Hit and Run Accident Attorney in San Luis Obispo, California
Being injured by another driver in a vehicle accident is no good especially if the other driver refuses to stop, admit responsibility, and render help, the situation becomes exponentially more challenging. Many victims of hit and run accidents are unaware that they may still be entitled to compensation for their medical expenditures, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, even though the at-fault motorist has vanished.
This compensation is often covered by uninsured motorist coverage, or UM, a kind of California vehicle insurance. If you or a loved one has been wounded in a hit-and-run accident, it is imperative that you immediately retain the services of one of our skilled San Luis Obispo hit and run lawyers.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run, call our office today to get in touch with our experienced San Luis Obispo hit and run accident attorney.
Why Do I Need a Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney?
A hit and run accident might be challenging to prosecute. If the authorities are unable to identify the criminal, you may not be able to hold them liable for your losses. Our tenacious California hit and run lawyers at 805 Law Group can explain your other options, including filing a first-party insurance claim.
Our experienced hit and run lawyers will:
- Cooperate with witnesses and law enforcement in searching for the at-fault motorist.
- Locate the motorist at blame and pursue legal action to collect damages.
- Submit a claim to your insurance carrier for your medical expenditures, property repair or replacement, and other charges.
We can examine your case accurately, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and do our utmost to secure you a reasonable financial settlement. With our skilled hit and run lawyers handling your case, you’ll have the peace of mind to focus on recovering.
The California Hit and Run Laws
If a driver bumps or crashes an unattended parked vehicle in California, the driver must leave their name and contact details for the owner of the damaged vehicle. It is criminal to flee the scene of a property crime in an attempt to avoid detection. This is a misdemeanor that carries a potential penalty of six months in prison and a fine.
Additional penalties may include three years of probation, payment for property damage, and two points on the California driver’s license. Contact one of our hit-and-run lawyers as soon as possible for additional information regarding how these points might accumulate.
If the collision is more severe, hit and run may be categorized as a crime. To be convicted of such a crime, the defendant must have been:
- Must have been the driver at the time of the collision.
- Must have caused a significant or permanent injury – or death – to another person.
- Must have been aware that they caused the accident that resulted in injuries.
- Must not have stopped to give assistance or exchange contact information.
A conviction for this crime is punishable by a fine and three years in state prison (up to 4 years if the accident t leads to death or severe injury). If you have been injured by a vehicle that fled the scene of an accident, do not delay in contacting our experienced hit and run lawyers.
The sooner you hire our San Luis Obispo hit and run lawyers, the more likely you will receive the money to which you are entitled.
What Constitutes a Hit and Run Accident?
Accidents involving a hit and run driver occur when at least one participant flees the scene without giving information or assisting the other parties involved. In addition, if you escape the scene of an accident in California without reporting it, you may face criminal prosecution. Please bear in mind that a driver can be prosecuted for hit and run even if they were not at fault.
What Are the Elements of a Hit and Run Accident in California?
If you drive in California – or any other state in the United States – you have the enormous duty of helping to maintain our roads safe for all travelers. Included in this obligation is adherence to the road rules.
If a driver is involved in an accident in California, he or she is required to pull off the road (as safely as possible) at the scene of the accident. In such a circumstance, failure to comply might be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a crime.
For a driver to be prosecuted for hit and run, the following factors must be present:
- The motorist must have fled the accident site.
- The motorist must not have introduced himself to the opposing driver.
- The collision must have resulted in property damage of some kind.
For a hit and run accident to reach the level of a felony, an extra element is required: someone must have been injured in the incident. If you or a loved one has been injured by a hit and run driver, contact our professional San Luis Obispo hit and run lawyers immediately.
What Are the Reasons Why Drivers "Flee the Scene" in California?
While you may be incapable of imagining yourself fleeing the scene of a vehicle accident, the truth remains that some drivers are far less careful than others. This is precisely why there are lawyers for hit and run victims. Every driver is supposed to stop at the scene of a traffic collision, and the vast majority of us would never consider doing differently.
However, some drivers can flee the scene of an accident, and many of these drivers are driven by other poor decisions:
- The driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The driver is already facing legal problems.
- The driver does not have insurance or a legal California driver’s license.
- The driver is an illegal immigrant.
Involvement in any of the aforementioned indicates that the driver did not initially take their obligations seriously enough. This increases the likelihood that the motorist will be able to flee after causing a vehicle collision. If you were injured by a hit and run motorist, preserve your legal rights by contacting our qualified hit and run lawyers immediately.
