Hit-and-run accidents make it more difficult for law enforcement to pursue a criminal conviction and create issues for survivors of the crash who need to collect compensation for their damages. In California, it may be possible to recover adequate compensation from a hit-and-run driver under the right circumstances.
Hit-and-run drivers can receive misdemeanor or felony convictions if they are caught after fleeing the scene of an accident. Victims of hit-and-run accidents may be able to locate the driver with a license plate number, video footage, witness information or a successful police investigation. If law enforcement officers find the hit-and-run driver, you may be able to recover the following types of damages.
- Economic damages. Serious injuries lead to extensive medical and living expenses. You may be able to recover damages that cover medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, home modifications, in-home nursing care, transportation and rehabilitation.
- Non-economic damages. While more difficult to quantify without an experienced attorney, you could also receive “pain and suffering” damages. These damages may be associated with emotional anguish and a loss of enjoyment in life.
- Punitive damages. In California, a jury may award punitive damages in cases where a victim’s damages are caused by intentional or reckless actions that are especially egregious. The amount of punitive damages awarded depends on what the defendant is capable of paying. Punitive award damages may be higher in cases where a hit-and-run driver seriously injures or kills a motorcyclist.
Can You Receive a Criminal Conviction for a Hit and Run in San Diego?
Motorists must stay at the scene of an accident. Hit-and-run laws in our state apply to all parties, regardless of who was at fault or the extent of the damage caused by the collision.
Wait for police to arrive at the scene of an accident and be sure to exchange information with other people involved or even witnesses. Leaving the scene of an accident can be a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the circumstances.
Do Crash Survivors Need a San Diego Hit and Run Attorney?
You can seek compensation for your damages from your auto insurance provider if the hit-and-run motorist is not found. However, the amount is unlikely to be enough to fully cover your damages. This is where an attorney can help. An attorney can help you determine which types of insurance coverage could be available for your situation.
If the hit-and-run driver is found, and does have insurance, then you can pursue a claim against that driver – even if he or she does not receive a conviction. You could negotiate a settlement with the hit-and-run driver’s insurance company, or if necessary, file a lawsuit. By filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to recover punitive damages if the case goes to trial.
An attorney can help you compile evidence of your injuries and the other driver’s actions before, during and after the accident. For instance, an attorney can legally protect crucial digital evidence and may work with medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists to strengthen the validity of your claim.
Contact a San Diego Hit and Run Attorney to Learn More
Nield Law Group, APC has decades of combined experience helping car accident survivors and their family members. Our San Diego car accident lawyers can review your situation and help you determine which legal options are available to pursue compensation for your injuries or loss. To schedule a free consultation with us, call (866)335-1860 or use our online case review form.