Glendale Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers
An auto accident is traumatic enough without serious injuries. In a typical car collision, however, the victim can at least file a claim against the at-fault driver for compensation. With a hit-and-run, victims don’t even have that much, and are instead left to cover their own costs, or to file a claim against their own insurance company – which can prove to be challenging at best.
Unlike some other states, California is a “fault” state – the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for compensating the victim for damages. When the at-fault driver has not stopped and rendered aid as is required by law, your options are limited to seeking compensation through your own insurance. Our experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC, are very familiar with how insurance companies work – and we know how put legal pressure on insurance companies in hit-and-run injury cases.
While crashing into another car is not legal, it does not necessarily result in jail time, unlike a hit-and-run. Considering that, it may seem confusing as to why someone would risk severe punishment by fleeing the scene of a collision. There are many reasons, such as:
- Undocumented, fear of deportation
- No vehicle insurance
- Suspended or revoked license
- No license
- Drunk or drug intoxicated
- Carrying a weapon illegally
- A warrant for arrest already exists
- The vehicle is stolen
Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, and when caught, the driver may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the accident. The police will try to apprehend the hit-and-run driver and will interview you and other eyewitnesses to acquire information. If the driver is found, your case could be resolved more easily – the fact that the person fled already implies guilt and fault for the accident. However, the responsible driver may not have insurance, even when apprehended.
The first step is and always will be to seek medical care, as your life and the lives of your passengers are the top priority. However, as much as you can, you should follow these steps:
- Take note of anything you can recall about the offending vehicle – color, make, model, license plate (even partial), what direction it was travelling – anything you can recall can assist in.
- Call 911 for emergency medical care and assistance from law enforcement.
- Ask witnesses to stay and give a report to law enforcement.
- Take photos of the accident and surroundings.
- Speak to the police when they arrive, proving a factual and straightforward account of what occurred.
- Call your attorney as soon as possible, before speaking to any other party, including your insurance company.
Following a serious hit-and-run accident, you may have been left with severe injuries ranging from broken bones to brain damage. That isn’t even to mention the damage done to your car. But when you work with a skilled attorney, he can find avenues of compensation for you, so that you can receive a proper settlement for your:
- Medical bills (both immediate and long-term)
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Lowered quality of life
- Wrongful death compensation (when a loved one is killed in a hit-and-run)
Of course, seeking compensation isn’t as easy as simply demanding a settlement. You will need evidence, proper paperwork, and an experienced lawyer to pursue your case. Most importantly of all, however, you need an insurance company to file your claim against. This is a particular difficulty that comes with hit-and-run accidents.
Following a hit-and-run, you may feel at a loss as to what to do. You have already reported the incident to the police and given all pertinent information. They promised you they would look into it, but that was weeks ago, and you still haven’t received any news. The truth is the police may never find the at-fault driver. The police in Glendale and Los Angeles have other crimes that take precedence over yours. So, if you do not know who hit you, how do you recover compensation?
This is where uninsured motorist (UM) coverage comes in. In California, drivers are legally required to have a certain amount of car insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Part of that package is uninsured motorist coverage. If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a collision with a driver who does not have auto insurance, then you could be left paying for your damages out of your own pocket. A UM policy allows you to file a claim with your own insurance provider to recover compensation.
This can also apply to a hit-and-run. While the at-fault driver may have auto insurance, the fact that you do not know who they are means that you are unable to file a claim against them. If you have UM coverage, then you can instead file with your own insurance company. UM coverage is the best way to recover damages following a hit-and-run accident, especially if it seems unlikely that the police will find the culprit.
However, UM insurance is not a legal requirement in California. Insurance companies are required to offer it to their clients, but you can turn the coverage. You must turn it down in writing so that there is a record that you did not want the coverage. If you do not remember going through this process, then you might have UM coverage.
That being said, just because you are filing a claim against your own insurance company does not mean the process will be any easier. Keep in mind that insurance companies care most about their own profits. The company will pull out every trick in the book to try to force you into taking a low settlement, or deny your claim altogether. That is why you need an attorney.
In a hit-and-run accident in California, you cannot simply file an insurance claim unless the driver is caught, or you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage. In California, an estimated 15.2% of drivers are uninsured, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute, putting law-abiding drivers at risk. Whether you have uninsured motorist coverage or are seeking compensation for damages from your own policies, you are facing an uphill battle. Insurance companies engage in various tactics to attempt to reduce the value of legitimate claims. A personal injury lawyer familiar with now insurance companies operate can help you achieve the level of compensation you deserve.
A full review of your insurance policy can reveal ways our legal team can force the insurance company to pay your fairly. Our knowledge of personal injury law, hit-and-run accidents, and the strategies that work allows us to file a claim supported by evidence to negotiate a fair settlement – or face a trial in civil court. Our legal team is well-known for being aggressive and talented in court – and for causing the insurance company defense lawyers to be inclined to settle fairly, rather than risk a jury verdict.
Our auto accident attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC, are here to help you make it through the difficulties in a hit-and-run injury case. We have over 40 years of combined experience defending the rights of victims and aggressively pursuing the maximum in damages. We believe that victims should be treated with compassion and be provided with the assistance needed to recover fair compensation after a hit-and-run accident. Contact us today at (818) 507-4311 for a free case analysis.
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