What is the Connection Between Drinking and Driving?
No driver on our roads is ignorant of the fact that driving under the influence is not only very dangerous but also unlawful. The physiology of driving under the influence illustrates precisely how alcohol intake might damage a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle:
- The peripheral vision of an intoxicated driver is hindered, and his or her ability to recover from road glare is lessened.
- When many elements vie for the attention of a motorist with impairment, the driver’s performance suffers.
- Visually complex objects are difficult to follow for an impaired motorist.
- A drunk driver is also less capable of making sound judgments. Getting behind the wheel while under the influence is an excellent example. This can also increase the likelihood that the motorist would flee the scene after causing a traffic collision.
Our well-respected hit and run lawyers will fight for your rights and the financial compensation you need to make a full recovery.
What Are the Common Causes of Hit and Run Accidents?
During vehicle collisions, a variety of injuries can occur. Due to the unpredictability of hit and run accidents, there may be a wait before medical treatment is rendered. Frequently, the victim’s injuries are serious.
Our professional California hit and run lawyers will seek full compensation for the following injury-related expenses:
- Damage to the spine
- Cracked or broken bones
- Injury to the internal organs
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Head injuries
- Limb loss or amputation
- Internal organ damage
- Wrongful death
To mitigate the pain and suffering encountered by our clients who were victims of hit and run accidents, our skilled lawyers handle all talks with insurance companies and counsel for the liable parties. The hit and run lawyers at 805 Law Group know the legal terminology, complexities, and nature of compensation claims and payment, ensuring that our client’s best interests are met.
Our legal advisors are willing to travel to your house or hospital to explain your legal alternatives and answer any concerns you may have about the negotiation process while you focus on your recovery. Please call our San Luis Obispo hit and run lawyers immediately if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury or other damages as a result of an accident.
What Are the Most Important Things to Do After a Hit and Run Crash in California?
If you are involved in an accident with a motorist who leaves the scene, there are procedures you may do to safeguard your chances of receiving compensation. The actions you take can aid police in apprehending the motorist and demonstrate your right to compensation. These actions include:
Collect as Much Information as Possible at the Accident Scene
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to obtain the license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle. If you cannot record this information, you must at least attempt to photograph the vehicle (maybe using your cell phone).
Contact the Police Immediately
The sooner you report the collision to the police, the sooner they can arrest the driver. Additionally, calling the police creates a record of the accident. You can request an accident report from the police station that took the report or the California DMV within a few days. This document will be useful when you make a claim in the future.
Obtain the Names and Contact Information of Any Potential Witnesses
You must remember that witnesses of an accident may stay to check on your condition, but they may immediately depart once the police and ambulance arrive. As quickly as possible, you should collect their names and phone numbers. The role of witnesses might be significant. For instance, a witness may confirm that your vehicle was struck by another vehicle.
Get Emergency Medical Treatment
You must see a doctor as soon as possible to get any injuries assessed for your health. In addition, whenever you see a doctor, a record of your injuries is created. As you improve, you must adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.
Report the Incident to Your Insurance Provider
While you should do this as quickly as possible, you must stick to the facts. You are not required to confess or identify any fault. In addition, you should not provide a recorded statement or accept a settlement agreement until you have discussed your case with one of our professional hit and run lawyers.
If you were injured in a hit and run accident or any motor vehicle collision in California, please contact 805 Law Group immediately. To negotiate with insurance companies, you need a professional specializing in auto accidents. Contact one of our hit and run lawyers to schedule a consultation.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of a Car Accident?
The consequences for leaving the scene of an accident differ from state to state. Depending on the circumstances, a hit and run violation might be categorized as a felony or a misdemeanor. Most states define felony hit-and-run as fleeing the scene of an accident in which a person is injured, regardless of whether the victim is a pedestrian or a vehicle occupant.
The penalty for hit and run crimes can be harsh. Most states impose penalties. And jail is a very real possibility for a felony hit-and-run offense. In certain places, depending on the severity of the accident and the resulting injuries, hit-and-run is punished by up to 15 years in jail.
Keep in mind that hit and run may be treated as a misdemeanor rather than a crime. Although the term “misdemeanor” may sound relatively small to some, in most states, misdemeanors are punished by a substantial fine and up to one year in prison.
What Are the Administrative Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of a Car Accident?
