Motor vehicles are incredibly convenient and save people work, frustration and time. Unfortunately, the trade-off for that convenience is the risk of a crash. Motor vehicle collisions in California leave some people severely injured and others coping with massive property damage expenses. In some tragic cases, car crashes lead to someone dying.
California has numerous laws designed to protect the public, including regulations requiring licensing and insurance. Drivers also need to stop if they cause a crash to check on the other people involved and report the incident to the local authorities. Unfortunately, those who break the law, don’t have insurance or don’t have a valid license might flee the scene of a crash in the hopes of avoiding legal and financial repercussions for the wreck.
The other party is then left to file a police report and worry about their rights. Hit-and-run collisions are a relatively common issue in California and can be particularly devastating for cyclists and pedestrians. What happens when a driver flees the scene of a crash?
The police may be able to identify the culprit
If there are traffic cameras or witnesses who saw a license plate, the police may potentially track down the person who fled the scene of the crash. Unfortunately, although police departments do investigate hit-and-run collisions, they may not invest very many resources in such cases. The Los Angeles Police Department has had a single-digit solve rate for hit-and-run collisions in prior years.
The at-driver may disappear
Frequently, hit-and-run collisions go unsolved by the police, meaning that the person affected is left grappling with expensive injuries or vehicle damage and few options. The mandatory liability insurance required in California doesn’t offer enough support for those affected by a hit-and-run crash.
Only drivers who have invested in extra coverage, such as collision coverage or uninsured motorist protection, will have the option of using their own policies to cover the costs associated with a hit-and-run collision. In some cases, such as when the at-fault driver is identifiable but does not have insurance or not enough coverage, the person may need to go to civil court to pursue a personal injury claim against the person who caused the crash.
Understanding what protections apply and what steps to take can benefit those who have been recently involved in a California hit-and-run collision. Seeking legal guidance as soon as possible can help victims to benefit from meaningful support and clarity.