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What if You’re Injured in a Hit-and-Run in Orange County?

Posted on February 14, 2018

What if You’re Injured in a Hit-and-Run in Orange County

Few things are more maddening than a hit-and-run auto accident. In these cases, the at-fault driver may seriously injure you, do major damage to your car, and run afoul of a number of local laws—yet, because he or she flees the scene of the crime, it seems like justice cannot be served, and the situation cannot be made right.

What options does this leave for the driver? According to our Orange County car accident lawyers, this largely depends on where the hit-and-run incident happens—in a no-fault state, or in a fault state. California qualifies as a fault state (also called a tort state), so there are a few guidelines we can offer you should you ever have to deal with something as tragic as a hit-and-run accident.

Dealing with Hit-and-Run Accidents: Advice from an Orange County Car Accident Lawyer

In a tort state like California, you’ll basically have two options for addressing a hit-and-run accident:

1. You can attempt to track down the at-fault driver and recover losses from them.
2. You can file a claim with your uninsured motorist insurance, assuming you have a policy in place.

Our Orange County car accident lawyers will walk through both of these options.

Tracking Down the At-Fault Driver

First, a reality check: The majority of hit-and-run drivers are never found, despite it being a major criminal offense to flee the scene of an accident. You can try to get the police to help you find the guilty party, but their ability to do so is limited—and in most cases, the police will only intervene when there is a fatality or a very serious physical injury.

With that said, there are a few steps you can take to help the police find the guilty party. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Write down as many details as you can—the make and color of the vehicle, the license plate number (ideally), or a physical description of the driver.
  • If there are any witnesses, make sure you get their name and number, and ask them if they would be willing to share what they know with the authorities.
  • Take pictures of the damage. You never know when photographs might reveal some helpful clues for the police.
  • Always contact the police as soon as possible!

Something else to keep in mind is that, even if you succeed in tracking down the at-fault driver, there’s a decent chance he or she doesn’t have insurance—which is why they fled the accident scene to begin with. In these instances, you may not be able to recover any damages from them. You can still file a personal injury case, but there is no guarantee that you’ll receive much in the way of compensation. (Ask your Orange County car accident lawyer about your options here.)

Filing Uninsured Motorist Claims

The other route you can go, rather than tracking down the at-fault driver, is simply to file a claim under your uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy.

Here, the news is decidedly more positive. UM/UIM motorist coverage is intended to pay for your damages when the other driver cannot—and to that end, it really doesn’t matter whether the at-fault driver is known or unknown. Even in a hit-and-run accident, UM/UIM policies can help make things right.

Please note, however, that this insurance coverage is optional, and you should never assume that you have it as part of your current policy. Make sure you ask your insurance agent about adding UM/UIM coverage, which is really the best way to protect yourself from hit-and-run accidents.

Get Help from Our Orange County Car Accident Lawyers

In addition to ensuring the right insurance coverage, we also recommend ensuring the right legal assistance. The team at I Accident Lawyer represents individuals who are involved in accidents—including hit-and-runs—and if needed, we can even represent you in opposition to your own insurance company.

We’re known for our knowledge of personal injury law and our rigorous, aggressive representation. In short, we want to help you see justice served. To learn more about what you can do following a hit-and-run accident, reach out to our Orange County car accident lawyers today.

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