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Your Legal Options in California if You, as a Pedestrian, Have Been Hurt by a Hit-and-Run Driver

Anytime you are a pedestrian who was injured in a vehicle accident (or you have a loved one who was killed in a pedestrian collision,) it is definitely a painful, stressful, and difficult time. That stress inevitably goes even higher if the driver who hit you or your loved one fled the scene of the accident without stopping. While being hurt by a hit-and-run driver may make your injury lawsuit case more challenging, your case is far from impossible. A skilled San Mateo pedestrian accident attorney can help you get the most out of your case, even if it involved a hit-and-run driver.

In Redwood City, a recent one of these hit-and-run accidents proved to be fatal. According to the Palo Alto Daily Post, a male pedestrian was struck by a white cargo van in the 1600 block of El Camino Real. The driver of the van fled the scene. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fortunately, in this case, law enforcement officers were able to track down the hit-and-run driver. Police used surveillance video footage from a nearby business, along with eyewitness descriptions of the van, to track down the vehicle and the driver in San Bruno. Police booked the 69-year-old driver on charges of felony hit-and-run and vehicular homicide, according to FOX 2.

While the authorities found this hit-and-run driver, this case presents a question: what if they hadn’t?

Every injury lawsuit must state a cause of action that is recognized by the law and must also state a defendant who is liable for that harm.

So, what can you do if the person liable is unknown to you because they were a hit-and-run driver? There are potentially various options. The first option is to work to identify the vehicle. If you can track down the vehicle, but cannot find the driver, the identity of the vehicle still serves as an important “leg up” for your case. You can potentially sue the owner of the vehicle and name a “John Doe defendant” to stand in for the driver.

You may be able to get a payment from your own insurer

Other times, despite best efforts, the authorities never find the vehicle or the driver. Even when that happens, you possibly still have a way to obtain much-needed compensation. If you have auto insurance that includes underinsured/uninsured motorist (called “UIM”) coverage, then you can file a claim with your own insurer and get that insurance company to pay at least a portion of your damages. How much you may be able to receive could be limited by certain factors, such as the UIM coverage limit amount stated within your policy.

Of course, dealing with insurance companies is often as trying and frustrating as undertaking litigation in court. In both scenarios, it pays to have a strong advocate speaking for you. You need someone with the experience necessary to take on the insurance companies aggressively and the skills to go to court and win. Count on the powerful San Mateo pedestrian accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to get results for you and your family. 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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