What Are My Legal Options In A Hit And Run Accident In California?
California law requires motorists to stop, exchange information, and render assistance after a car accident, but disturbing data reveals that many drivers fail to comply with their legal duty. According to figures reported by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), almost 27,000 people are injured in hit and run collisions every year. As you may be aware, victims of auto crashes have legal remedies to pursue the at-fault motorist for compensation. When you do not have the driver’s identity because he or she fled the scene, you probably expect to suffer through the losses.
While there are some challenges with hit and run vehicle crashes, you still have options for recovering monetary damages. With help from an Oakland car accidents lawyer, it is possible to utilize resources for locating the other motorist. You may even work with your own insurance company to recoup your losses. Some information on hit and runs shows that there are legal alternatives for protecting your rights.
Hit and Run Crash Investigations
If you can come up with any basic identifying information, these details could lead in the right direction for finding the motorist who left the scene of the accident. The most important factors are the vehicle make and model, specific or unique features on the car, and the license plate. Sources of this information may include:
- Eyewitnesses who observed the crash;
- Intersection and red light cameras; and,
- Surveillance video footage from businesses in the vicinity.
Even with just a few digits from the license plate and a description, it is possible to find the hit and run driver through DMV records and other official sources. With a positive ID, you can pursue the at-fault motorist via an insurance claim. Many insurers will be quick to settle when their policyholder engaged in misconduct after the collision. Through the claims process, you may qualify to recover:
- Costs of medical care;
- Lost income for time off work;
- Pain and suffering; and,
- Many other losses.
Claims with Your Insurance Company
When you purchase your own auto insurance policy, the company is required to offer coverage for medical payments, Med Pay for short. If unsuccessful at finding the at-fault driver, your own insurance may be an option for obtaining monetary damages. Med Pay is also something to consider if you locate the motorist, but that person does not carry insurance – which is one of the most common reasons people leave the scene after a crash.
You may also have what is called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage sometimes referred to as “UIM” coverage. If you purchased UIM coverage, and the at-fault driver cannot be located or does not have good insurance, you can file a lawsuit against your own insurance company for your losses. UIM coverage is triggered if you were driving, or a pedestrian, as long as you were injured by another vehicle.
Discuss Remedies with an Oakland Car Accident Attorney
It is frustrating when the at-fault driver leaves the scene of a crash, but this information should give you hope that options are available. To learn more, please contact Venardi Zurada, LLP to schedule a no-cost free consultation with a hit and run accident lawyer. We are happy to meet with you at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA.