In California, any driver involved in a car accident must remain at the scene. While there are some exceptions to this rule, such as denting a parked car, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime. California is particularly hard on those who break this law. A misdemeanor is issued for those who leave the scene after causing property damage, as well as up to six months in jail and a serious fine, and felony charges face those drivers who leave an accident where a person was injured or died.
Unfortunately, hit and runs are a serious problem in California. In Los Angeles alone, the police department reports about 20,000 hit and runs every year. The California Highway Patrol reports that 11 percent of those crashes called in to the police involved a driver who fled the scene. About 60 percent of the victims of hit and run accidents were pedestrians and nearly 20 percent of pedestrian deaths were related to hit and runs. In fact, a startling ten percent of fatal injury car accidents could be attributed to hit and run accidents. Within this one state, 1,500 people die every year in hit and run crashes.
Rather than facing increased insurance rates, heavy fines, and time in jail, remain at the scene of a collision. California Vehicle Code requires drivers to exchange names and addresses, driver’s license information, vehicle identification numbers, and insurance information. If the driver is not the owner of the car, the name of the owner must be provided. Law enforcement must be notified of the accident. (The law requires this step when the accident resulted in a death, but many insurance companies require a statement from the police.) Aid must be provided to anyone who was injured in the accident. The failure to provide these facts to the other driver and law enforcement could result in a ticket and an expensive fine.
The laws in California are clear. A tipsy driver who hits a parked car on the way home and continues home is guilty of a hit and run. A driver who was not responsible for an accident and leaves the scene because of a suspended license is also guilty of a hit and run charge. It doesn’t matter who is at fault in the accident; all drivers involved must remain at the scene. California drivers should know the law and take care to abide by those rules.
If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident, it may be very difficult for you to secure the compensation you may need for vehicle repairs, medical bills, and other damages. In these instances, it is especially important that you contact a California car accident attorney, immediately. Time is definitely a factor, so do not delay- call us today!