In addition to criminal sanctions, practically every state also imposes administrative penalties relating to your driver’s license for hit and run. Typically, these penalties are issued by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Any conviction for hit and run, whether for a felony or a misdemeanor, normally leads to a six-month suspension or loss of your driver’s license. In certain states, license revocation can last up to three years.
Your driver’s license may be revoked for life if you are convicted of hit and run, depending on the state in which you reside and the nature and circumstances of the vehicle accident in which you were involved. These administrative penalties are in addition to any potential criminal consequences for hit and run.
What Are the Civil Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents?
If you caused the accident, another party could file a lawsuit against you for the losses they sustained. This type of litigation may seek compensation for medical expenses, missed wages, and property damage.
Even if you did not engage in a hit and run at the site of the accident, this type of lawsuit is likely to be filed against you if you are found to be at blame for the vehicle accident. However, if you are responsible for a hit and run in addition to causing the accident, the court will almost certainly raise the amount of damages you must pay. In certain areas, hit and run drivers are subject to punitive penalties or “treble damages” in civil lawsuits.
These damages are granted by the court to the aggrieved party (the plaintiff), but they are not intended to compensate for the plaintiff’s actual losses. Instead, they are intended to penalize extremely risky or offensive conduct by the defendant. A hit and run may surely qualify.
These damages granted to the plaintiff are quadrupled where required or permitted by law. For instance, if the jury in a civil case awarded the plaintiff $10,000 in damages, a provision concerning civil penalties for hit and run may permit the judge to automatically increase that amount to $30,000 since hit and run behavior is extremely irresponsible and heinous.
In the majority of cases, punitive and treble damages are not covered by auto insurance. In other words, you will be responsible for paying this sum out of pocket.
Can You Recover Damages After a Hit-and-Run?
After a hit and run accident, a crucial concern for victims is who will pay for the damages. The sufferer did not cause the collision, yet the motorist at fault is unable to accept responsibility. In California, a state of at-fault, this might cause uncertainty about where to seek financial aid. Fortunately, you may find the answer in your insurance plan.
California insurance carriers automatically include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to new policy holders. A client must reject this coverage manually. The insurance provider may then advise the driver to acquire collision and comprehensive coverage to compensate for the lack of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If you have any of these forms of coverage, your insurance provider will likely pay for your losses following a hit and run.
Uninsured or underinsured driver insurance will cover a hit and run accident in the same manner as if the at-fault motorist had remained at the scene but lacked insurance. Your insurance company may provide a settlement based on the limitations of your policy. You should be compensated for your car repairs and medical expenses. Without extra coverage, your insurance provider may refuse your claim if you just have the minimum California-required insurance coverage.
What Compensation Is Involved In Hit And Run Accidents?
If you or a loved one had been the victim of a hit and run, you may be compensated for the following damages:
- Punitive damages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses, for past medical bills or future treatment
When Should I File a Personal Injury Claim?
If you sustained a catastrophic bodily injury or lost a loved one in a hit and run vehicular accident in San Luis Obispo, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury lawsuit rather than settle with an insurance company. Generally, a lawsuit will result in higher pay than an insurance settlement.
To initiate a case, however, the at-fault driver or another irresponsible person must be present. Your hit and run accident might have been partially caused by a third party, such as the city of San Luis Obispo or a car manufacturer. If so, our professional hit and run lawyers can assist you in filing a claim against the responsible party.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Hit and Run Injury Claims?
The statute of limitations for pursuing a lawsuit in California following a hit and run collision is six years, under Assembly Bill 184. This means that the prosecutor must submit the charge against the person(s) responsible for the accident that caused your injuries within six years of the date the offense happened. To learn more about the statute of limitations applicable to these types of accidents, please call our San Luis Obispo hit and run lawyers at 805 Law Group immediately.
Call 805 Law Group Personal Injury Attorneys Today To Get The Compensation You Deserve!
According to California law, hit and run accidents must be reported. Suppose you leave the scene of an accident without notifying the right authorities or exchanging information with the other drivers. In that case, you face imprisonment or prison time, large fines, and license points. You can expose yourself to civil claims seeking to obtain monetary compensation from you.
Hiring our skilled San Luis Obispo and Atascadero hit and run lawyers might be the difference between a civil compromise and the maximum statutory penalties. As an accident victim, 805 Law Group will advocate on your behalf to protect your rights and freedom. We have a tradition of offering a formidable criminal defense. Our competent accident lawyer makes all the difference.
If you or someone you know is facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident, contact our law office immediately for a free case evaluation.