How to Protect Yourself After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident – The Karan S. Gill Law Firm
Hit-and-run auto accidents are unfortunately common in California and can leave victims in a tough spot when it comes to recovering compensation for the damage. Although California law requires all drivers involved in a collision to remain at the scene at least until information has been exchanged, many drivers flee from the crash in order to avoid liability. This makes it difficult to identify the responsible party and make the victim whole for any property damage or personal injury suffered.
If you are ever the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, keep the following tips in mind:
Make an effort to identify the responsible party.
Before the fleeing vehicle leaves your sight, try to take a mental picture of the car and its driver. Pay particular attention to the model and color of the car, and if at all possible, the license plate number. Also take note of the driver’s appearance.
Any bit of identifying information you can remember about the hit-and-run vehicle and its driver will be helpful in holding the responsible party accountable. Of course, if you can get your camera or smartphone out in time, pictures of fleeing car can be extremely helpful.
Call the police and get medical attention.
Call the police as soon as possible after a hit-and-run accident. If you are injured, ask that an ambulance is sent to the scene as well. Calling for help immediately will ensure that the police have the best chance of finding the driver and that you get the medical help you need.
While you wait for help to arrive, ask any witnesses in the area to remain at the scene to talk to the police. Bystander witnesses to a car accident often leave before giving a statement to the police. However, the information they provide can be helpful in identifying the driver.
Once the police arrive, give them all the information that you have about the accident and what you noticed about the hit-and-run vehicle.
File an insurance claim.
Following a hit-and-run accident, you should file an insurance claim for the damage to your car and any injuries you suffered. If the at-fault driver has been found and has an auto insurance policy, you will make the claim with their insurer. However, if the driver is never identified or does not have insurance, the situation may be more difficult. If this is the case, you may be able to make a claim with your own insurance company, depending on the coverage you have.
Ideally, your policy includes underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for your injuries when the responsible party does not. You may also have paid for medical coverage, which pays for a limited amount of medical bills after an accident, or collision coverage, which would pay for damage to your car. These types of coverage are optional, however, and they are not included in California minimum coverage.
Consult with a car accident attorney.
If you are worried about obtaining the compensation you deserve after a hit-and-run accident, it is important to have a competent California personal injury attorney in your corner. If you have been injured in an accident, please contact the experienced legal team at The Karan S. Gill Law Firm today for a free consultation.