A car accident can change your life in a matter of seconds. After a crash, you may suffer severe injuries, and your car may sustain significant damage. But, in most cases, you won’t have to worry about paying for your medical expenses or car repairs. Generally, at-fault drivers, or their insurers, must pay for the damages caused by the collision. However, what can you do if someone hits your car and drives off the scene right after hitting your car?
These types of cases are known as “hit and run accidents.” Although the law requires all motorists to make a responsible effort to identify the other driver after a car accident, some people may choose to flee the scene. While they might face criminal charges for driving away from the crash site, victims will also have a hard time in these situations.
Read on if you want to know your options after a hit-and-run accident and how a Los Angeles car accident lawyer could help you deal with the situation.
Things to do at the scene of the accident
In the event that an irresponsible driver flees the scene after crashing your car, or you find a severe dent in your parked car after leaving the grocery store, here’s what you should do:
If there are any injuries after the collision, call 911 immediately so that ambulances can be sent to the scene. Even if no one was hurt, calling the police is a crucial step.
After your call, they will send a patrol car to assess the situation. Notify the officers of any details you remember about the vehicle that hit you so that they can include it in the police report.
Gather all available evidence
If you could catch a glimpse of the other vehicle after the crash, try to write down as many details as you can. The car’s model, color, and license plate number may help identify the driver later.
Also, if your injuries allow, you should document the accident. Take pictures of the damage to your car and your injuries. Then, look for any witnesses and get their contact information.
Seek medical attention
If you were inside the car at the time of the accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Besides taking care of your treatment, the doctor will issue a medical report you can use during your compensation claim.
Notify your insurance company
Notifica a tu compañía de seguros mientras sigues en la escena del accidente, dado a que será más sencillo recordar todos los detalles. Tu agente de seguros te notificará de qué opciones tienes para recibir compensación.
Consult with a Los Angeles car accident attorney
Consulting with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer may help you navigate the situation more quickly. The attorney will explain all of the available options for obtaining some type of compensation. Generally, the alternatives will depend on whether or not the other driver was identified.
Law firms such as C&B Law Group offer completely free consultations. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need help after a hit-and-run accident, feel free to give them a call.
Who will pay for your damages?
After a hit-and-run accident, the first question that may come to mind is, “who will pay for my damages?” The answer will depend on whether the other driver was identified after the accident.
If you can identify the driver
There are several ways to identify drivers after a hit-and-run accident. For example, let’s say someone was in a hurry and hit your parked car. In that case, their duty would be to leave a note with their contact information so you can call them later. On the other hand, if someone crashed into you on the freeway, but you managed to write down their license plate number, the police may be able to identify the driver.
In these cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for all of your damages, including your medical expenses, car repairs, and compensation for pain and suffering.
If you can’t identify the driver
However, identifying the other driver may simply be impossible. In these cases, you will have to turn to your own insurance company to get the money you need to deal with the consequences of the crash.
Now, the money you could receive will depend on your type of policy. Two types of coverage can help you in this situation:
Collision coverage: Usually, this will help you pay for the damage to your vehicle or replace it, depending on the circumstances. Under this coverage, you don’t need to identify the other driver to file a claim.
Uninsured driver coverage: This coverage can also help you pay for damages caused by drivers who left the scene or are uninsured. However, this type of coverage is not available in all states. Check with your broker to learn more details about your insurance policy.