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Ultimate Guide to Hit and Run Accidents in California

Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving personal injuries is a hit-and-run, and it’s a crime anywhere in California. Victims are left to deal with severe injuries along with the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the fleeing driver. At Maison Law, we provided dedicated legal representation of the highest quality to victims of hit-and-run crashes anywhere in California.

Contact a California Hit-And-Run Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Hit-and-run drivers can leave their victims facing a lengthy and difficult rehabilitation. The victims will feel completely alone as they start to receive bills from doctors and hospitals for their care.

If you or a family member are in this tragic situation, please contact Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law.  He can earn you compensation for your hardships no matter the circumstances. If a hit-and-run driver is eventually arrested Mr. Gasparian can begin the process of demanding compensation from the driver’s insurance company.

If the driver isn’t found, Mr. Gasparian can switch gears and file a claim against your own car insurance policy. No matter what car insurance company is called upon, Maison Law works to make sure victims have what they need to rebuild their lives. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation on your hit-and-run case.

Hit-And-Run Dangers on California Roads

According to ValuePenguin research, the U.S. saw fatal hit-and-run accident rates take a dramatic leap over the course of a decade. In 2010, the fatal incidents across the country stood at 1,342 accidents.  By 2019, the cases had risen to nearly 2,000 fatal accidents. The number of total deaths in these cases rose by around 44% in just 10 years.

Unfortunately, California goes down as the state with the most fatal hit-and-runs over that 10-year-span. California accounted for an astounding 17% of fatal crashes in the U.S. For the decade, The Golden State documented 3,056 victims who lost their lives in crashes involving a driver leaving the scene.

It’s a dangerous trend in every California city. The California Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) recorded over 5,500 felony hit-and-run cases involving injury in 2021 in Los Angeles County. Those incidents led to 121 deaths. By comparison, Fresno County saw 227 hit-and-run felony cases with 13 tragic deaths for the year. San Francisco reported 576 incidents with injury leading to 12 tragic deaths.

Taking Action After a California Hit-And-Run Accident

The choice to leave an accident scene often leaves injured victims waiting on critical medical attention. This can include defenseless pedestrians and cyclists who may suffer severe injuries in the most minor of collisions with a vehicle.

This thoughtless act also allows the costs of recovery and other hardships to fall on the victim and the victim’s family. Victims may feel they have no way to seek justice if a hit-and-run driver remains unidentified, but they may still secure compensation.

It’s important to discuss your case with a California Car Accident Lawyer to determine what kind of support you’ll need and where you’ll be able to secure financial help.

Common Hit-and-Run Accident Injuries

When the occupants of two vehicles are involved in a hit-and-run accident, injuries might range from minor to severe and permanent. They might include concussions, neck injuries, other spinal injuries, and displaced joints.

When vulnerable and unprotected bicyclists and pedestrians are involved in hit-and-run accidents that injuries are usually more severe. Those injuries can include open and penetrating skull fractures, fractured vertebrae and ribs, damage to internal organs, rib and hip fractures, and arm and leg fractures. These are the types of injuries that are often permanent.

The amount on a settlement check becomes very important to the victim and to the victims family members. A serious injury could linger long after a trip to the emergency room. It may affect the victim’s ability to work and enjoy life for years to come. These possible outcomes must factor into any hit-and-run insurance settlement offer. Your California hit-and-run accident lawyer would make sure you didn’t accept an offer that left you paying for your own physical therapy bills in a year. Your lawyer would send a “lowball” offer back to the insurance adjuster and demand more.

Finding Insurance Compensation for Victims After a California Hit-And-Run

Hit-and-run accident victims and their families may feel powerless after a hit-and-run accident. It may seem hopeless that victims will secure fair compensation to help pay for all of their hardships when a hit-and-run driver remains unidentified.

But victims and their families have options under California law to seek financial support even if a hit-and-run victim is never brought to justice.

These are the two usual directions a California hit-and-run injury claim can take:

  • Hit-And-Run Driver Arrested. Once the at-fault driver is apprehended, a civil claim for damages can be filed on behalf of a recovering victim or a grieving family. An injury claim or a wrongful death claim can be filed immediately against the driver’s car insurance company. The hit-and-run suspect will face a criminal trial, but the civil claim can proceed and get settled separately.
  • Hit-And-Run Driver Escapes Responsibility. In the most heartbreaking cases, a hit-and-run suspect is never located. But victims and families still have paths to recovering injury support. Money for hospital bills, funeral costs, and other damages could be secured in a claim filed against the victim’s own car insurance policy. The claim would call upon the uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist part of the policy. If victims didn’t have this coverage, it’s important to check if the victim was covered by a family member’s car insurance plan.

It’s critical to note that even when dealing with your own car insurance provider, you’ll still have to stay on your guard. Your own insurance representative will still try to limit the support you and your family receive. This unfair treatment could mean you receive far less than you need to pay all hospital bills and other financial damages. Those costs could come out of your own pocket, all over a crash you weren’t to blame for.

Damages in California Hit-and-Run Crashes

In a minority of cases, police eventually locate a hit-and-run driver. If that driver can’t be found, there is no target defendant, and the injured victim or surviving family members of a decedent are left without an opportunity to seek compensation for their damages.

That’s the purpose of uninsured motorist insurance. When a victim of an accident who has uninsured motorist insurance is injured or dies from injuries suffered in a crash that was caused by a hit-and-run driver, that victim or the decedent’s surviving family can pursue compensation for damages like the following:

  • Past and future medical bills.
  • Past and future lost earnings.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Any permanent disfigurement or disability.
  • Diminished enjoyment of life.
  • Funeral and burial costs in the event of a wrongful death along with other substantial damages.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Have to file a hit-and-run accident claim in California?

Two years. You’ll have two years to file an injury claim or a wrongful death claim over a hit-and-run accident. It’s important to act quickly because evidence can disappear and witnesses can be hard to find as time passes.

Do I need a California Hit-and-Run Attorney after an accident?

Yes. If your accident involves a serious injury you will probably benefit from having a hit-and-run attorney. Whether you file a claim against your insurance or the suspect’s insurance, you’ll need legal protection.

Do I have to wait for a hit-and-run criminal trial before I can sue a hit-and-run driver?

No. Your civil injury claim and the criminal proceedings will happen separately. Once a hit-and-run suspect is identified, you may immediately file an insurance claim and secure compensation for your accident.

Contact Maison Law Today

After being seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver, you might believe that you won’t have an opportunity to pursue compensation for your damages. You’re not necessarily out of options, especially if you or a member of your family who was a resident of your household carried uninsured motorist insurance.

This isn’t a simple insurance claim with your own insurance company though. That’s because your insurance company knows that it’s in for big financial exposure. You’re likely to be treated with suspicion and disdain.

At Maison Law, we have extensive experience in the representation of clients in a wide variety of uninsured motorist claims and lawsuits. If you are an injured victim of an accident that was caused by a hit-and-run driver anywhere in California, call us or email us, and we’ll arrange for a free consultation and case review. Upon learning about what happened and how it happened, we’ll be pleased to answer your questions and advise you on any legal options that you may have. You might still be eligible for compensation for your damages.

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