What should you do if a hit-and-run driver totals your car and flees the scene?
Car crashes dramatically interrupt your day. Rather than getting to work on time like you usually do or running some errands, you have to wait by the side of the road for the police. You may even need to go to the hospital because you suffered serious injuries in the crash.
Although no one likes the delays involved in filing a report after a wreck, doing so is a legal requirement. California requires that drivers report any collisions that result in property damage or personal injury.
Drivers have a legal obligation to stop after a crash
Immediately after a crash happens, the drivers involved will usually stop their vehicles if they have not done so already and inspect themselves, their passengers and the vehicles for damage.
Unfortunately, some drivers will speed off from a crash if it does not immobilize their vehicle. These hit-and-run drivers hope to avoid the financial or legal repercussions for their mistakes.
What will a hit-and-run collision mean for you, the driver not at fault?
You will likely rely on your own insurance
Liability insurance rules dictate that the person responsible for the crash is the one whose insurance company pays for injuries and other losses suffered in the wreck. When the driver who causes the crash leaves the scene of the collision without providing insurance information to the other driver, the person dealing with injuries and property damage will be at a disadvantage.
Thankfully, drivers can make claims against their own policy for coverage. A driver hurt in a hit-and-run not determined to be their responsibility should not face any increases in your premium or other financial penalties for the claim.
You can help solve the hit-and-run in some cases
If you have a dashboard camera on your vehicle, a quick reaction with your phone or a good memory, you might be able to retain details about the other vehicle or its driver that can help the police locate that person.
License plate numbers, make and model information about the vehicle and even unique characteristics like bumper stickers could all help the police track down someone who sped off after causing a crash. If you can find that other driver, even if they don’t have insurance on their vehicle, you may be able to take them to court for the losses you suffered in the wreck.
Understanding how California and insurance companies handle hit-and-run motor vehicle collisions can help you make the best of a bad situation.
This article is brought to you by Mason Rashtian of The Mason Law Firm, a full-service personal injury attorney and accident lawyer. We represent clients all throughout California and Los Angeles County, including the Santa Clarita Valley, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Canyon Country, Newhall, and the entire San Fernando Valley.
We can be reached at (661) 270-5677.
This article is meant for informational purposes only.