Traffic laws exist to protect drivers and reduce the risk of property damage, injuries, or death. But accidents inevitably occur, particularly in densely populated cities like Sacramento. Such incidents can be traumatic, whether you are involved as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or property owner.
Regardless of whether the incident is a result of negligence, recklessness, traffic hazard, or some other factor, all parties involved in a collision have a responsibility to stop as soon as they recognize they have caused harm. When a driver does not do so, they may be subject to legal consequences.
If you or a loved one is a victim of a hit and run car accident, the Sacramento hit and run accident lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help you seek financial awards. Call 800-598-7557 to speak with a staff member to schedule a no-obligation consultation and determine if you have a case.
Car Accident Laws in California
A hit-and-run consists of any collision in which a driver leaves the scene without providing “reasonable assistance” to the other driver, property owner, or other injured parties. Reasonable assistance can include actions such as calling an ambulance if the other party needs medical assistance, or in less serious incidents, leaving contact information. In a more severe incident, it is a situation in which the driver leaves without speaking to the police. The only exception is if a driver must leave the scene to seek immediate medical care for themselves or someone else.
There are two laws in California pertaining to hit and run car accidents. The first involves leaving the scene of an accident after causing property damage only. This misdemeanor offense, can include hitting a parked car in a lot or other property-related damage. The second, a felony, involves fleeing the scene after causing the injury or death of someone.
Holding those at fault accountable involves a complex legal process consisting of gathering and presenting specific evidence to prove the driver caused harm and knowingly fled the scene.
Hit and run drivers can face these criminal charges, but they can face civil repercussions for their actions, too. Victims must also abide by the state statute of limitations, a time limit within which a person can bring charges against another party following an incident. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, anyone seeking compensation in a lawsuit for a personal injury, such as a hit and run car accident, needs to do so within two years of the date of the offense.
A Sacramento hit and run accident lawyer can help you build a case and seek justice.
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Sacramento, call 800-598-7557
Compensation Available in Hit and Run Accidents
Victims of hit and run accidents can experience significant physical and psychological pain and suffering that may last for months or even a lifetime. They may also suffer severe losses in the form of property damage, medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and lower quality of life. If a person dies in a hit-and-run collision, their survivors can suffer significantly as well.
If you have suffered because of another driver’s actions, a Sacramento hit and run accident lawyer can help you seek compensation including:
- Property repair or replacement costs.
- Lost income or earning capacity.
- Past, current, or anticipated medical and rehabilitation expenses.
- Financial awards for psychological pain and mental anguish.
- Cost of hiring staff to perform essential activities you can no longer do due to your injuries.
- Loss of consortium.
- Cost of funeral or memorial and burial expenses if a loved one died because of their injuries.
Sacramento Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-598-7557
Where to Seek Compensation
In California, a victim can seek compensation from their own insurance company or from the other driver or their insurance provider. With hit-and-runs, seeking compensation from the other driver is dependent upon the ability to identify the offending party. Police or your lawyer may be able to help you do this.
Usually, victims seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. State law sets a mandatory minimum for auto insurance coverage for this purpose. However, if a driver was uninsured or underinsured, you may pursue a civil claim against the driver. It may be difficult to collect the full amount owed if the driver does not have sufficient resources to pay you, however. Likewise, insurance providers may attempt to avoid liability by claiming their policyholder was not at fault. Or, they may claim you are partially at fault to decrease the amount of your settlement. If the insurance company makes an inaccurate fault determination or the settlement offer is insufficient, a lawyer can help you file a civil suit.
Victims of misdemeanor hit and runs used to have the option for a civil compromise, although this particular type of case is no longer included under California Penal Code 1377. This option to resolve the situation with a civil settlement in lieu of other punishments is no longer an option for hit-and-runs as of early 2019, per the California Court of Appeal. Nevertheless, you may still be able to seek compensation through other civil means.
You can also seek compensation from your own insurance company, according to the California Department of Insurance. If you are unable to find the driver who fled the scene, this may be the best option. There are a few possibilities. If you have collision insurance, you can file a claim for vehicle repairs and the cost of renting a car while yours is with a mechanic or body shop for repairs. Uninsured motorist policies can cover your losses if the driver was not insured or if you are unable to find the driver, while underinsured coverage can provide compensation if the other motorist’s policy does not help you pay for your losses.
A Sacramento Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident in Sacramento, you can get help from an attorney as you negotiate a settlement of go through the civil lawsuit process. A lawyer can support you by:
- Gathering evidence to prove fault and damages.
- Designing a strategy based on your circumstances.
- Seek justice and compensation on your behalf.
- Communicating with you throughout the process to keep you updated and address any questions and concerns.
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Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC Today
Car accidents can be devastating and have multiple severe, long-term effects on victims and their families. While most drivers take responsibility for their actions in such situations, others must be brought to justice through legal action. If you have suffered a loss because of a hit and run car accident in Sacramento, you can count on the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, for help. Call the firm at 800-598-7557 to discuss your situation and determine if you have a case.