kill their victims with a felony conviction and possible prison time. However, courts reduce some felony hit-and-run charges to misdemeanors without time behind bars.
Victims find themselves struck with the aftermath regardless of whether the hit-and-run driver is caught and prosecuted. The devastation on physical-, mental-, and financial levels shatters lives.
Victims often find themselves buried in debt, in substantial pain, and with long-term or permanent disabilities. In the worst cases, victims die of injuries, leaving their families bereaved and financially distressed.
If you suffer serious injury in a hit-and-run accident, you deserve justice. Sometimes, the police identify a culprit with sufficient resources or insurance to pay a settlement.
However, many hit-and-run drivers are poor, uninsured, or underinsured. Because of this, it’s always advisable to carry underinsured/uninsured motorist protection. In that case, your attorney can negotiate a substantial settlement with your insurer even if the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified.
Hence, you need someone who’ll be your side during the legal period . You need to hire a personal injury lawyer. For that, our experienced car accident lawyer are familiar with any type of hit and run accidents at Shamon Law are always here for you. Call Shamon Law’s lawyers at 619-458-3539 to speak with us in a free, no-obligation case review.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver neglects to remain at the scene. Some involve property damage only, such as when a motorist strikes a parked vehicle and flees; others involve substantial injury or death.
Many people wonder how a person could be so callous as to leave the scene of a serious accident, especially one involving severe injuries or death.
Typical reasons people flee an accident include the following:
Damage Is Minor
Often, when a person causes minor damage, such as another vehicle in a parking lot, they leave the scene, figuring the accident is too small for them to face repercussions. But, of course, this is false. You must remain at the scene of all accidents and report any property damage exceeding $500 or resulting in injury.
Some people only take responsibility when others are watching. Many motorists face the temptation to leave the scene if they believe no one saw the accident. For example, if they hit a parked car, they drive off and hope no one identifies them.
Underinsured drivers may fear a sizeable out-of-pocket expense and hope leaving the scene will allow them to avoid this.
Uninsured drivers face a fine in addition to the prospect of paying the entire cost of the accident themselves. Accordingly, some flee and hope for the best.
Drinking or Drug Use
Drunk or drugged drivers fear DUI charges in addition to financial liability. Also, their judgment may be impaired, causing them to behave erratically and make poor decisions.
In Progress Crime
When an offender is behind the wheel while committing a crime, he is unlikely to remain at the scene of an accident. For instance, if a car thief crashes a stolen car, he knows he’s facing years in prison if he remains there when the police arrive.
Wanted By Law
Criminals with warrants won’t wait around for the police after an accident. If they know, they are going to jail, if they stay, they become desperate and speed away.
Most of us think we would never panic and leave an accident scene. However, panic can make normally responsible people act out of character, fail to think through their actions, and make rash decisions.
Some people leave scenes out of a selfish disregard for the welfare of others, among other factors.
Most Common Hit And Run Accident Injuries
Hit-and-run accident injuries run the gamut from superficial to disabling to fatal. Common examples include the following:
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Head injuries
- Organ damage
Can You Sue Someone for a Hit And Run in California?
Yes. If someone injures you in a hit-and-run in California, you can take them to civil court and win a judgment. The fact that they fled the scene likely bolsters your case.
How Long Does a Hit And Run Investigation Take in California?
Law enforcement solves many hit-and-run cases in minutes or hours. For instance, when witnesses provide a license plate and description of the vehicle, the police often locate the perpetrator nearby.
When the violator makes it out of the area, the investigation can take anywhere from two days to two years. The length of the investigation depends on the amount of information to be gathered, the quality of evidence, and the ability of the offender to elude authorities.
Typically, police seek eyewitnesses, video footage, and other information that can speed the process of culprit identification.
Unfortunately, in some instances, the police have little to go on. For example, this is the first time anyone may have seen the license plate or driver. When this occurs, the police must determine the case’s priority. Fatal hit and runs can remain open for years, as can ones that cause serious injuries.
If there are no injuries or serious damage, the case receives a low priority, and the police may even decline to investigate further.
California Vehicle Code On Hit and Run (California Vehicle Code sections 20001-20002)
California Vehicle Code sections 20001-20002 requires all parties to an accident to identify themselves to the others involved. In addition, any accident with property damage over $500 must be reported to the police. The code also mandates reporting for all injury- and fatal accidents.
The California penal code defines leaving the scene of an accident with property damage as a misdemeanor. Fleeing an injury or fatal accident constitutes a felony.
Possible sanctions for a misdemeanor hit and run include the following:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Up to three years probation
- Two mandatory points on a driver’s license
Penalties for felony hit-and-runs include the following:
- A fine of $1,000 to $10,000
- 16 to 48 months in the California Department of Corrections
Do I Get Compensation If the Driver Isn't Caught After a Hit And Run?
You must rely on your insurance to cover your expenses without an identified violator. For this reason, it’s always prudent to carry enough uninsured motorist protection to cover a serious hit-and-run collision.
Though the policy is yours, you still need to negotiate with the insurance company to receive your total damages. Insurers may induce you to settle for a small amount and sign off on your rights to claim any further damages. It pays to have any settlement offer reviewed by a personal injury attorney, who can negotiate for a larger payment.
Contact Top Rated San Diego Hit And Run Accident Lawyer Today
It is always wise to consult a hit and run accident lawyer. They can negotiate much higher settlements than the insurance company’s initial offer. To receive all the compensation you deserve, contact Shamon Law for a free consultation.