Hit & Run Accidents in Orange County

Hit & run accidents in Orange County

Hit-and-run accidents are all too common in Orange County, leaving victims injured and searching for justice. These incidents occur when a driver hits someone with their vehicle and flees the scene without stopping to provide assistance or exchange information.

Such actions not only cause physical harm but also emotional and financial distress to the victims. Understanding your rights and the steps to take following a hit and run is crucial.

The aftermath of a hit-and-run can be overwhelming, leaving victims unsure of where to turn. The law requires drivers to stop after an accident, yet many choose to flee, fearing the consequences of their actions.

This complicates the victim's ability to seek compensation and adds a layer of difficulty in bringing the offender to justice. MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers is committed to guiding victims through this challenging time, ensuring they receive the support and representation they need.

What Defines a Hit & Run Accident?

A hit-and-run accident involves a driver colliding with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or property and departing the crash site without sharing contact information or offering help. This car accident can result in serious injuries and significant property damage.

The law in California is clear: drivers must stop after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Failing to do so turns an accident into a criminal offense, known as a hit and run.

The obligation to stop means that all parties involved in the car accident exchange insurance information and report the incident to the police. This allows for an official event record, crucial for insurance claims and potential legal action.

When a driver chooses to flee, they violate the law and leave the victim vulnerable, possibly without the necessary information to seek compensation. Hit-and-run incidents add an unnecessary layer of complexity to what is already a stressful situation for the victim.

Why You Have an Obligation To Stop After an Accident

Why you have an obligation to stop after an accident

Stopping after a crash is a legal and moral obligation. It ensures that anyone injured receives prompt medical attention, potentially saving lives.

The law intends to make roads safer by holding drivers accountable for their actions and encouraging a culture of responsibility and care. Failing to stop can result in severe legal consequences, including hit-and-run charges.

Moreover, stopping after an accident allows for a fair and thorough investigation by the authorities. It enables the collection of evidence, witness statements, and the accurate documentation of damages and injuries. This information is crucial for resolving insurance claims and possible legal concerns.

By fleeing the scene, a driver not only evades their immediate responsibilities but also undermines the legal process, making it harder for justice to be served.

Consequences of a Hit & Run Accident in California

In California, the consequences of committing a hit-and-run can be severe. The law classifies these offenses based on the damage or injury caused. If the incident caused property damage only, it might be considered a misdemeanor.

However, if a person was injured or killed, the driver could face felony charges. Convictions can result in a fine of up to $1,000, two points on your license, up to six months in jail, and a suspended or revoked license.

Keep in mind that these penalties are for a misdemeanor, and if someone is killed, the consequences could be even more severe.

Sometimes, those involved have prior convictions or warrants for their arrest. We can look at court records to see if the other driver was fleeing from the authorities for some reason.

The impact extends beyond legal penalties. Being involved in a hit-and-run can raise insurance premiums, and some may have difficulty obtaining insurance in the future. It also carries a significant social stigma, as communities and potential employers often view such actions unfavorably.

The consequences are designed to deter drivers from leaving the scene and underscore the seriousness of their obligations after an accident.

Immediate Steps to Take If Someone Hits You and Flees

Immediate steps to take if someone hits you and flees
  1. Check for injuries. First, make sure you and anyone else involved are okay. Call 911 if you need medical assistance.
  2. Try to gather information. Write down details about the fleeing vehicle, such as its color, make, model, and license plate number.
  3. Look for witnesses. Ask anyone nearby if they saw the accident and if they can provide any additional information about the hit-and-run driver.
  4. Take photos. Document the scene with photos of your vehicle, other property damage, and the surrounding area.
  5. Call the police. Reporting the crash to the authorities is crucial. They can file a report and start an investigation.
  6. Notify your insurance company. Tell your insurance provider about the crash as soon as possible.
  7. Consult with a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can help you decide the best steps to seek compensation.

Insurance Claims After a Hit & Run

Dealing with insurance after a hit-and-run can be tricky, especially if the at-fault driver is unknown. You may need your insurance policy to cover the damages and medical expenses.

This is why uninsured motorist coverage is crucial. It can help pay for repairs, medical costs, and other expenses related to the accident.

Filing a claim involves notifying your insurance company about the incident, providing them with the police report, and submitting any evidence you have, like photos and witness statements. Insurance companies may minimize your compensation.

Having an experienced attorney by your side can ensure you navigate this process effectively and receive the full compensation you deserve.

