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Victims of Hit and Run

The average rate of Hit and run accidents inside the U.S has increased over the last few years. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated an all-time high of 2,049 fatalities from hit and run incidents in 2016. Based on the study, California remains as one of the highest states for hit and run deaths. It’s hard to believe a driver would cause an accident and leave the scene, but it happens quite often. A study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute discovered hit and runs, notably pedestrian hit and runs, are nearly triple the national average in Los Angeles. 

Hit and runs can present themselves in different situations. A hit and run takes place when a car hits a pedestrian, a person on a bicycle, a motorcycle or another moving vehicle, or a stationary vehicle or property, and flees the scene. The injuries in a hit and run accident have the potential to be deadly, especially if a person is walking or riding a bike. It’s advised you contact legal representation if a hit and run accident resulted in an injury or damage of any sort. Recovering compensation can be tricky. However, a personal injury attorney can help you explore your options and negotiate on your behalf.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Hit and run accidents are already a fearful situation, and dealing with insurance companies who are unwilling to cooperate does not make it any easier. Yarian & Associates, APC knows how to handle insurance companies during hit and run cases. Levik Yarian will help you file a claim, ensure you receive what you need to recover and represent you in court if necessary.  

 Schedule a time to speak with Yarian & Associates, APC. They will analyze your case and go over every step of the process with you. Call 844-620-5915. Yarian & Associates, APC represents clients throughout Los Angeles County and Tulare County. 

 Overview of Hit and Run Accidents 


Steps to Take Following a Hit and Run Accident

When you are in an auto accident, California law requires you to stay at the accident scene and identify yourself to all the parties involved. Everyone involved in the accident must remain at the scene regardless of fault. All too often, drivers at fault for the accident will flee the scene. So, how do you protect yourself in this situation? The first thing you need to do is call 911, the highway patrol, or the nearest California police authority. The sooner the police are notified, the sooner they can start investigating and find the responsible party. 

 Unless you seek medical attention right way, even as the not-at-fault party, you must remain at the scene and gather as much information as possible about all the parties involved. This type of information should include the following: 

  • Any specific details about the other drivers and passengers 
  • Year, make, model and color of vehicles involved  
  • Pictures of vehicles involved if available 
  • License plate numbers and issuing state if possible 
  • The direction the car was heading to/coming from
  • Time and date of the accident 
  • Accident streets names, accident location details, and closest intersections (if any)  
  • Witness accounts (if any) 
  • Pictures of any damages and visible injuries 

Tracking down a hit and run driver can be tricky, even with a police investigation. If the at-fault driver doesn’t show up, it will hard to file a claim with their insurance. You may receive compensation for incurred damages on your own only if you have the right auto insurance carrier. In that case, contacting an attorney specializing in hit and run accidents is your best bet for many reasons. 


Insurance and Non-insurance Coverage

After you’ve contacted the police, the next big step to take is to try to contact your auto insurance if your vehicle was involved in the hit and run. Auto insurances can offer the following types of protection against hit and run accidents:  

  • Collision coverage 
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage  
  • Additional medical costs coverages (if any) 

 However, whether it’s the party at fault’s insurance or your own, most insurance companies try to pay as little as possible. An insurance adjustor’s job is to find loopholes to cut costs and limit your coverage. You might not even have access to an insurance company if you suffer a hit and run as a pedestrian. For this reason, you will need the help of a personal injury attorney when filing a claim. 

 A personal injury attorney can negotiate on your behalf and make sure you are not undercut if filing against an insurance company. You can also submit a personal injury claim in a civil court if the damages incurred from the accident exceeded the driver’s liability coverage. 

 When you submit a claim to the court, you are asking the court to grant you compensatory damages for the injuries caused by the driver’s negligence. If you can prove the driver was negligent, you will be rewarded economic and non-economic damages to cover things such as medical bills, auto repairs and pain and suffering.

Since a hit and run is a crime in California, you can also ask the court for punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages. Punitive damages are not designed to compensate you for losses caused in the accident. Instead, they are used to punish the offender for their criminal conduct. 


California Hit and Run Laws

California, like most states, has specific laws for drivers of a vehicle involved in an accident. Vehicle codes 20001-20004 under the California legislature state drivers involved in a car accident resulting in property damages or the injury or death of another party who fails to identify himself or herself or provide assistance to the injured party should suffer the following consequences. 

Note: can vary by court

 

Damage Conviction Punishment
Property Damage Only Misdemeanor Fine of no more than $1000, jailtime of no more than six months
Injuries   Felony Fine of no less than $1000 nor more than $10,000, no more than one year in jail
Serious Injuries or Death   Felony Fine of no less than $1000 nor more than $10,000, state prison 2-4 years or jail, no less than 90 days nor more than a year

 

A lot of the consequences for hit and run in California vary by court. If the driver of the vehicle was driving under the influence, they could suffer harsher punishments, including additional jail time.  


Additional Resources

Exemplary Damages | California Civil Code – Follow the link provided to learn more about punitive damage. You can learn about situations where punitive damages can be awarded and find out if an employer is liable for such losses. The code is on the California Legislative website. 

Hit-and-Run Crashes | AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety – You can view a PDF provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety on the prevalence, contributing factors, and countermeasures for hit and run accidents. You can gain access to a chart displaying the number of incidents by state and mode of transportation of the victim. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through traffic safety. 


Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

Yarian & Associates, APC has two decades of experience litigating California personal injury law. 

Hit and run cases can become stressful when dealing with them alone or with a reluctant insurance carrier. Do not settle when it comes to what you deserve. Let the attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC evaluate your case. 

Call 844-620-5915 to schedule a free case consultation. Levik Yarian assists clients in areas such as Glendale, Los Angeles, Visalia, Riverside, Fresno, Irvine, and San Bernardino. He will analyze your case and go over every step of the process with you. 


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