A hit and run accident is defined as “the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is involved in a collision with another vehicle, property or human being, who knowingly fails to stop to give his/her name, license number, and other information as required by statute to the injured party, a witness, or law enforcement officers.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2020 annual traffic crash report, hit-and-run fatalities have risen 26% since the year prior, resulting in over 2,500 deaths.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
Results from the NHTSA’s 2020 crash data report show that over 1,500 pedestrians died in auto accidents involving a hit-and-run driver. In the same year, 202 cyclists died from hit-and-run car accidents.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) shares that an average of 682,000 hit-and-run motor vehicle accidents happened yearly over the last ten years. The report also notes that a staggering 20.5% of hit and run accident victims are pedestrians.
Hit-and-run drivers were less likely to be identified for victims aged 31 to 55. On the other hand, guilty drivers were more likely to be identified if the injury victim was a child between the ages of 6 and 15.
According to the AAA, hit-and-run accidents have an average increase of 7.2% yearly.
What Should You Do After a Hit and Run?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when another driver, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or biker is hit by a negligent driver and, instead of staying at the accident scene, the at-fault driver flees.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, there are some steps you can take to ensure your safety and protect your rights should you decide to file an accident claim in the future.
If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, follow these steps:
- Pull over and move to a safer area nearby. If possible, take down the license plate number of the other vehicle. Many car accident victims are tricked by these at-fault drivers. They may appear to pull over but then suddenly take off and leave the victim behind.
- As much as possible, try and take down the description of the vehicle, and the direction in which it flees the scene. This may be helpful when filing a police report.
- Report the accident to the police immediately.
- Take as many pictures as you can to document the accident scene. Make sure to photograph any damage to property that may have occurred. Take pictures of any details that may be important as well, such as signages or road conditions.
- Do not leave the accident scene, and stay calm.
- Get medical care as soon as possible. Regardless of whether or not you feel your injuries may only be minor, it is vital that you are thoroughly checked by a medical provider to ensure that you have no internal injuries that may cause complications.
- Speak to a hit and run lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
The Legality of a Hit and Run Accident
Drivers that cause an accident and flee the accident scene may be served with criminal charges. According to California Vehicle Code 20002, the hit-and-run driver must do the following:
- Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved. Upon locating the driver of the other vehicle involved, the at-fault driver must present their driver’s license and vehicle registration.
- If the at-fault driver is unable to stay behind and report the collision to the property owner, they must leave behind a written note containing their name, address, and a statement of the circumstances. The driver must then, without delay, report the accident to law enforcement or California Highway Patrol.
Failure to comply with these will result in a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, jail time not exceeding six months. The responsible party may also be required to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Penalties for a hit and run may also include a loss or suspension of the at-fault party’s driver’s license and points on their record.
What Are Your Rights as a Hit and Run Accident Victim?
As with any personal injury case, if you or a loved one have sustained bodily injuries and property damage due to the reckless actions of a negligent driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
However, this process may be more difficult in hit-and-run cases due to the absences of the liable party. Compensatory damages may only be awarded to the injured party if the hit-and-run driver is found.
If the driver cannot be found, you may need to rely on your own auto insurance to cover your medical costs, financial costs, and cost of damage. You may also file an uninsured motorist claim if the coverage is available to you.
If you do find the driver responsible for your accident, you may file a personal injury claim to recover the compensation you deserve, or you might need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensatory damages.
How Can a Hit and Run Lawyer Help You?
Personal injury cases in general can be confusing and complex, and hit-and-run cases are even more so. It is in your best interest to have an experienced hit-and-run accident attorney by your side to help guide you through the process of obtaining financial recovery.
A hit and run lawyer can help you with your car accident case in a number of ways. They can:
- answer your questions,
- get your medical records and bills in order,
- communicate with insurance companies and health care providers on your behalf,
- connect you with a private investigator to help find the driver who fled the scene,
- negotiate with the insurance provider on your behalf, and
- represent you in court if necessary.
Injured in a Hit and Run Accident? Contact Farahi Law Firm Today!
If you or a loved one have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may be able to file a claim for damages. At Farahi Law Firm, our experienced attorneys can help you recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Do not hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation.
Call our experienced hit and run lawyers at (844) 824-2955. Our dedicated team of attorneys, doctors, and case managers is ready and willing to help you get the justice you deserve. We are available 24/7 to take your call.