Car accidents happen every day in California, and the first step in recovering from any accident is proving how the accident happened. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to identify an at-fault driver. If your accident happened when your car was parked, and the driver did not take responsibility, or if you were hit while driving and they fled the scene, it is natural to worry about how you will prove fault for a hit-and-run accident.
If someone hit your parked car and left, it’s vital to consult a Los Angeles car accident lawyer right away. Your attorney can assist you in collecting the evidence you will need to identify the driver who hit your vehicle, and the local police can use this evidence to locate and arrest them.
Upon returning to your parked vehicle and discovering that someone has hit it and fled the scene, it’s natural to feel dread and frustration as you wonder how you can prove liability for the incident. It’s a good idea to see if any bystanders saw the accident occur, and if so, their statements and descriptions of the at-fault driver’s vehicle can be invaluable to your investigation. You should report the incident to your auto insurance carrier right away and take photos of the damage to your vehicle, and you are also required to report the accident to the police.
Upon handling these initial concerns, you should reach out to an attorney quickly. They may be able to determine if any traffic cameras in the area captured the accident, and securing this footage may be essential to identifying and locating the at-fault driver. Once the police apprehend them, they will be arrested for hit and run, and you will be able to proceed with your recovery efforts.
Under California law, the driver who committed the hit and run is liable for all the damages that you suffered from the accident. These could include the cost of repairing your vehicle or replacing it if they have damaged it beyond repair. If the accident causes you to miss work for any length of time, you can also seek accountability for the income you were unable to earn because of their actions.
Recovery from your accident may only require a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, but if they do not have insurance or their insurance cannot fully cover your losses, you will need to file a personal injury claim against them. Your attorney can help recover full repayment of your damages, but the criminal case against the hit-and-run driver may yield additional compensation, such as restitution or punitive damages. Ultimately, to have the greatest chance of successfully proving liability for your hit and run and maximizing your recovery, you need to have legal counsel you can trust advising you.
A: It is advisable for any hit-and-run accident victim to report the incident to the police immediately, but the legal deadline is 10 days to report any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage estimated over $1,000. The sooner you report a hit-and-run accident, the more likely the police are to locate and arrest the at-fault driver.
A: If a driver is convicted of a hit-and-run violation, at a minimum, they face a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine or both. Penalties for hit-and-run offenses increase when they result in severe bodily injury or death. If a hit-and-run driver caused a fatal accident and fled the scene, they may face multiple charges, and their hit-and-run offense could be upgraded to a felony.
A: California operates on the fault rule for resolving car accidents. This means if another driver hits your vehicle, even if it is parked, they are responsible for all resulting damages. You can file a claim against their auto insurance policy, but if they do not have insurance or their insurance is not enough to fully cover your damages, you would need to file a personal injury claim to recover the rest of your damages.
A: Insurance premium rates may increase when a covered driver causes an accident and/or violates the terms of their auto insurance policy. If your car was hit by another driver while it was legally parked, this is unlikely to lead to an increased premium for your own insurance policy. If any disputes arise with your insurance carrier for any reason, an experienced attorney can help address these issues.
A: If another driver injured you in a vehicle accident, you have the right to claim full repayment of all the economic losses you suffered, such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. You also have the right to seek accountability for the pain and suffering they inflicted, and if they caused your accident through illegal misconduct, it could influence your final case award as well. The hit-and-run driver could face punitive damages or restitution as part of their penalty along with your other civil damages.
Shaffer Law has many years of professional legal experience, and our team can help you recover from a recent hit-and-run accident. Our goal in every case we take is to help our client recover as fully as state law allows, and we can leverage our extensive experience in your recovery efforts. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our team today and learn more about the legal services we offer.