According to the California Highway Patrol, 9.1 percent of all car accident fatalities and injuries occur in hit-and-run accidents. More than 163,000 of these collisions take place in California every year, and more than 14,000 California residents are killed or injured annually by hit-and-run drivers.
Have You Been Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Have you or a loved on been involved in a hit and run accident? Whether hit as a pedestrian, cyclist or another motorist, there is some information that you need to know and actions you should take to receive maximum recovery for your damages. If the driver responsible for the accident does not stop to exchange information, and he or she drives off before you can get the license plate number, you may be wondering what recourse you have, if any. Here, we answer this common question and provide additional information. However, you will want to speak with a member of our team before you discuss your case with the insurance company or take any legal action on your own in order to maximize your chance for financial recovery.
Why Drivers Flee the Scene – Hit and Run
Drivers who flee the scene of an accident may have several reasons for doing so. Some drivers may not realize they hit something or someone because they were impaired or distracted when the impact happened. Other drivers leave the scene because they know they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they want to avoid being tested for intoxication by the CHP. Others may be driving without insurance, without a valid license or without the permission of the vehicle’s owner. Finally, a driver may try to escape because he is wanted for criminal activity related to his driving, and he wants to avoid arrest.
Whatever the reason, it’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident with a pedestrian, a cyclist or another motorist.
What to do If You Have Been in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Seek Medical Attention
If you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver, you should seek emergency medical attention.
Record Accident Facts
As soon as you can safely do so, you should:
Write down the date, time and location of the accident.
Write down a description of the vehicle: the color, body style, number of doors, approximate age, etc.
Write down the license plate number, if you saw it, or a portion of it.
Talk to any eye witnesses to the collision and get their full legal names and telephone numbers.
File a report with the police and DMV.
Do Not Speak to Insurance Providers
If you have been injured or a loved one killed by a hit-and-run driver, especially if the injuries are serious or a death is involved, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Do not talk with an insurance company investigator or adjuster before you have had the chance to retain an attorney.
Insurance company adjusters are trained to trick you into saying things that will come back to haunt you at a later stage of the case, for this reason, it is strongly advised that you do not provide a statement until first conferring with your retained attorney.
Retain an Attorney
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the entire amount of compensation you are entitled to in a hit-and-run accident. The legal team at TorkLaw has the skill and expertise to investigate your hit-and-run accident, identify the responsible party for your loss and hold them accountable.
Finding a Hit-and-Run Driver
Finding the responsible driver in a hit-and-run accident can be difficult, but is not always impossible. Witnesses to the accident can provide information that aids in finding the driver. Video is another helpful source of information. With the plethora of surveillance, security, mobile phone and other video cameras recording these days, there is often video footage available showing your accident. Finally, evidence can be left at the scene – like a license plate falling off a car, or car parts with identifying markers.
Because memory becomes fuzzy and video often records over itself after a given period of time, it is important that you do not delay in seeking an attorney in order for them to be able to take action in securing evidence before it is too late.
Compensation When Responsible Party Cannot Be Found
If you have “uninsured motorist” coverage on your automobile insurance, you have the right to seek compensation up to the full amount of your uninsured motorist coverage (assuming you’ve been injured badly enough). If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company doesn’t have to pay you anything. However, if you have been seriously injured or a loved one killed in a hit-and-run accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible, whether or not you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
Even if your insurance protects you from being injured by another driver who doesn’t have insurance or leaves the scene of the accident without exchanging insurance information, your insurance company will still try to pay you as little as possible. Additionally, there may be other factors that you weren’t aware of that may have contributed to the accident, such as an improperly working traffic signal. Or if the injuries were caused by the other driver failing to stop for a stop sign, an inspection of the accident scene may reveal that the stop sign was obscured by a tree’s limb or other obstruction that hid the stop sign, resulting in the other driver’s failure to see it.
Hit-and-Run Attorneys – TorkLaw
The attorneys at The Torkzadeh Law Firm are experts in auto accident cases. Exclusively handling accident and injury cases, we know exactly what it takes to get you maximum compensation for your case. We will do all that we can to locate the responsible party and hold them accountable for their actions. When the responsible party cannot be found, we will use other means and explore different avenues to see your damages covered.
Retaining Our Services
The first step is to consult with one of our attorneys about your case. Consultations are free, and are provided with no obligation to you, so call us today. By calling our toll free number (888) 845-9696, we will put you in touch with the most appropriate person to speak with you about your case. If we believe that we can help you with your case, we will tell you so on the call, and provide you with information about retaining our team. A retainer agreement will then need to be signed by you, indicating that TorkLaw will act as your legal representative.
TorkLaw provides representation to our clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay a cent unless we make a financial recovery for you.