Role of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Hit & Run Cases

Role of uninsured motorist coverage in hit & run cases

Uninsured motorist coverage is a part of your auto insurance policy that protects you if you're involved in a hit-and-run or the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance.

This coverage can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It's an essential safeguard, ensuring you're not financially burdened by an accident that wasn't your fault.

In hit-and-run cases, this coverage is especially crucial. It can provide the financial support you need while recovering from your injuries and dealing with the accident's aftermath.

However, dealing with insurance companies can still be challenging. They may require substantial evidence to process your claim; negotiations can be lengthy. An experienced lawyer can help streamline this process, advocating for your best interests and ensuring you receive fair compensation.

Challenges in Pursuing Hit & Run Accident Claims

  • Identifying the at-fault driver. Without the driver's identity, pursuing a claim against them can be challenging. Police investigations and legal resources are critical in these situations.
  • Dealing with insurance companies. Insurance providers may be reluctant to offer fair compensation, especially in hit-and-run cases. They often require extensive documentation and evidence before processing a claim.
  • Gathering evidence. Collecting evidence like witness statements and security camera footage is crucial but can be difficult, especially if the hit-and-run occurred in a less populated area.
  • Legal complexities. The legal process for hit-and-run accidents can be complex. Navigating the laws and regulations requires specialized knowledge and experience.

Common Injuries in a Hit & Run Car Accident

  • Broken bones. Victims often suffer from broken bones, requiring immediate medical attention and possibly long-term physical therapy.
  • Head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can have lasting effects on a victim's cognitive functions and overall quality of life.
  • Spinal cord injuries. These catastrophic injuries can lead to paralysis, significantly impacting a victim's independence and requiring extensive medical care.
  • Cuts and lacerations. Glass and debris from the accident can cause serious cuts, leading to scarring and the risk of infection.
  • Internal injuries. Internal bleeding and organ damage are common and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
  • Psychological trauma. Beyond physical injuries, victims often experience PTSD, anxiety, and depression following a hit and run.
  • Whiplash. This neck injury is common in car crashes and can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues.

Compensation for Victims of Hit & Run Accidents

Compensation for victims of hit & run accident
  • Medical expenses. Victims deserve financial compensation for all medical treatment related to the accident, including future medical care.
  • Lost wages. If the injuries prevent you from working, you can demand compensation for lost income and future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering. You may also be compensated for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident.
  • Property damage. Compensation can cover repairs to your car and any personal property damaged in the crash.
  • Punitive damages. In some cases, courts award punitive damages to punish the guilty driver.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

Determining the value of your claim involves considering the extent of your injuries, the impact on your life, and your financial losses. Every case is different, and the compensation package will vary.

Factors like medical expenses, the severity of injuries, and the effect on your earning capacity play a significant role. Consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney is crucial in this case.

How MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help

  • Expert legal advice. Our team provides knowledgeable advice on navigating the aftermath of a hit and run, ensuring you understand your rights and options.
  • Investigation support. We can assist in gathering evidence, identifying the at-fault driver, and building a strong case on your behalf.
  • Dealing with insurance companies. Our lawyers are skilled in negotiating with insurance providers to secure the compensation you deserve.
  • Legal representation. If your case goes to court, we will represent you, handling all legal proceedings and advocating for your best interests.
  • Maximizing your compensation. Our experience allows us to accurately assess the full extent of your damages, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

We Can Assist the Authorities in an Investigation

MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers works closely with local law enforcement, including the Orange County Police Department, to track down hit-and-run drivers.

By leveraging our resources and legal expertise, we can help piece together evidence from traffic cameras, eyewitness accounts, and other sources to identify the culprit.

This not only aids in bringing the responsible party to justice but also strengthens your claim, ensuring you have the best chance at receiving full compensation for your damages.

For example, there might be situations where the driver involved has three or four prior DUI convictions, including a potential felony DUI. There are some accidents where evading and vehicular homicide might be combined with alcohol intoxication.

Whether you are involved in an accident on North Tustin Street, Tustin Street South, or Adams Avenue, let our team help you.

Contact MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation After a Hit & Run Accident

Contact MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers for a free consultation after a hit & run accident

A car accident could become a deadly hit-and-run, and you need legal representation to protect your rights. The experienced team at MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers is here to help you navigate the complex legal landscape, from filing insurance claims to pursuing legal action against the at-fault driver.

Our commitment to justice and your well-being drives us to fight tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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