A hit and run accident occurs when a driver is involved in a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or provide assistance. Hit and run accidents are a serious problem in California, with the state having one of the highest rates of hit and run crashes in the country. According to data from the California Highway Patrol, there were over 100,000 hit and run accidents in the state in 2019, resulting in over 2,000 fatalities.
Legal Definition of Hit and Run
Under California law, a hit and run offense is defined as leaving the scene of an accident without providing required information or assistance (California Vehicle Code section 20002). This includes accidents involving another vehicle, pedestrian, or property. Penalties for hit and run can be severe and may include jail time, fines, and license suspension or.
Factors that May Increase the Likelihood of a Hit and Run
There are several factors that may increase the likelihood of a hit and run accident in California. Alcohol or drug impairment can significantly impair a driver’s judgment and decision-making, increasing the risk of a hit and run (California Vehicle Code section 23152). Drivers who are unlicensed or have a suspended or revoked license may also be more likely to flee the scene of an accident due to fear of consequences or a criminal record (California Highway Patrol).
Injuries and Damages Caused by Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents can result in a variety of injuries, including serious or fatal injuries to pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles. According to data from the California Highway Patrol, pedestrian fatalities accounted for approximately 25% of all hit and run fatalities in the state in 2019. Property damage to vehicles is also common in hit and run accidents, with repair costs often being significant. According to data from the insurance industry, the average cost of repairing a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident is approximately $3,000.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident in California
If you are involved in a hit and run accident in California, there are several steps you should take to protect your rights and seek justice:
Seek medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were injured, it is important to have a medical evaluation to ensure that any injuries are identified and treated.
Report the accident to the authorities. California Vehicle Code section 20007 requires drivers involved in a hit and run accident to report the accident to the police as soon as possible.
Gather evidence. If possible, try to gather information about the vehicle and driver that fled the scene, including the make, model, and license plate number. You should also document any damages or injuries sustained in the accident.
Seek Legal Representation
Contact an attorney. An experienced hit and run accident attorney can help you navigate the process of seeking justice and recovering damages, and can ensure that your rights are protected. Call our office for a legal consultation if you have been the victim of a hit and run accident.