Can I file a lawsuit against a driver who fled the scene of the accident in California?

woman on phone in front of her car

Being involved in an accident can leave you feeling helpless and unsure of what to do next. Disoriented from the traumatic incident, you may feel stunned to learn that the other driver has fled the accident scene. If you have been injured or the collision resulted in significant property damage, you may feel overwhelmed as you do not know who to blame. Unfortunately, the at-fault party may leave the accident scene to avoid liability. They may believe they got away with it, especially if there were few witnesses or it was too dark to see anything. However, even if the driver who caused the crash fled the accident scene, it is still possible to recover compensation for your damages. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it is in your best interest to contact our talented Santa Clara County Car Accident Attorneys, who can help you hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. 

What is a hit-and-run?

When an accident occurs, and the driver who caused the collision leaves the accident scene without providing identification or aid, it is considered a hit-and-run accident. In California, drivers involved in a crash resulting in injury, death, or severe property damage are legally obligated to alert emergency services of the accident. That said, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime.

What should I do if the other driver leaves the accident scene in California?

Understandably, realizing the driver who caused the collision has fled the accident scene can be shocking. However, knowing what steps to take after a hit-and-run accident is vital in safeguarding your rights. Although you may feel inclined to chase after the at-fault driver, you should not leave the accident scene. In the immediate aftermath, you should assess yourself and anyone else involved and call 911. Leave locating the at-fault driver to the police, as following them could put you and others on the road in a dangerous situation that leads to further damage.

The best way to aid in a police investigation to maximize the chances of locating the at-fault driver is by gathering as much information as possible. Tracking who hit you will be more challenging without knowing anything about the vehicle or driver. As such, you should note the license plate number or any identifying features of the driver. This information will help the police locate the at-fault driver.

Fortunately, you can file a claim with your insurance company under uninsured motorists’ protections. This type of auto insurance will cover the cost of any medical bills, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, and other damages you’ve endured due to the collision. If your insurance does not cover the total cost of your losses, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, this cannot be done if you do not locate the driver who hit you.

To maximize your chances of identifying the at-fault driver, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled attorney from the Law Offices of Brian J. O’Grady, who can help investigate the collision by obtaining security footage and interviewing witnesses. Our firm is prepared to help you fight for the just compensation you deserve.