California has strict laws against fleeing the scene of an accident without providing contact information. Unfortunately, too many drivers flee, breaking the law in the process and leaving you with property damage or, worse, physical injuries.
If you have suffered damage in a hit and run car accident, you should follow these tips before reaching out to a hit and run lawyer.
Get Medical Treatment
If you were in the car when it was struck, you should check to make sure everyone is okay. If someone needs help, contact 911 and ask for an ambulance. If injuries are less serious, you might drive to the hospital yourself later, but it is important to get prompt medical treatment because not all serious injuries are apparent or visible after a car accident.
Note Details about the Car that Struck You
You might have been in a store when someone struck your car, in which case you might not know anything about the offending motorist. However, if you were in the car when it was hit, you should collect as much information as possible:
- The car’s make and model;
- The car color;
- The license plate number;
- What the driver looked like; and
- Anything else that stands out, like a bumper sticker or a burnt-out taillight.
Check with nearby witnesses who might have seen more than you did. Get their names and contact information as well as what they saw.
If you were struck in a parking lot, then surveillance videos might have captured the motorist before they fled. You can stop into a store and ask if they have video of the parking lot. Give them the date and time of the accident.
Report the Accident
California law requires that you report car accidents to the DMV within 10 days if the accident caused $1,000 or more of damage or if anyone was physically injured or killed. If you do not file this report, your license can be suspended.
Check if Insurance Applies
California is a “fault” state, meaning the driver at fault for an accident pays for your injuries and damage to the vehicle. Unfortunately, if a driver flees, you won’t be able to make a claim with their insurer unless you find the driver.
Nevertheless, you might carry insurance that will cover you, such as:
- Collision insurance, which can pay to repair your car.
- Medical payments, which can pay for medical care.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury coverage, which can pay for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
However, these forms of insurance are voluntary in California, meaning you might not have them. If not, your only chance of receiving compensation is to find out the driver who hit you so you can make a claim.
Confused about What to Do in a Hit and Run? Contact Us Today
At the Beliz Law Firm, our hit and run lawyers have helped countless clients get the compensation they need. If you identify the driver, we can help make a claim with his or her insurance company. If you have UM coverage, we can work with your insurer to get you full and fair compensation for your injuries.
To schedule a free consultation, please call us today, 562-452-3772.