Car accidents occur for a variety of reasons, including driver negligence, lack of competence or...
Being involved in an accident or causing damage to someone or their property without stopping and following the proper accident procedures is considered a crime. This constitutes a hit and run which can be either a misdemeanor or felony for the at fault driver depending on the circumstances of the accident. Each year individuals guilty of a hit and run are responsible for causing extensive damages, serious injuries, and deaths in the state of California. Hit and run accidents are often difficult to get justice for because the at fault driver is often hard to find and identify. In hit and run accidents, the victim should do everything they can to collect important information to help law enforcement officers find the at fault driver. If the driver is found, call a Los Angeles hit and run lawyer at Mesriani Law Group to discuss how to secure the maximum compensation for any damages and injuries the victim has suffered.
Here are shortcuts to the specific topics:
- Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer
- Why You Need a Hit and Run Lawyer
- Why Choose Mesriani Law Group
- What is a Hit and Run?
- What Injuries are Sustained in a Hit and Run Accident?
- What Should I Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
- If You Find the Hit and Run Driver Later
- Hit and Run Accident Statistics
- Why Hit and Run Drivers Flee
- Contact a Mesriani Hit and Run Lawyer Today
- Hit and Run Lawyer FAQs
Why You Need a Hit and Run Lawyer
Hit and run accidents claims are often difficult to pursue without an at fault party. If the police are unable to find the perpetrator of the hit and run crime, getting compensation from the at fault party may not be an option. When no at fault party is available, compensation for injuries and damages must be extracted from insurance coverage. Our team of hit and run accident lawyers can properly examine the details of your accident to secure the compensation you need to fully recover without the additional stress of trying to figure out how to navigate this complicated issue. While our team is working your claim, we will:
- Cooperate with law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles to try and find the at fault party
- Determine if there are any other liable parties that may have contributed to the accident
- Ensure that payouts from insurance companies are adequate for the level of damages and injuries sustained
- Ensure that liability is placed firmly on those at fault and not on the victim
- Maximize the compensation by analyzing the facts and valuing the claim appropriately
Why Choose Mesriani Hit and Run Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a hit and run accident, you want an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who has a history of successfully handling hit and run claims. Mesriani Law Group’s Los Angeles hit and run accident lawyers guarantee exceptional legal service to our clients and have the successful results to prove it.
Why you should choose Mesriani Law Group for your hit and run accident claim:
No Win No Fee Policy
Mesriani Law Group offers a No Win No Fee guarantee to all our clients, meaning if we don’t win your case you don’t have to pay us anything.
Proven Track Record
Since its establishment in 1996, Mesriani Law Group continues to be among California’s most trusted law firms. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients who have been victims in hit and run accidents.
Experienced Hit and Run Attorneys
Rodney Mesriani and his team of dedicated lawyers have over two decades of experience and outstanding expertise in securing compensation in hit and run accident claims.
Mesriani Law Group represents clients from different parts of Southern California and has received the highest ratings by our clients as seen in Yelp, Avvo, and Google.
Our diverse team of attorneys and paralegals also speak Farsi, Spanish, and Tagalog. Effective communication is a big part of the exceptional customer service we provide our clients.
We are available 24/7 for a phone consultation and if you are not able to visit our office, we are amenable to meet you at your convenience.
Our hit and run lawyers in Los Angeles will fight aggressively to ensure that you get the maximum compensation and justice you deserve. Contact our offices today for your free consultation.
What is a Hit and Run?
Hit and run accidents occur mostly when drivers cause property damage to other vehicles, personal property, or real estate and then leave without notifying the appropriate party. More severe cases of hit and run accidents can involve other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Any accident that involves a party that flees the scene without exchanging the information necessary to hold them accountable for the damages and injuries they caused qualifies as a hit and run accident. In the state of California, this qualifies as a crime and a driver that flees the scene of an accident can face criminal charges on top of a civil suit if determined liable. Since California is a comparative liability state, both parties involved in an accident must follow the proper accident procedure. This means that even if a driver wasn’t at fault, if they leave the scene, they can be guilty of hit and run.
- Vehicle code 20001 VC makes it a felony to leave the scene of an accident when a person is injured or killed.
- Vehicle code 20002 VC makes it a misdemeanor to leave the scene of an accident when property damages are incurred.
Driver’s Responsibility in a Traffic Accident
Both at fault drivers and victims of an accident are required by California law to stop immediately at the scene of the accident and exchange information that allows liability to be determined. In the event of any injury, both drivers are to remain until authorities arrive so a report can be filed, and information can be provided for a police report. This requires that both parties submit their name, address, insurance information, and vehicle information. In the event of an injury, drivers are also required to help injured parties or call 911 to ensure that medical assistance is on the way.
What Injuries are Sustained in a Hit and Run Accident?
Hit and run accidents are often the cause of serious injuries. This is because drivers that flee the scene of a crime often do so when serious damages are incurred and are afraid to face the consequences. Even if the accident is not severe, injuries can be delayed and can sometimes show up several days after the accident has occurred. Several injuries that can be sustained in a hit and run accident include:
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in different degrees of paralysis
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Head injuries / traumatic brain injuries
- Burn injuries
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, it is still your responsibility to stop and follow proper traffic accident procedures. However, this can prove difficult if the at fault driver flees the scene of the accident. When this happens it is critical that the victims do what they can to get to safety and take notes about any details that may help law enforcement officers find the at fault driver. If possible, make sure to try and identify the at fault driver’s vehicle make, model, color, and license plate number. Once the victim of hit and run has gotten somewhere safe, be sure to evaluate the severity of any injuries and call for immediate police and medical support. File a police report as soon as possible and be sure to follow the instructions of the medical support upon their arrival. Following the hit and run accident, be sure to enlist the help of a hit and run lawyer in Los Angeles to ensure that you maximize the potential for compensation and justice.
