Stockton Accident Lawyer Helps Victims of Accidents Caused by Hit & Run Drivers
Victims of hit and run accidents are likely to feel angry and confused, and it can make the already difficult process of getting the compensation that you deserve seem impossible. This page will outline some general facts about hit and run accidents and procedures for handling these situations to help ensure yourself the best possible outcome.
It is against the law in all 50 states to leave the scene of an accident without following proper procedure. Generally, a hit & run accident is defined as:
“Leaving the scene of an accident without first stopping to render aid”
Rendering aid can include assisting anyone who is injured during the collision, calling the police or emergency services, or leaving your contact information so as to aid in the investigation of the accident. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident without first rendering aid in any form necessary at the time (it is always necessary to aid in the investigation by providing all of your information to other involved parties and/or the police) they can be charged with hit and run. In California, you can be charged with misdemeanor or felony hit and run. Felony hit and run charges can be brought if the incident resulted in injury or death.
Examples of hit and run accidents include:
- A car or truck hits your vehicle and speeds off
- An automobile or motorcycle hits your vehicle and the driver leaves the scene of the accident, abandoning their vehicle and returning sometime later or never at all
- A driver hits your unattended car and leaves no contact information or way of collecting damages
- A driver hits a pedestrian or bicyclist and leaves the scene without rendering aid
- A car, truck or motorcycle collide with someone else’s property and does not leave contact information or a way of collecting damages
What to do following a Hit & Run
The most important thing to do is stay calm and collect all the information / evidence that you possibly can. It is an unfortunate truth, but insurance companies and police may treat you as if you are attempting insurance fraud, as falsely claiming a hit and run accident is a common fraud scheme that plagues the insurance industry. Having more information increases the chance the police will catch the hit and run driver, and the insurance company will fairly pay out your claim.
Remember, the insurance companies are not on your side. Contact a Stockton accident lawyer at The Friel Law Firm to make sure your rights are protected.
Proper Steps to Take Following a Hit & Run Accident:
- Get as much information about the vehicle that struck you: model, make, color, unique identifying marks, and of course, the license plate number
- Record the exact time, date and location of the accident and immediately write down the narrative documenting your recollection of the incident
- Find any witnesses to the accident and ask for their names and contact information and relay this information to police
- File an accident report with the proper jurisdiction and follow up
Taking the steps outlined above will give your attorney the best possible chance of recovering compensation for you following a hit and run collision. Even if you have not properly followed the steps above and have no idea who hit you, there is still hope!
California requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, generally used for accidents caused by another uninsured driver, but also used to cover individuals who have been the victim of a hit and run. This type of coverage generally applies to bodily injury and not property damage, but in California, there is precedent for this coverage to be used for both.
Please give our office a call today for a free consultation with our Stockton accident lawyer – its OK if you didn’t follow the steps and have no idea who hit you, we can help!