Under California law, all drivers involved in an accident must pull over and exchange their insurance and driver’s license information. This is true regardless of who caused it. A person who flees the scene of an accident can be charged with either misdemeanor or felony hit and run crimes. And if the person who flees the scene is at fault for the crash, they can also be held liable for the resulting damages.
Unfortunately, hit and run car accidents in California are notoriously challenging to litigate. It’s essential to work with a Los Angeles attorney who has extensive experience in this area of the law. At Salamati Law, our team has worked on these cases for decades. We understand how to navigate the many complexities associated with them.
A quick look at hit and run accidents
California has the dubious distinction for having some of the most hit and run accidents in the nation. In 2016 alone, 337 of the thousands of hit and run accidents occurring annually– involved at least one fatality. From 2006 to 2016, nearly 3,000 hit and run accidents in California killed at least one person.
A driver is less likely to flee the scene of an accident if the crash occurs in an area that is well-lit at night, in a heavily trafficked area, or has lots of potential eyewitnesses in the vicinity. However, drivers are more likely to flee if the crash occurs at night and on a smaller road with a lower speed limit.
The speed limit is thought to be significant because an accident on a highway with a higher speed limit will typically result in more catastrophic damage– the driver may not be capable of driving away. In addition, drivers who are impaired by alcohol or other substances may be more likely to flee because they fear legal trouble.
Who is at fault in hit and run car accidents in California?
People who know they were not at fault for an accident aren’t often tempted to flee the scene. Quite often, the driver who does flee the scene knows they are probably responsible for causing it. However, this will have to be proven with evidence.
When you contact Salamati Law after a hit and run car accident in Los Angeles, our investigative team will get to work compiling all available evidence. We’ll take a look at the police report you filed, speak with any eyewitnesses, obtain traffic camera footage, if available, and evaluate the physical damage to your car and any structures near the road that may have been involved.
We’ll use the evidence to build a solid case against the at-fault driver if they can be located. If the police cannot identify the other driver, we can negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf to help you obtain maximum compensation. Alternatively, we may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party, such as a vehicle manufacturer or municipal entity– if defective parts or shoddy road construction played a role in the crash.
What are the next steps after getting in a hit and run car accident?
If your car is still in working condition, you may be tempted to chase after the other driver in an attempt to hold them accountable. Resist this temptation, as it will only complicate the investigation. Further, the police may decide that you were partially responsible. You also can’t know the state of mind of the other driver—they may be aggressive and potentially violent. Prioritize your safety and do the following:
- Write down as much info as you can about the other driver and their car, such as license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle
- Call 911 and report the accident, providing information about your location, the other vehicle, and its direction.
- If there are eyewitnesses nearby, ask for their names and contact info.
- Seek medical attention as soon as the police clear you to leave the scene.
- Call the experienced legal team at Salamati Law.
A car hit and run accident lawyer in Los Angeles
Since it’s challenging to recover compensation following a hit and run accident, it’s of the utmost importance that you hire an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer. At Salamati Law, our legal team routinely handles hit and run car accidents in California, including those where the at-fault driver cannot be identified. A highly qualified attorney can help you secure maximum compensation from your insurance company or, if possible, file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
We’ve recovered millions in settlements and verdicts over the years, and we look forward to helping you. Call today to request your free, no-obligation case review.