California is the second largest state in the Continental US, but according to a 2015 study, California has the most licensed drivers on the road by a wide margin… approximately 25 million, followed by 15 million from Texas. The sad truth is that there are more car accidents in California than there are in any other state. And while California may have the most licensed drivers, it also has a high number of hit and run accidents. Just because a driver has a license does not mean that they will remain at the scene. Even a licensed, insured driver may panic and flee, leaving the victim with questions, property damages, and worst of all: injuries. So what are you rights if you are involved in an accident with a hit and run driver?
First, it is good to know that there are two types of hit and run accidents in California. You have different rights based on whether your accident was a misdemeanor or a felony, so it is important to know the difference.
- A person may be charged with a misdemeanor hit and run if:
- They leave the scene of an accident, they do not identify themselves to the other party, and another person’s property was damaged in the accident
- A person may be charged with a felony hit and run if:
- All of the above listed for a misdemeanor, in addition to someone being injured or killed.
Essentially, the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is injury. If someone is injured as a result of the accident, and the other party flees the scene, it is automatically a felony pursuant to CA vehicle code 20002.
Another thing to remember is that if one party flees the scene, it does not matter who was at fault for the accident. Even if you rear end someone, and they drive away, it is still a hit and run.
So what should you do if you are involved in an accident and the other party leaves?
- Immediately call the police. Even if you are not injured, call the police and give them a description of the vehicle that struck you.
- Even if you are not hurt, get yourself and any passengers in your vehicle checked out by a physician. Shock from an accident can hide pains until days or even weeks after the accident. It’s always a good idea to get yourself checked out.
- Call a law firm that has extensive experience dealing with hit and run accidents like Lexton Law. Dealing with the insurance companies in a hit and run can be a headache, so let the attorneys from Lexton navigate all the complications for you. We’ll get you the medical care you need, and make sure you get justly compensated for the accident. And best of all, we work on a contingency only basis, which means we don’t get paid until we win your case.
One of the most commonly asked questions we hear is: What happens if they can’t find the other car? The answer is simple. If you have insurance on your vehicle, there’s a good chance you carry something called UM/UIM insurance, which is UnderInsured or UnInsured Motorist Insurance. This is designed to kick in when you’re involved in an accident, and the other party has no insurance or not enough coverage. So, in the instance that the vehicle that struck you is unable to be found, in most cases you can take advantage of your own UM/UIM coverage. This is another area where it is handy to have an experienced accident attorney on your side. Give Lexton Law a call today at (877) 541-2111.