The growing number of reports in the news about California hit-and-run car accidents is increasing faster than usual.
The annual report of 2019 issued by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reported a bunch of hit-and-run car accidents crossing the limit of 20,000 from 2016 to 2018, majorly resulting in critical casualties. According to the report, there are more than 26000 drivers fleeing the scene after the accident.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
According to California state law, when a driver evades the scene of impact after the accident without waiting for the proper authorities and without providing correct personal and insurance information, the case is termed a hit-and-run case. The law says that after any type of road accident, you must ask for a driver’s license and vehicle registration documents. A hit-and-run car accident also involves those drivers who choose to stream out from such situations before meeting the police on the accident scene.
Moreover, when an individual departs from the accident scene, they are practically perpetrating hit-and-run and this is independent of that clause of the fault law, under which fault is adequately allocated between the drivers.
Dropping out from a car accident scene can only be accepted if you run to arrange emergency care for the one injured, either it’s you or the other party, which is termed as “reasonable assistance.”
Penalties for Committing an Orange County Hit-and-Run Car Accident:
The seriousness of a hit-and-run accident majorly depends on the magnitude of damages the victim has suffered. A California hit-and-run car accident is a weighty offense that can be deemed as minor wrongdoing or a felony act, according to the extremity of the accident.
- In case of misdemeanor hit-and-run, which involves only the destruction of a vehicle, causes you to pay a fine of up to $1,000 along with imprisonment of up to six months
- A felony hit-and-run involves when an individual is injured. The repercussions under this scenario could be prison time of up to four years and a penalty of between $1,000 and $10,000. A judge may be convinced to sentence you for an extended period depending upon the magnitude of the victim’s injuries
What Steps Should I Take After Being in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
In such a situation, one must avoid chasing the culprit, which may seem right at the instance but it is a huge risk. You can call 911 or collect any available details of the offender for a police investigation. The salient points for details include a description of the car (model, color, license plate, stickers, scratches, dents) along with any apparent features of the driver.
You can assemble information by capturing pictures of anything around the accident scene whether it is a local store, street sign, or traffic lights which can help the police to get the CCTV footage of that area.
Does Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run in California?
Drivers in California are unable to utilize uninsured motorist coverage to cover for their wrecked vehicle if the guilty driver is not identified. The uninsured motorist coverage can only be used to pay some fraction of the medical costs. The cost of your vehicle may be covered by collision insurance. However, you will likely pay for the excess amount in case the other driver is unidentified.
According to the insurers, both collision and motorist insurances are generally extra options to the usual auto coverage policies. Although, this is not the case every time, and is a good reason why you should carefully look through your current auto coverage policy before driving about the dangerous highways and roads of California.
There is good news for drivers in California, which is that the state law specifies that auto insurance agencies can only increase rates under specified conditions. According to California law, as long as you file for a “hit-and-run” within a suitable period of the accident, the insurance company is not permitted to increase your rates. Although, as it is not a familiar law among the people of California, many local drivers tend to get their rates increased by their insurance companies after a hit-and-run incident.
Contact an Experienced Attorney:
If you have been involved in a California hit-and-run car accident, you should contact an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. Call our law firm so we can help you with your consultation free of cost and be there for you in your hard times.