Hit-and-run car accidents where the driver of the vehicle hits another motorist, cyclist or pedestrian are frequently some of the worst types of accidents in terms of severity of injuries. Not only did the driver cause damage and injury to others, but they also left the victims without taking any responsibility for their actions. Jimmie Kang Law Firm files claims on behalf of people injured in hit-and-run accidents and can address any questions you may have regarding your legal options following an incident with a fleeing motorist.
Fortunately, many Orange County hit-and-run car accident cases are compensable when a claim is filed with the injured parties auto insurance company.
When these types of accidents occur, victims may need legal advice to help them recover financial compensation for their injuries, either from a hit and run driver if they are found, or from their own insurance company in the form of an uninsured motorist claim (UM claim).
California Law On Hit-And-Run Accidents
Although leaving the scene of an injury auto accident is against the law, it happens every day. According to data from the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, 11% of all car accidents involve hit-and-run drivers. In California, there are two types of hit and run offenses: misdemeanor and felony.
Driver may be charged with California misdemeanor hit and run under Vehicle Code 20002 VC if driver:
- leave the scene of an accident,
- without first identifying oneself to the other party or parties involved, and
- another’s property was damaged in the accident.
The difference between misdemeanor hit and run and felony hit and run lies in number three above. While misdemeanor hit and run is concerned with property damage, felony hit and run is concerned with injury. Driver can be charged with felony hit and run in California if someone (other than yourself) was injured or killed.
These California hit and run laws apply to every car accident, regardless of:
- Who was at fault,
- The amount of damage inflicted, or
- The seriousness of the injury/injuries.
As a result, these laws, particularly misdemeanor hit and run, ensnare a lot of people who have no history with the criminal justice system…and no idea that they were doing anything that could be considered a crime!
Pedestrians & Bicyclists Involved In Hit-and-Run Crashes
Pedestrians and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to hit-and-run accidents. In 2010, almost 800 pedestrians were killed by a vehicle and left by the hit and run driver. It is a heinous crime to injure and possibly take the life of another and flee without even stopping to help them.
However, even if the driver is never found, pedestrians and bicyclists can still often pursue a case for financial compensation through their own auto insurance if they have uninsured motorist coverage. Similarly, if the driver responsible for the accident does not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate an injured person, a claim may be presented against the injured parties insurance company in the form of an under-insured motorist claim (UIM).
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If the driver responsible for a hit and run accident is never found by the authorities, all hope for financial compensation is not lost for the victims. Uninsured motorist coverage under their own auto policy can pay damages to their vehicle and their own personal injuries. Many people do not realize that this insurance also may cover them even if they were not in their vehicle and were hit by another driver. This UM coverage can pay for: medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy, property damage and even pain and suffering.
Victims of hit and run accidents need the help of an experienced hit and run lawyer who can help them get them the best settlement from their insurance company. As in most cases of insurance claims, the insurance company will only pay the bare minimum and will often offer a quick settlement to resolve the issue. Having an experienced Auto Injury Attorney on your side can make a large difference in the amount of financial compensation you receive.
Orange County Hit-and-Run Car Accident Attorneys
Jimmie Kang Law Firm are experienced in Southern California and local cities in Sothern California hit and run car accidents. If the driver is found or if you have uninsured motorist protection, we will use our knowledge to obtain the best financial outcome in your case. We invite you to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation here. As with all of our motor vehicle accident cases, unless we secure a financial award for you, there is no fee for our services.