the aftermath of a car that was involved in a hit and run

How a hit-and-run lawsuit works in California

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run incident can be a tumultuous and confusing time for anyone. Victims are often left with not only physical injuries but also a host of unanswered questions and a maze of legal complexities. In California, where the busy city streets and crowded highways are the norm, the frequency of such incidents is unfortunately high. At J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA, we understand the pain, frustration, and confusion that can arise in the wake of a hit-and-run accident.

In this blog post, we aim to demystify the process of pursuing a hit-and-run lawsuit in California. From understanding your rights as a victim to navigating the legal system’s intricacies, we will guide you through each step of this challenging journey. Whether you’re dealing with property damage, personal injury, or both, knowing how to proceed in the aftermath of a hit-and-run is crucial for ensuring justice is served and compensation is secured.

Join us as we dive into the essential aspects of a hit-and-run lawsuit in California, offering insights, advice, and support to help you find your footing in this difficult time. Let’s explore the legal pathways available to hit-and-run victims and how J&Y Law Firm can assist you in holding the responsible parties accountable.

How does a hit-and-run lawsuit work in the state of California?

A hit-and-run lawsuit in California involves several steps and legal considerations, given the state’s specific laws and regulations regarding these incidents. Understanding this process is crucial for victims seeking justice and compensation. Here’s how a hit-and-run lawsuit typically works in California:

  1. Report the Incident: Immediately after the incident, it’s important to report the hit-and-run to the police. This is not only a legal requirement but also establishes an official record of the event, which is crucial for any subsequent legal action. Remember to collect as much information as possible at the scene, such as photos, witness contact information, and any details about the fleeing vehicle.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: If you have been injured, seek medical attention right away. This is important for your health and creates medical records that serve as evidence of your injuries resulting from the hit-and-run.
  3. Consult with an Attorney: Contact a personal injury attorney experienced in hit-and-run cases. A specialized lawyer can help navigate the complexities of your case, including dealing with insurance companies and preparing for legal action. In California, legal counsel is particularly important due to the state’s comparative negligence laws and the specific procedures involved in hit-and-run cases.
  4. Investigation: Your attorney will conduct an investigation to gather evidence, which may include surveillance footage, witness statements, police reports, and any available information about the at-fault driver. This step is crucial for building a strong case.
  5. Dealing with Insurance Companies: In many hit-and-run cases, the at-fault driver is not identified. However, you may still be able to receive compensation through your own insurance policy if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Your attorney will help negotiate with your insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages and injuries.
  6. Filing a Lawsuit: If the at-fault driver is identified, your attorney may file a lawsuit against them. In California, you can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Your lawyer will handle the filing process, court appearances, and all negotiations on your behalf.
  7. Discovery Process: During this phase, both parties exchange information and evidence related to the case. This may include depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories.
  8. Settlement Negotiations: Many hit-and-run cases are settled out of court. Your attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company or legal representation to reach a settlement that covers your damages. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial.
  9. Trial: If the case goes to trial, both sides will present their evidence, and a judge or jury will make a decision regarding liability and damages. In California, the trial process can be lengthy, but it may result in compensation that accurately reflects your losses and injuries.
  10. Collecting Your Award: If you win the case or settle out of court, the final step is collecting your compensation. This might involve negotiating with insurance companies or pursuing assets of the at-fault party.

Throughout this process, it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation, especially since California’s laws and the complexities of hit-and-run cases can make navigating the legal system challenging. An experienced attorney will guide you through each step, ensuring your rights are protected and you are positioned to receive the maximum compensation possible for your losses and injuries.

What are your rights as a hit-and-run victim?

As a hit-and-run victim, you have specific rights under the law, designed to protect you and ensure that you can seek compensation for your losses and injuries. Here are the main rights you hold as a hit-and-run victim:

  1. Right to Report the Incident: You have the right to report the hit-and-run to local law enforcement immediately. This ensures that there is an official record of the incident, which is crucial for any legal action you might take later. It also initiates the process of investigation by the authorities.
  2. Right to Medical Care: You have the right to receive medical treatment for any injuries resulting from the hit-and-run. This is essential not only for your health and recovery but also for documenting the extent and nature of your injuries, which can be critical evidence if you seek compensation.
  3. Right to Legal Representation: You have the right to consult with and hire an attorney to represent you in legal matters related to the hit-and-run. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
  4. Right to Compensation: If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. In California, this right extends to cases where the at-fault driver is not identified, through your own uninsured motorist coverage.
  5. Right to File a Civil Lawsuit: If the at-fault driver is identified, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit against them for damages. This legal action is separate from any criminal charges the driver may face for leaving the scene of the accident.
  6. Right to Privacy and Confidentiality: You have the right to privacy and confidentiality throughout the legal process. This includes the handling of your personal and medical information.
  7. Right to a Fair Trial: If your case goes to court, you have the right to a fair trial. This includes the right to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and have a judge or jury examine the facts of your case.
  8. Right to Not Be Blamed for the Accident: As a victim, you have the right not to be unfairly blamed for the incident. California’s comparative negligence laws ensure that even if you are found partially at fault, you can still recover compensation proportionate to the other party’s degree of fault.
  9. Right to Appeal: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your case, you have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court.

It’s important for hit-and-run victims to know and understand these rights to ensure they are fully protected and can navigate the aftermath of the incident with the necessary legal support and resources. If you find yourself in such a situation, contacting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you exercise these rights effectively and pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

Conclusion

Navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run in California can be overwhelming, but understanding your rights and the legal process is the first step toward achieving justice and recovery. At J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA, we are committed to guiding hit-and-run victims through each stage of their lawsuit, ensuring they are informed, supported, and represented with the utmost dedication and expertise.

Remember, as a victim, you are not alone. With the right legal assistance, you can navigate the complexities of your hit-and-run lawsuit, from reporting the incident and seeking medical care to negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, taking your case to trial. 

Our experienced team is here to help you secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries, damages, and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit-and-run, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact J&Y Law Firm anytime 24/7 at 323-202-2305 today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward recovery and resolution. Let us help you turn this challenging chapter into a story of strength and success.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.