If you are in an accident and the at-fault driver leaves the scene, you probably wonder what you can do to protect your rights, especially if you or your loved ones have been injured. While it can feel very unnerving to be in that situation, there are some steps you can take to help ensure your rights are protected.
Some things to keep an eye out that might give you a hint that the at-fault driver may be intending to leave the scene of an accident(if they do not do so immediately) include hesitancy to give a name, show an ID, or exchange insurance information. Also, an extreme reaction and resistance to the news that you are intending to call the police If you notice these behaviors, it is wise to snap a photo of the license plate and vehicle of the driver in question. If the driver begins to leave the scene, you may not physically restrain them or threaten them with physical harm. Also, do not attempt to chase them. Immediately call the police and write down or photograph anything you can about the driver and the vehicle.
At the scene of the accident, there are several steps you should take once the at-fault driver leaves the scene. First and foremost, contact the police immediately. You will want the police to come to the scene, interview potential witnesses, and collect any relevant evidence that may have been left behind by the at-fault driver before he or she left the scene. If you got a good look at the vehicle or the driver, immediately write down every detail you can remember while you are waiting for police to arrive at the scene. Of course, if you can recall the license plate number of the vehicle or the make and model of the vehicle, those can be key pieces of information that yow will want to record and relay to the investigating office.
Additionally, while you wait for the officer, snap a picture of any vehicles in the area, including the license plates, of anyone that might have been a witness to the incident. It may also be beneficial, if you can do so safely, to take a short three-hundred-sixty degree video of the scene or photos of the immediately surrounding area at the time just after the accident. If you can, photograph or video the vehicle you were driving and its location following the accident. In the movement, when adrenaline is high and nerves are on edge, you may not be able to think clearly about what information in the area could later be relevant, but if you have good photographs or video of the scene, your vehicle, and damage, your experienced personal injury attorney can review the evidence and use it to help bolster your case should the driver who left the scene later be located.
If you have sustained injuries or property damage as a result from a collision with a driver who left the scene, even if the driver is never found, there are options you can pursue to recover for the damages you have incurred. You likely have insurance for uninsured motorists, which typically kicks in in the case of a hit-and-run or driver that later flees the scene or gives false identification. In the event your car is completely damaged and totaled, you can buy a replacement car – and have the cost of it, whether it’s a car lease in Los Angeles, or a new car, added to your final verdict/settlement.
Regardless of whether the driver is ultimately caught or not, you will want to work with an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney to ensure your rights are protected. An attorney familiar with working with insurance companies will assist you to get the maximum recovery while managing the complex process of filing claims, negotiating with insurance companies, and reaching a favorable settlement.