If you have been injured or suffered damages in a hit-and-run accident, you are probably frustrated over the fact that the other driver fled the scene of the car accident. But keep a cool head (you will need it), and find out what to do after a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles.
Fact: a hit-and-run accident occurs every 18 minutes in the greater Los Angeles area.
You are probably wondering if it is even possible to recover damages after a hit-and-run accident in California. As medical expenses and bills associated with car repairs keep mounting after the accident, do know that it is possible to obtain compensation for a car crash even when you cannot identify the driver.
We brought our Los Angeles car accident attorney from the Compass Law Group, LLP to outline your steps after a hit-and-run accident.
Can you obtain compensation after a hit-and-run accident?
Whether you are a motorist or pedestrian who suffered harm in a hit-and-run accident, do know that California law prohibits car drivers from escaping the scene of a car accident. Under California laws, a motorist who has been in a car crash is legally required to stop his/her vehicle and exchange names, addresses, and insurance information, with the other parties, and notify the police to get a police report.
But unfortunately, there are many motorists who choose to flee the scene of a motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California in an attempt to evade liability. Luckily, there are quite a few legal protections after a hit-and-run accident that you can put to use to obtain compensation.
So, what should you do after a hit-and-run accident? This is the question we asked our best Los Angeles car accident lawyer from the Compass Law Group, LLP.
What to do after a hit-and-run accident in California?
Collect as much evidence as possible. If you have not been severely injured and are physically capable of getting out of your vehicle, take as many photos of the fleeing vehicle as possible. Keep in mind: even a distant, low-quality photo of the fleeing car is better than no photo at all. After all, there are many photo enhancing tools that allow to get as much useful info as possible even from low-quality pictures.
Write down the vehicle model and color, and if you were able to see the fleeing car’s license plate, memorize and write down the car’s license plate as best as you can. If you have been severely injured, you may want to resort to using a recording app on your phone to gather all the information about the car that you know at the moment. Ask witnesses about the accident, as they could have memorized even more valuable info about the fleeing car.
Report the hit-and-run accident to the police as soon as possible. When the police arrives, do your best at describing how the accident happened and provide all the information that is available about the fleeing car. Also, look for witnesses nearby and let them speak to the police as well. The police can alert nearby patrols to keep an eye on a car of a particular car, model, and license plate as well as with similar vehicle damage.
Contact a Los Angeles car accident attorney, who will conduct an independent investigation, gather more evidence about the hit-and-run accident, talk to the witnesses, access traffic cameras that might have captured the accident, negotiate with your insurance company, and obtain compensation on your behalf.
Do you need a lawyer after a hit-and-run accident?
If you are legally represented by a skilled attorney in California, you will most likely be able to recover damages after a hit-and-run accident. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you have even more chances to obtain compensation even if the other motorist fled the scene. Not only does this type of insurance policy protect you against uninsured drivers, but also helps in case of hit-and-run accidents.
Do note, however, that in order to be entitled to compensation under uninsured motorist coverage in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, you are required to prove that there was physical contact between your vehicle and the vehicle that fled the scene. Also, you will have to present a police report that was written within 24 hours after the car crash occurred.
It is highly advised to hire a car accident lawyer who will help you file a claim with your insurance company to recover damages after a hit-and-run accident. Let our attorneys at the Compass Law Group, LLP help you obtain compensation for your injuries and damages.