If you’re in a hit-and-run in California, it can be really stressful and confusing. We at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers get how tough this can be. We’ve put together this guide to help you know what to do.
What’s a Hit and Run?
In California, a hit-and-run is when a driver leaves an accident scene without telling the other people involved or the police. This is against the law and the driver who leaves can face serious legal trouble.
First Things to Do After a Hit and Run
- Check for Injuries: First, see if you or anyone in your car is hurt. If so, call 911 right away.
- Move to a Safe Spot: If you can, move your car to somewhere safe to avoid more accidents.
- Write Down What You Remember: Try to remember details about the car that left, like its color, make, or part of the license plate. Also, see if there are any witnesses and get their contact info.
- Report the Accident: Call the police quickly. Having a police report is really important, especially for insurance claims.
How to Handle Insurance
In California, you need to have insurance that covers you if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. This is called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and we recommend everyone have at least $100,000.00 per person in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is really helpful in hit-and-run cases.
- Tell Your Insurance Company: Let your insurance know about the hit-and-run as soon as you can. Give them all the details and the police report number. Your insurance company may ask you to file what’s called an SR-19 form, which is something your lawyers can assist with.
- Know Your Insurance Policy: Make sure you understand your insurance, especially the part about coverage for uninsured motorist coverage.
- Keep Track of Costs: Keep a detailed record of all costs from the accident, like medical bills, car repairs, and if you lost any pay from work.
Your Legal Rights
If you’re in a hit-and-run, you have certain rights:
- Right to Get Money Back: You can ask for money for the damage and injuries the hit-and-run driver caused.
- Getting a Lawyer: Talking to a personal injury lawyer can really help. They can guide you through the legal steps, talk to insurance companies, and work to get you fair money.
- Time Limits for Lawsuits: In California, you usually have two years from the accident date to start an action for a hit-and-run. Most uninsured motorist claims do not go to court but are adjudicated through what are called “arbitrations” because of a provision in the insurance agreement you have with your insurer.
What Not to Do
- Don’t Leave the Scene: Stay where you are until you’ve called the police and have all the information you need.
- Get Medical Help: Even if you feel okay, see a doctor. Some injuries take time to show up.
- Wait to Fix Your Car: Don’t get repairs until you’ve documented the damage for your insurance.
How to Avoid Hit and Runs
You can’t always stop others from leaving an accident, but you can lower your chances of being in a hit-and-run:
- Drive Safely: Pay attention to the road and other cars.
- Use a Dash Camera: This can record what happens if you’re in an accident.
- Park in Safe Places: Choose spots that are well-lit and secure.
A hit-and-run can be tough to deal with, but knowing what to do helps a lot. At M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re here to help hit-and-run victims in California. We give expert legal advice to protect your rights and get you the compensation you need.
After a hit-and-run, it’s important to act fast, keep good records, and sometimes get legal help. This guide is a good start. Remember, your safety and rights are most important. Professional help can make a big difference in how well you recover and deal with your insurance claim. If you need help, contact M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers today!