Imagine being on the receiving end of a bad auto accident and the at-fault party flees the scene before you get to exchange information. How do you know who they were, let alone where to find them? Who do you seek compensation from?
Hit and run accidents can be a nightmare and a costly event on your part. If you are a victim of one, there are quite a number of things you can do to protect yourself from suffering even more misery in hospital bills and lost income. The law of California requires that drivers involved in an accident provide their personal details and insurance information to the other parties impacted by the accident. Anyone who leaves the scene without sharing this information could be held liable even if they did not cause the accident.
If you have been involved in an auto accident and do not know what to do, get in touch with an LA personal injury attorney to guide you on what to do next. A misinformed move could shift all the blame to you and put you on a collision course with the state.
Your lawyer will likely tell you to gather as much information as possible regarding the accident. Take photos and videos of the scene of the accident and any damage to your car or injuries on your body. These will be very crucial when filing a claim or defending yourself in a lawsuit.
What to do at the scene of the accident
The first thing to do if you are the victim of a hit-and-run is to move your car to a safe place and check to see if anyone else has been injured.
After that, call the police, inform them about the accident, and give them your location. When they arrive, share with them all the information you have collected and the description of the vehicle that fled the scene. This may include the driver’s appearance; the car model and color; and the car’s license plate number.
What to do after the accident
If you were lucky to capture the license plate of the car that caused the accident and fled, pursuing compensation will be a lot easier for you. If you did not, you are still entitled to recover damages.
If anyone was killed or injured in the accident or there was property damage amounting to $750 or more, you will need to fill out form SR 1 or Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California and submit it to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. California law requires that form SR 1 is submitted within ten days of the accident, regardless of who caused the accident, and whether or not you know the identity of the at-fault party.
As regards filing a compensation claim, the most crucial factor is whether or not the at-fault party was eventually identified. If they did, you can file a claim with their insurance. If they didn’t, your underinsured/uninsured coverage will cover your expenses.