Orange County Hit And Run Accident Lawyer
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Everyone dreads becoming a hit-and-run accident victim. Besides suffering property damage and injuries, victims have the added stress of an unidentified liable party.
Nordean Law investigates personal injury claims to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice. In cases where the offender remains unidentified, we negotiate hard with our client’s insurance companies to maximize settlements under their uninsured motorist coverage.
Hit-and-run accidents are an unfortunate scourge of California roadways, but you don’t have to suffer financial loss because of another person’s bad actions. Nordean Law will fight to win the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been charged with Vehicle Code § 2002(a), contact our office online or call 888-527-1267 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer. Our law firm handles car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get compensated if you don’t get compensated. But when we win our client’s cases, we pay for them.
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What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
Hit-and-run accidents happen when drivers involved in a collision flee the scene without identifying themselves to the other motorist or reporting the incident to the authorities. Fleeing the scene of an accident is against California law and can land the offender in jail. People flee accident scenes for many reasons. For example, some may fear being identified as drunk or drugged drivers, while others have no auto insurance. Many hit-and-run drivers hope to evade the responsibility even though they are insured.
Some hit-and-run drivers flee because they have caused severe accidents, significant injuries, and possible fatalities. Seeing a badly injured pedestrian or another vehicle rolled over makes some people think they will face terrible repercussions, and they decide to race away.
These drivers fail to realize that leaving the scene only makes matters worse for them, and it is callous and illegal to leave the scene of a severe collision rather than trying to help the victims and report the incident.
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Most Common Hit-and-Run Accident Injuries
Hit-and-run injuries range from minor to fatal. Unfortunately, hit-and-run drivers often flee scenes where they struck pedestrians or cyclists because their vehicles remain driveable.
Common hit-and-run accident injuries include the following:
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fatal injuries
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Orange County?
Hit-and-run accidents come as a shock. This can make it difficult to know what to do if you become a victim. Knowing how to handle a hit and run beforehand helps you to take the proper actions when under stress.
If you’re the victim of a hit and run, follow the below steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
Seek Medical Treatment
Calling an ambulance is axiomatic if you have visible and painful injuries; however, you should seek medical treatment even if your injuries seem minor or you have no immediate symptoms. In addition, some injuries have latent onset effects.
By seeking medical treatment, you establish the link between your injuries and the accident, a key factor in winning a personal injury claim in court.
Record Information Identifying the Offender
Please note the license plate, vehicle type, and driver’s description. Write down this information as soon as possible to avoid forgetting critical details. Even better, snap a picture or video clip of the vehicle and offender with your smartphone.
Avoid a Confrontation with the Suspect
You never know why a driver has fled the scene. The person could be hopped up on drugs, be wanted by the law, or have a dangerous case of road rage. Chasing a hit-and-run suspect should be left to the police.
Contact the Police
Instead of chasing and confronting the suspect, note the vehicle’s details and the person’s description. Contact the police and provide them with this information. They will take it from there.
In addition to the vehicle description and suspect, obtain the contact information for any witnesses and take photos of the damage to your car. These pieces of evidence could prove pivotal in a personal injury case.
Take note of any security cameras in the area. For example, they may have recorded footage of the incident or suspect vehicle.
Contact Nordean Law
Nordean law specializes in vehicle accident cases, including hit and runs. Even if the offender is uninsured or cannot be identified, you can win compensation from your auto insurance policy. However, your insurer may try to minimize the damages, leaving you shortchanged. Nordean Law will negotiate for the compensation you deserve.
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California Vehicle Code: Misdemeanor Hit And Run
The California vehicle code defines misdemeanor hit-and-runs as those that cause property damage. For example, when the accident causes injury or death, the hit-and-run becomes a felony.
Courts convict hit-and-run drivers of a misdemeanor when the prosecution proves the following:
- The driver was involved in a vehicle accident
- The accident damages another person’s property
- The defendant knew or should have known that the accident caused property damage
- The defendant willfully failed to stop at the scene or provide the other party with identifying information
Offenders face felony convictions if the state can prove the following:
- The driver was involved in a vehicle accident.
- The accident caused injury or killed someone other than the defendant.
- The defendant knew or should have known that the accident caused injury or death.
- The defendant failed to perform one or more duties: stopping immediately at the scene, rendering appropriate aid to the victim(s), and contacting authorities.
Felony hit and runs in California are “wobbler” charges. Wobblers allow the prosecutor to charge the defendant with a felony or a misdemeanor. Prosecutors consider the facts of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history in deciding how to charge the case. In addition, the judge can reduce a felony hit and run to a misdemeanor.
California Hit and Run Statute of Limitations
California has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. However, there are a few exceptions, such as if the injury is discovered after two years, but the fact it was a hit-and-run does not qualify as an exception.
It should take the authorities less than two years to identify the driver. However, if somehow the driver is identified after more than two years, you are still barred from filing a personal injury claim against the driver; however, they face a six-year statute of limitations on criminal charges.
How Can I Get Compensation if the Driver Isn’t Caught in a Hit and Run?
Yes, you can receive compensation through your auto insurance coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage kicks in when you are the victim of an unidentified hit-and-run driver. For this reason, you should always carry uninsured and underinsured motorist protection.
Nordean Law gets hit-and-run victims the compensation they deserve. When the driver is identified, we proceed aggressively against this person’s irresponsible and dangerous conduct. When the driver escapes justice, we negotiate hard with your insurance company to maximize the settlement. The other driver fled should not affect how much compensation you receive.
Contact Nordean Law for a free consultation.