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What Do I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?


For many drivers, a hit-and-run accident is one of their worst driving nightmares. Imagine getting hit by another car and watching them speed away while you struggle to remain calm with a damaged vehicle and possible injuries. What can be done in this situation? Are you stuck paying for all of the damage that another person has caused and failed to take responsibility for? In this frustrating situation, it is important to know what to do and where to turn for the help you need.

What is a Hit-and-Run?

Federal and state laws require drivers to carry automobile insurance so that they can pay the costs of any damages that arise from an accident. If an accident occurs, drivers are obligated to pull over and exchange insurance information so that the claims process can begin. Fleeing from the scene of an accident without stopping is a violation of the law, and is a criminal action. Running from an accident involving property damage only is a misdemeanor in California; if the accident also involved injury or death, the hit-and-run becomes a felony crime.

Steps to Take After an Accident

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important that you remain calm. It may be tempting to get angry and try to chase down the careless driver, but this could be dangerous and result in even greater danger to yourself and others.

Then, be sure to take the following steps:

  • Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries, and call for medical help if needed.
  • Contact the police so that they can begin filling out an accident report. Provide the officer with as much information as you can remember about the vehicle that hit you, including model, manufacturer, color, any part of the license plate, or a description of the driver.
  • If there were any eyewitnesses nearby when the accident occurred, it is a good idea to take down their names and contact information.
  • Take photos of any injuries or damage to your vehicle.
  • Contact your insurance company to report the accident.

Insurance Coverage for Hit-and-Runs

Without the identity or insurance information of the other driver, unfortunately, you will have to rely on your own insurance coverage to pay for any costs related to the accident. In California, personal injury protection, medical payments coverage, and collision coverage can be used to cover the costs of your injuries or vehicle damage. If the driver is later identified, you have the option to file a civil lawsuit for any out-of-pocket costs not covered by your insurance, as well as for any non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Legal Help for Hit-and-Runs in Northern California

If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident and are considering filing a lawsuit against a hit-and-run driver who has been identified, it is urgent that you call the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley as soon as possible to begin discussing your case. Our Northern California personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for injured clients, and we may be able to help you obtain compensation, too. There are no up-front costs to begin your case and initial consultations are free, so don’t wait another minute to call our offices at (530) 413-0245. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

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