A recent hit-and-run accident has caused the untimely death of a local pedestrian. In Southern California, hit-and-run drivers are not only subject to criminal penalties; they may also face enhanced civil liabilities as the result of a personal injury lawsuit. To better understand all the intricacies involved in a hit-and-run auto accident, continue reading. And for help navigating your own hit-and-run accident, contact an experience personal injury attorney who can answer all your questions and walk you through the process.
Woman struck while crossing the street
On the evening of Sunday, December 3, a woman in her 60s was crossing the intersection of La Palma Avenue and Whittier Street in Anaheim. As she crossed, she was struck by a driver who then fled the scene of the accident. While witnesses were able to tell the authorities which direction the vehicle headed after the accident, they were unable to identify the vehicle or even give an accurate description, describing it as a white, grey, or black sedan with damage to its front end. Unfortunately, the woman was declared dead at the scene of the accident and Anaheim police are continuing to search for the driver of the sedan, hoping additional witnesses will come forward with additional information.
Hit-and-run drivers can face major civil and criminal penalties, but only after they have been located
In California, all drivers involved in an accident are required to remain at the scene of the accident and exchange identifying information with the other people involved. Specifically, California Vehicle Code section 16025 requires drivers to exchange 1) driver’s name, 2) driver’s address, 3) driver’s license number, 4) vehicle identification number, 5) vehicle owner’s address, and 6) proof of financial responsibility. Failing to remain at the scene of even a minor crash can result in misdemeanor charges against the fleeing driver. And if someone is injured or killed in the accident and a driver leaves the scene, that hit-and-run driver can be charged with a felony and face thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison. Moreover, pursuant to California Civil Code section 3294, a hit-and-run driver may be civilly subject to punitive damages if his or her conduct subjects the victim to unjust hardship in conscious disregard of the victim’s rights.
But before any claim can be prosecuted, the fleeing driver must first be located. And victims of hit-and-run accidents often need help tracking down the negligent in addition to securing the economic damages to which they are entitled. Fortunately, our attorneys and team of private investigators are often successful in locating hit-and-run drivers by using security camera footage and eyewitness accounts, allowing our clients to file a claim against the reckless hit-and-run driver directly. And failing that, uninsured motorist insurance policies often provide an alternative source of recovery. Despite this, insurers will attempt to pay out as little as possible after an accident, especially to victims who are unrepresented by an attorney. Hiring a personal injury lawyer with experience in claims based on hit-and-run accidents will provide victims with the best opportunity to recover the damages they deserve for their medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident, get the help you need from attorneys you can trust. Contact the dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Hanning & Sacchetto for a free consultation at 562-698-6446, or visit them at one of their many offices in Whittier, Arcadia, Ontario, or Glendora.