For years, California has led the nation in hit-and-run accidents; there are nearly 575,000 hit and run car accident cases in the U.S. every year and more than 20,000 of those accidents occur in the Los Angeles are. Hit-and-run cases are so common, in fact, that statistics from the national government indicate that hit-and-run accidents make up for nearly 9% of total vehicle accidents.
Hit-and-run accidents come with a lot of baggage. Along with the mental and often physical stress that accompanies the aftermath of a hit-and-run, dealing with insurance can be incredibly overwhelming.
Two Types of Hit & Runs According to California Law
It is helpful to understand that in California there are two types of offenses for hit-and-runs: a misdemeanor and a felony.
- Misdemeanor: you can be charged with a misdemeanor hit and run offence if your leave the scene of an accident without making yourself know to the other party or parties involved and if the other party‘s property is damaged in the accident. This charge is under the California Vehicle Code 200002 VC.
- Felony: felonies are concerned with injury. You could be charged with a felony if another human other than yourself is injured or killed in the accident.
Do’s and Don’ts of Hit and Runs
DO collect as much information as possible about the driver and their car. This should include:
- License plate number
- Other vehicle’s, model and color
- Description of damage to the other vehicle
- Which direction the other vehicle was headed
- Photos and description of damage done to your vehicle
- The location, time, and cause of the accident
DO NOT go after the fleeing driver. In fact, do not leave the scene of the accident until police have gathered all necessary information. If you leave the scene of the accident it creates more uncertainty about who is really at fault.
DO collect information from witnesses. Take notes of everything they saw and, if they give a statement to the police, be sure you get their names and contact info. This information is particularly valuable if you weren‘t present with your vehicle (i.e. it was hit in a parking lot).
DO NOT wait to call the police, and especially do not wait to call your insurance company. The sooner these claims are filed the more beneficial they will be for the police to help catch the missing driver, and the sooner your insurance company can settle the claim.
Learn more about how your car insurance policy covers hit & runs
At Best Insurance Services Inc. we help answer questions about auto insurance in Moreno Valley, California. Whether you had a hit-and-run accident or a bad run in with an animal crossing the road, Best Insurance Services Inc. has your back.