Reporting Hit and Run to Police
It is critical to call the police at the scene of the accident so you can file a police report while the information is fresh in your mind. If the police were not notified at the time of the accident, it is still important that a report is filed so the accident has a paper trail that documents the events for insurance and legal purposes. The police report will be used as evidence to establish a case against the at fault driver if they are caught after fleeing the scene. The police will likely ask questions that require information that the victim didn’t even know was important to the case. These details include:
- Vehicle information like make, model, color, license plate number
- Time of accident
- Location of accident
- Road and weather conditions at time of accident
- Potential witnesses
- Homes or businesses that may have cameras
- Details about the driver and what they may have been doing when they caused the accident
- Directions the fleeing driver was heading
This information may have been difficult to gather during the time of the accident due to high levels of chaos and stress but anything that can help the police find the at fault driver will increase the chances that the victim will be able to recoup damages from the liable party.
Navigating Hit and Run Insurance
If the driver that fled the scene is not found, getting adequate compensation for injuries and damages sustained falls on your insurance company. When signing up for car insurance, drivers are provided with the option to enlist in uninsured motorist coverage. This insurance coverage is invaluable in the event of a hit and run accident. Having a hit and run accident attorney review your coverage will help you maximize your payout to ensure that you are provided with enough compensation to recover fully from injuries and repair or replace any damaged personal property.
If You Find the Hit and Run Driver Later
If the at fault driver is found by law enforcement, the victim of a hit and run can pursue a claim with their insurance policy as well as file a personal injury lawsuit if their coverage is inadequate.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Hit and Run Lawsuit
Through a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault driver, a victim of a hit and run accident can seek damages for any:
- Medical bills & expenses
- Property damage repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages due to time taken off work to recover from injuries
- Pain and suffering caused by the trauma of the car accident
If the at fault driver is not found, the victim’s insurance coverage would be the next place to go to seek compensation. Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage and comprehensive collision coverage which will protect victims of hit and run accidents and cover the damages incurred. Insurance providers are notorious for minimizing payouts as much as possible, so it is critical to have a hit and run lawyer fight for maximum coverage to get the compensation the victim deserves.
Statute of Limitations on a Hit and Run Accident
According to California Assembly Bill 184, the statute of limitations or deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit at 2 years from the date of the accident. If a claim against the at fault party is not filed within this time frame, the case will be denied and restitution for the hit and run will most likely be forfeited. There are some exceptions that provide additional protections. If the injuries sustained in an accident are not identified right away, there is a chance that the claim can be extended. The statute of limitations can also be paused if the at fault driver is out of state or can’t be located. In these events, the statute of limitations can be delayed until the at fault driver is found.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
According to AAA data, a hit and run occurs every 5 seconds in the USA. This amounts to roughly 682,000 hit and run accidents every year. Most hit and run accident involve 1 driver causing property damage to stationary objects but there are still a significant number of vehicle on vehicle hit and runs as well as vehicle on pedestrian or bicyclists hit and runs. In fact, hit and runs against pedestrians account for 1 in 5 pedestrian traffic deaths across the nation.
Why Hit and Run Drivers Flee
Some of the most common reasons for a driver to flee the scene of an accident are:
- They were not aware of the accident when the impact is minor
- They thought that there were no witnesses to the collision
- The driver was uninsured or underinsured
- The driver panicked
- They were in a rush to get to their destination
- The driver’s license was restricted, suspended, or revoked
- The driver was intoxicated
- The driver or passenger was injured and needed to get immediate medical attention
Under most circumstances, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime but if the party fled to seek medical attention, a reasonable defense can be made.
Contact a Mesriani Law Group Hit and Run Lawyer Today
Hit and run cases can be complex and difficult to navigate without an at fault party so it is important to enlist the help on an experienced hit and run attorney. If you or someone you know has been involved in a hit and run accident, having experienced legal council will help build a claim against the at fault driver or fight for just compensation from insurance providers. Mesriani Law Group has experience dealing with personal injury claims and can help maximize the compensation received so victims can focus on making a full recovery. Call our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options!
Hit and Run Lawyer FAQs
What is the punishment for hit and run in California?
The punishment or penalty for a hit and run depends on the severity of the accident. A hit and run that doesn’t result in injury is a misdemeanor that can result in up to 6 months in county jail, $1,000 dollar fine, restitution for property damage, 3 years’ probation, and 2 points on the driver’s record.
Are hit and run accidents investigated?
This depends on the severity of the accident. For accidents that result in severe property damage, injury, or death, the hit and run accident will be investigated. For minor hit and run accidents that resulted in very minor damages, the case will likely be more of a civil matter which does not result in a police investigation.
How can a hit and run be proven?
Hit and run accidents can be proven if evidence can be collected that incriminates the at fault driver. By collecting video footage of the accident or the driver’s vehicle information, the police can investigate, track down a driver and hold them accountable for fleeing the scene.
What is the penalty or punishment for felony hit and run in California?
A felony hit and run accident that results in injury or death can result in imprisonment and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars.