What to Do After a Stockton Hit-and-Run
If you have been injured in a recent hit-and-run accident in Stockton, you may have many questions about what to do after. You may wonder who will pay for your damages if the at-fault party left the scene of the motor vehicle collision and if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. The common issue in these situations is locating or identifying the suspect driver and vehicle.
In these cases, an experienced injury attorney in Stockton can help. Our legal team from AutoAccident.com has served the Stockton area since 1982. We have compiled useful information on what you should do after getting injured or losing a loved one in a hit-and-run accident below.
What is a Hit-and-Run Accident in California?
A hit-and-run is any traffic accident where a motorist crashes into another party or an object of value and flees the scene of the incident without providing identification and insurance information. This may be minor, like a paint transfer from scraping another vehicle in a parking lot, or serious from causing injury or death to another individual in a collision. Aside from civil cases for personal injury or wrongful death, hit-and-run accidents may carry criminal offenses for suspect drivers.
A misdemeanor or felony charge for a hit-and-run accident is defined in the California Vehicle Code. Under CVC 20001, a felony case may be filed if an incident resulted in bodily injury or death to another individual and the defendant failed to stop. Misdemeanor charges may apply in hit-and-run cases that solely involve property damage per the CVC 20002.
Why Do Drivers Leave the Scene of a Car Crash?
While every hit-and-run accident case may differ in the facts and circumstances involved, there are a wide array of reasons why a driver may leave the scene of a crash. These include:
- Behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
- Operating a motor vehicle without valid auto insurance
- Did not realize they caused an accident (e.g., crashing into a pedestrian without realizing it, etc.)
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Stockton
Proper documentation and evidence of a hit-and-run accident are essential for a personal injury claim or wrongful death action. If you were injured or lost a loved one to a recent crash caused by a hit-and-run driver in Stockton, California, take the following steps:
- Contact local law enforcement, such as the Stockton Police Department or the CHP, to conduct a traffic incident report at the scene
- Call emergency personnel for assistance at the crash site if you or someone else was injured
- Exchange contact information with any eyewitnesses to the incident
- Collect evidence at the crash site, like strewn vehicle parts, photos of skid marks in the road, and pictures of visible injuries
- Most importantly, reach out to a skilled and compassionate personal injury attorney serving Stockton, California
- Request a copy of the police report immediately since the insurance company and your injury lawyer will want to review it for your claim
Learn how our legal team from AutoAccident.com can help you with your Stockton hit-and-run accident case by scheduling a free consultation or watching the video below.
Compile Details About the Suspect Driver and Vehicle
Some of the crucial information to gather after a hit-and-run accident in Stockton, California, includes:
- Bumper stickers, decals, and other characteristics on the car
- The number of occupants in the suspect vehicle at the time of the incident
- The make, model, year, color, and license plate number of the suspect vehicle
- Area of damage to the suspect car and any strewn vehicle parts at the crash site
- A description of the suspect driver, like gender, approximate age, and other distinguishing features
If you are unsure of the exact description of the suspect driver and vehicle, avoid guessing. Incorrect details may only impede an investigation into a hit-and-run crash.
Importance of Medical Treatment After a Hit-and-Run Collision
It is essential to seek medical care immediately after a motor vehicle crash caused by a hit-and-run driver, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries, like a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury, may not always manifest symptoms right away. Therefore, it is crucial to inform your primary care provider of any symptoms you have experienced after the crash.
Failure to seek medical treatment promptly after a car accident may cause the insurance company to question your personal injury claim. The insurer may use any delay or gap in medical treatment against you in your bodily injury claim. For instance, a claims adjuster may dispute accident-related injuries and argue that symptoms are unrelated to the incident in question.
Types of Coverage for a Hit-and-Run Wreck Involving Injury or Death
You may ask yourself if auto insurance covers damages in a hit-and-run accident. Some types of insurance coverage do, and others do not. Collision coverage may pay for damage to a vehicle and requires a deductible. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage may cover economic and non-economic damages if the at-fault party lacks liability coverage. For a hit-and-run, a UM claim may be filed for bodily injury or death.
UM coverage may pay for damages up to the limits of the insurance plan. Bringing a successful UM claim for a hit-and-run collision requires clear and compelling evidence. This must demonstrate that the suspect’s vehicle made contact with the claimant and that the hit-and-run was the direct cause of bodily injury or death.
It is useful to have Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage in California. While not required to carry, having MedPay on your auto insurance policy is useful in the event of a traffic collision. MedPay may cover costs of medical treatment, regardless of fault in a motor vehicle wreck, up to the policy’s limits. For more information on recovering compensation after a hit-and-run, contact an experienced California personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Stockton
If a recent hit-and-run accident in Stockton, California, left you injured or claimed the life of your family member, contact our skilled and experienced Stockton personal injury attorneys from AutoAccident.com for compassionate, free, and friendly case advice. We are available by phone for free consultations at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400.
At AutoAccident.com, our legal team has decades of combined experience in California personal injury law and has a history of successful case results. Learn more on our Settlements and Verdicts page. We are committed to providing outstanding client service. View our reviews on Yelp, Avvo, and Google. Our law firm is proud to be a member of the Top 1 Percent and Million Dollar Forum.
Photograph Source: “AlexasFotos” Pixabay
:ds llo [cs 1169]