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What You Can Do in California if You’ve Been Hurt by a Hit-and-Run Driver

Anytime you are injured (or a loved one is killed) in an auto accident, it is an incredibly stressful time. That stress and pain only go up exponentially when the driver who caused the accident flees the scene. Just because the person who hurt you was a hit-and-run driver, that doesn’t mean that you have no options to recover any compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. There are still ways to get the money you need, so be sure to reach out without delay to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney about pursuing your case.

Fatal hit-and-run accidents occur with depressing frequency in California. In 2016, 337 of the nation’s 2,049 hit-and-run deaths happened in this state. That 337 figure was a 60% increase over 2009, according to CBS Sacramento.

Another one just took place this past September in Solano County. According to the Daily Republic, the male victim was crossing Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo a little before 11 p.m. when a vehicle struck and killed him. Police had little to go on regarding the fatal impact.

If you have been hit and injured by a hit-and-run driver, you may have a few different options when it comes to seeking compensation for the harm you incurred. If you recall anything about the collision, such as a description of the driver, a description of the vehicle, a partial license plate number, etc., you could communicate that information to the police.

With that information to go on, the police may be able to locate the driver who hit you. If they do, you can pursue a civil case against that driver. A jury may find that the driver’s hit-and-run conduct was so egregious and outrageous that it permits you to recover, not just compensatory damages for your losses but punitive damages, as well.

The options when there’s no finding the hit-and-run driver

More commonly, though, there’s nothing to go on, or there’s not enough for the police to catch the hit-and-run driver. Even when that’s the case, there’s still opportunity. Generally, most drivers’ uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverages within their auto insurance policies allow them to file a claim for a hit-and-run accident. This may entitle you to receive a payment covering your medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering from your insurer.

This might seem simple and straightforward, but regrettably, too often, it’s not. Many auto insurers make the process needlessly complicated and may balk at paying you the full amount you deserve… or even pay you anything at all. They may assert that your injuries are not as bad as you say they are, or they may assert that the harm you suffered comes from some pre-existing problem you had, not from your hit-and-run accident.

That’s where skillful legal counsel can be invaluable. An experienced injury attorney has the knowledge and the background to take on your insurance company, cut through the barriers and the red tape, and help you get the full amount to which you are entitled. They can provide you with the essential advocacy you need throughout the process, including negotiating with the insurance company and, if the insurer fails to make a fair settlement of your claim, taking your case to court.

All injury accidents are stressful and painful. A hit-and-run accident, whether you are a pedestrian or in a vehicle, is all of these things, plus frustrating and infuriating. Whatever you’re feeling, don’t give in to feelings of hopelessness when it comes to recovering the payment of damages you need. Count on the experienced San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to provide you with the effective legal representation you need to get the recovery you deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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