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The effects of a hit-and-run accident can be a distressing experience, especially considering the severe impact it can have. In California, hit-and-run accidents are a prevalent issue, often leaving victims with physical, emotional, and financial burdens. Understanding the legal procedures and knowing what to do in such a situation is crucial for protecting your rights and seeking justice.


Hit-and-run accidents in California can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, each carrying significant penalties under California Vehicle Code § 20002. As a victim, being aware of the relevant legal provisions and procedures becomes essential for pursuing rightful compensation and holding the responsible party accountable. In this blog post, our San Diego car accident attorneys delve into the specifics of hit-and-run accidents in California, shedding light on the legal framework and the steps victims should take to safeguard their interests.

What Constitutes a Hit-And-Run Accident in California?

When a driver leaves the scene of an accident without identifying themselves or rendering aid to the injured, it’s classified as a hit-and-run. This definition applies to accidents that involve other vehicles, pedestrians, or property damage. It is a legal requirement for drivers involved in accidents to stop, provide their name and address, and show their driver’s license when requested. Failure to do so is a hit-and-run offense under California law.

What Are the Legal Implications of Hit-And-Run Accidents?

The implications of a hit-and-run accident in California can be severe. Drivers who leave the scene of an accident can face criminal charges, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment, especially if the accident resulted in injuries or fatalities. Additionally, hit-and-run accidents can lead to civil lawsuits, where victims may seek compensation for damages and injuries.


For more information on hit-and-run accidents in California, visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles for official regulations and guidelines.

Immediate Actions After a Hit-And-Run Accident

Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be disorienting and distressing, but taking immediate action is crucial for your safety and building a solid legal case. Here’s what you need to do after a hit-and-run incident.

Contacting Law Enforcement

Your priority after a hit-and-run accident should be to contact law enforcement. In California, the law requires drivers to stop and provide their information in the event of an accident.


If the other driver flees the scene, promptly call 911 to report the incident. Providing as much detail as possible about the other vehicle and the direction it’s headed can aid law enforcement in their pursuit.


It’s important to note that, according to California Vehicle Code § 20002, a hit and run can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the accident. Penalties for a misdemeanor can include imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1,000, while a felony charge carries more severe consequences.

Seeking Medical Attention

Following a hit-and-run accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention, even if you initially feel uninjured. Adrenaline and shock can mask symptoms of underlying injuries, so it’s crucial to undergo a thorough medical evaluation. Additionally, obtaining medical documentation early on is vital for supporting any potential legal claims arising from the accident.


Preserving Evidence at the Scene

Preserving evidence at the hit-and-run scene is crucial for subsequent legal proceedings. If it’s safe, take photographs of the accident site, any damage to your vehicle, and any visible injuries. Collect the contact information of any witnesses who may have observed the incident, as their testimony can be valuable in substantiating your account of the events. By promptly taking these actions, you can protect your well-being and strengthen your case in the aftermath of the accident. It’s important to remain proactive and seek legal assistance to navigate the complexities of pursuing justice following such an event. Remember, your actions immediately after a hit-and-run can significantly impact the outcome of any subsequent legal proceedings and insurance claims. It’s crucial to prioritize your well-being and legal protection by taking appropriate steps as soon as possible after the incident.

Role of Insurance Companies

After a hit-and-run accident, victims may turn to their insurance companies for assistance. In California, victims can seek support from their own insurance providers to cover the damages and injuries resulting from a hit-and-run incident. Understanding the terms of your insurance policy, including coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorist incidents, is essential when pursuing compensation for the damages incurred.

Seeking Compensation Through a Civil Lawsuit

In California, hit-and-run victims can seek compensation through a civil lawsuit. Pursuing a civil lawsuit may enable victims to seek damages for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses due to the hit-and-run incident. Consulting with a reputable attorney specializing in hit-and-run cases can provide valuable guidance on the legal options available and the potential for seeking compensation through a civil lawsuit.

What Are the Legal Rights and Protections for Hit-And-Run Victims in California?

Understanding your legal rights and the protections available under California law can guide you through the aftermath. As a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you have the right to seek legal recourse for the damages and injuries incurred. These rights are designed to protect you and ensure that you receive the necessary support and compensation for the harm caused by the negligent driver who fled the scene.


Hit-and-run victims have the right to:


  • Seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress caused by the accident.
  • Pursue legal action against the at-fault party, even if their identity is unknown at the time of the incident.
  • Receive support from legal professionals who specialize in hit-and-run cases to navigate the complexities of seeking justice.

Hold the Responsible Parties Accountable With Help From Our Experienced Attorneys

Our experienced hit-and-run attorneys stand ready to provide personalized, evidence-based legal guidance to you and yours. We’ve recovered millions for our clients and have no plans to stop anytime soon. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.



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