What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
There are different types of collisions, a traffic accident is classified as a “hit and run” type when a vehicle causes a traffic collision that harms another human being, in addition to causing damage to your car or property and this driver does not stop to offer assistance, leave contact information or report to the police and your insurance company about what happened, but does the opposite and flees the scene, completely abandoning his responsibility. Statutes on hit-and-run accidents vary from state to state, according to the California Vehicle Code 20002 VC when a hit-and-run case occurs the prosecution is forced to prove beyond any doubt the following factors:
- The collision caused damage to someone else’s property
- You were aware of the consequences caused by the accident, such as damage to other people’s property.
- And finally, a driver intentionally failed to follow the driver’s duties imposed by the California Vehicle Code 20002 VC law on what to do after a car accident.
The duties imposed by the California Vehicle Code Act 20002 VC state that you must:
- Stopping the vehicle immediately after a collision
- Provide your personal and correct contact details to the other party or parties involved.
- In case the other party is not at the scene after the collision, they will still be asked to provide all necessary information, such as vehicle license plate and driver’s license, if requested.
According to the results of the investigation conducted by the NBC4I-California Hit-and-Run Accident Team, statistics show that every 18 minutes a hit-and-run traffic collision occurs in Los Angeles County, these data are from the year 2015, other statistics of daots collected by the California Highway Patrol indicate that collision and flight accidents accounted for 50% of all Accidents occurred, is an approximate of 28,000 incidents that were reported. The American Automobile Association reported that hit-and-run collisions accounted for a national average of 11%. Really alarming figures.
Most hit-and-run collisions also include causing damage by hitting parked cars. The Los Angeles City Council is trying to curb incidences of hit-and-run accidents, offering a $50,000 reward to citizens who offer information that helps catch and convict hit-and-run drivers who cause fatal crashes.
Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Panic attack, fear of being convicted incites the driver responsible for the accident to flee
- Aggressive driving or driving errors made by young or inexperienced drivers.
- An unlicensed driver occurs especially in cases of illegal immigrants
- Revoked or suspended licenses
- Uninsured vehicles
When is it a felony or a misdemeanor?
Hit and run accidents in California are classified into two types of crimes; misdemeanor and felony.
You will likely be charged and convicted of a misdemeanor in California for:
- Fleeing an accident scene
- Failure to identify yourself, leaving without leaving contact information to the other party or parties involved in the accident.
- Damaging someone else’s property
Misdemeanor primarily focuses on damage to private property and a hit-and-run accident becomes a felony in the event of the other party or injured parties being injured or killed as a result of the collision.
After the investigation process the police can successfully locate the driver responsible for the hit-and-run collision and if it is proven that said driver has a valid insurance policy then you can safely initiate a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation you would normally get with the insurance company.
In the event that the driver does not possess valid insurance coverage, the claim for compensation may be filed through the Office of Motor Insurers.
In cases where efforts to locate the runaway driver are futile, you have the alternative of approaching the Office of Motor Insurers for help with your compensation claim.
The consequences of committing a hit-and-run accident in California:
For both misdemeanors and felonies, a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $10,000 will apply, as well as the risk of being sentenced to jail detention from six months in prison, which is the minimum fine or if injury to a person can be convicted as a felony based on the injuries sustained and criminal record.
You can face up to one year in prison for a misdemeanor and at least 3 years in jail for a hit and run accident by causing serious injury. The penalties are a minimum of 90 days in prison, up to one year in prison for a misdemeanor and a maximum of four years’ imprisonment for a felony. When a hit-and-run accident results in vehicular homicide the penalty is an additional, five years in prison. Additional other consequences include: increased premiums or coverage cancelled by your insurance provider.
You can also get a minimum two-point addition to your driving record from the DMV department of motor vehicles. A four-point addition