What to Do If You've Been Injured in a Hit & Run Accident
Hit and run collisions occur in the United States every day. In 2016, hit and run crashes resulted in 2,049 fatalities, 337 of which were in the state of California, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Such collisions can be anything from someone hitting your parked car in a public parking lot then driving away to getting rear-ended by a driver who keeps driving without stopping to check on you or apologize.
Because California adheres to the traditional fault system, the individual responsible for an accident and their insurance company are charged with paying damages when a car accident occurs. If you don’t know who that person is because they fled the scene before you could exchange information, however, this can make filing your car accident claim tricky. Without a person to claim fault against, you may be unable to receive compensation to cover your injuries and other losses (like damage to your vehicle).
Yet, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of finding the culprit and getting paid. Our Santa Clarita car accident lawyer explains what to do if you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident.
How to Recover Damages
In a traditional liability state like California, you will either need to track down the driver who hit you in order to recover damages or possess uninsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage.
If you have UIM insurance, talk to your car insurance company about your options. If you don’t, your best bet is to try and find the driver who hit you and hold them accountable.
Steps you can take to locate the person who hit you include:
- Take note of any details you remember about the vehicle that hit you or your car—make, model, color, license plate number, what the driver looked like, any bumper stickers, etc.
- Talk to any witnesses and/or check surveillance cameras in the area to see if they can reveal more information about the driver and their vehicle
- Take as many photographs of the accident scene as possible, including any property damage and injuries
- Contact the police to report the accident and enlist their help in locating the driver (hit and runs are a criminal offense in California)
- Seek medical attention (even if you feel fine) to ensure your injuries are treated properly and also that there is a paper trail of medical documentation in case you need to file a personal injury claim
With enough determination and luck, you may be able to locate the at-fault driver and hold them responsible. Keep in mind the driver may have fled the scene because they don’t have insurance, however. If this ends up being the case, the best way to receive compensation for your medical bills and other damages is to file a personal injury claim. An experienced car accident lawyer with extensive knowledge of California law can help.