Being in a car accident is upsetting and stressful enough, but when the at-fault vehicle flees from the scene, things can get even more stressful and difficult to deal with. Known as “hit and run” accidents, these incidents can leave victims feeling confused and frustrated due to the fact that they have no information regarding the driver who caused the accident. It is important to remain calm in these situations and to take the necessary steps to ensure that the insurance company and law enforcement officials are able to process the claim. In today’s blog, we will be covering what to do after a hit and run accident.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a driver hits another vehicle and leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or render aid. These accidents are considered a serious crime in California and can result in criminal charges and civil liability for the driver who caused the accident – especially when injuries are involved. The legal penalties for hit and run can include:
- Jail time
- The suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.
Additionally, the driver who flees the scene can be held financially responsible for any damages caused by the accident.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
Here are the steps you should follow if you are involved in a hit and run accident:
The very first step is to call the police and report the accident as soon as possible. If you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured, call 911 immediately. Even if no one is injured, it is still important to report the accident to the police. The police can help track down the other driver and can provide you with a copy of the report, which you may need for insurance purposes.
If possible, try to collect as much information as possible about the other driver and their vehicle and provide as many details as you can, such as:
- The make and model of the fleeing vehicle
- The direction the vehicle was headed
- The license plate
- A description of the driver
If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information as well.
Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and any other property that was damaged in the accident. This will be helpful for insurance purposes.
Contact your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Provide them with any information you have gathered about the other driver and their vehicle.
Follow up with the Police and Insurance Company
Keep in touch with the police and your insurance company to stay up to date on the progress of the investigation. If the other driver is found, you may need to provide additional information to the police or file a claim with your insurance company.
Consult with an Attorney
If you were injured in the accident or if there was significant damage to your vehicle, it may be a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the proper compensation for your injuries and damages. Working with an attorney is a smart move since they will help you with the following:
Protection of Your Legal Rights: An attorney can protect your legal rights and ensure that you are not taken advantage of by insurance companies or other parties involved in the accident.
Investigation: An attorney can help investigate the accident and gather evidence that may be critical in establishing liability and damages.
Negotiation: An attorney can negotiate with the associated insurance companies to help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Knowledge of the Law: An attorney has a thorough understanding of the legal system and can help you navigate the complex legal process, including filing a claim, attending court hearings, and dealing with insurance adjusters.
Advocacy: An attorney can serve as your advocate and represent your interests in court, helping to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
In conclusion, being involved in a hit and run accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, by following these steps, you can protect yourself and ensure that you receive the proper care and compensation for your injuries and damages. If you got in a hit and run car accident, the experienced team at Bonnici Law Group is more than happy to help! Give us a call at (619) 259-5199, or click here for a free consultation! Our team will protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.
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