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Silverthorne Attorneys is a personal injury law firm in Orange County whose top priority and singular focus is the people we represent. We work diligently to make sure that our clients are well taken care of and that their needs are not only met, but come first. Injured now? Do not hesitate to reach out to Silverthorne Attorneys for a free consultation.
What to do After a Hit-and-Run
So, you’ve been hit by someone who fled the scene of the accident and you are suffering from serious injuries. What now? Well, that is exactly what we are here to answer for you. You should never have to worry about how you are going to pay for your treatment or how to fix your vehicle. As an accident lawyer in Orange County, we have seen how hit-and-run accidents affect the lives of our clients. And you deserve to be heard and compensated for your injuries. If you are suffering from injuries due to a hit and run, contact us to discuss your case. Consultations with an auto accident attorney in our office are free!
Accident Lawyer | Hit-and-Run
Before we go into what to do after a hit and run, let’s discuss what a hit-and-run is. A hit and run is defined as an accident where a driver leaves the scene without stopping to identify themselves to the other driver. Essentially, they hit your car and then take off. All in hopes that they will not suffer from the consequences of their actions. However, when you are the victim of a hit and run, the damages can be severe.
Did you know that hit and run in the state of California is a serious crime? And if someone is seriously injured, jail time may be included in the sentence. So, what exactly qualifies as a hit-and-run? Below, we will go over that and more.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
In the state of California, a hit-and-run is defined as a driver who leaves the scene of the accident without providing contact information to the other driver(s). In more serious accidents it can mean leaving the scene of a serious accident before the police come and take a report. For example, if someone rear-ends you on the freeway and then leaves the scene before the police arrive, it is considered a hit-and-run. Drivers are expected to provide what is called “reasonable assistance.” This includes waiting at the scene for the police or if there are serious injuries, waiting for the ambulance.
One very important thing to note is that a hit-and-run is not defined by who is considered the at-fault driver. For example, even if you are not the one responsible for the accident, when you leave the scene without exchanging information with the other driver, you have committed a hit-and-run. Furthermore, if flee the scene after an accident, running will suggest a measure of guilt on your part.
Auto Accident Attorney | After a Hit-and-Run
Now that we have gone over what is considered to be a hit-and-run, now our accident lawyer is going to go over what to do after a hit-and-run. If you are hit by someone who flees the scene the scene of the accident, make sure you and any passengers are safe. Afterwards, if it is possible, try to collect as much information as you can about the other vehicle. This includes but is not limited to the following information:
- Make of the car;
- Model of the car;
- Color of the car;
- Driver’s appearance;
- Details surrounding the accident;
- What lead to the crash and what the conditions the roads were in at the time of the incident, etc.
You want to take down as much information as you can about the vehicle. If you or anyone else is able to get a description of the vehicle along with the license plate number. Likewise, if there are any witnesses to the accident, try to get as much information as you can from them. This will help your auto accident attorney build a case and it will also help the police find the person who fled the scene. Take as many pictures of the scene as possible. This includes pictures of your vehicle, other vehicles that may be involved, injuries sustained at the time of the accident, the scene of the accident, etc. You want to make sure you get as much documentation as possible.
How to File a Hit-and-Run Claim
After you have contacted the proper authorities and the police have filed their report, you then need to contact your insurance company. As auto accident attorneys, we know that people may be hesitant to do so. However, it is very important that you file a claim after any accident. Believe it or not, your insurance premiums will not go up if you are the victim of a hit-and-run. In fact, most insurance companies have UM policies that will cover damages due to a hit-and-run accident. However, this will have to be done through your own insurance. See our article on Why Uninsured Motorist Coverage is Important.
When it comes to filing a claim, make sure that you are honest with the police as well as the insurance company. You never want to leave anything out or fabricate the details of the incident. This is because the insurance companies will have their own investigators looking into the details of the accident. Therefore, if you leave anything out or fabricate any part of the accident, you may end up losing your claim.
Personal Injury Attorney: Advice on Hit-And-Runs
When a person behind the wheel leaves the scene after hitting someone else’s vehicle, that is considered a hit-and-run accident. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you were probably left in a state of anger and confusion. You were hit by someone, and he or she did not stop to render any type of aid or stop ahead to call the police. We know, as a personal injury attorney, understandable to be upset in a situation like that.
Unfortunately, these accidents occur more often than they should. Sometimes the person who is responsible may not be found, and that is a sad reality. There are some things that a Laguna Beach personal injury attorney advises you do in order to recover your losses after being injured in the hit-and-run.
Make A Call To The Police If You Can
If you are able to use your phone, call the police to notify them that you were hit and the driver left the scene. If you are unable to call yourself, and there are other people around, ask someone to call for help.
Every Piece Of Information Is Valuable
The driver should be held accountable for what he or she did, but in order to be held accountable that person needs to be found. Make not of every information that you can about the vehicle, such as the color, the make, the model, the license plate number, and any thing else that you can remember. Some vehicles have stickers, flags, scratches, dents, and other things that can be used to distinguish that vehicle from others.
It is understandable that you may not be able to get this information, but if anyone saw this accident, get information from them. It is advisable to get their information such as name and phone number, just in case you need to call them for additional help. There may be traffic cameras in the area, so make note of that as well.
Taking pictures of the scene is also helpful. If you have a camera or your phone has a camera, take different pictures at different angles. Some of the other car’s paint may be on your vehicle, and if you see it, takes photos of that. Give the information to the police when they show up to the scene, but make sure you have multiple copies of that information.
Don’t Forget Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company of what happened. Give them all of the information that you have, and inform them that you have spoken with the police. The more information you can give your insurance company, the better. You want your insurance company to believe that you were involved in a hit-and-run because you were. You do not want to give them any reason to believe you are lying.
The police can not find every driver who hit someone and left, but an attorney may be able to help you find that driver or increase your claim value. If you would like a consultation or you need additional information about hit-and-run accidents, contact us.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today!
As a personal injury attorney, we know that the time after your accident is very stressful. That is why we are here to help. We want to make sure that you receive the best representation possible. We will never accept a settlement offer that is not adequate to cover your injuries. Seeing as we know the tactics of the insurance companies, we will fight to do what is right for you.
If you are suffering from injuries due to the negligence of another, contact a personal injury attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys. Consultations are free!