When a driver is involved in an accident, the law expects you to stop and help the accident victim. Also, you should provide your vehicle and insurance details for the sake of accountability. A hit and run car accident occurs when a driver is involved in a car accident but fails to stop at the accident scene and flees. A hit and run accident can cause minor injuries but can also be fatal. If you or your loved one suffers serious injuries after a hit and run, you are entitled to compensation benefits from the driver responsible for your damages. It is essential to have legal representation of an attorney from the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney to increase your chances of success in the claim. Our group of competent attorneys serves clients from Orange County, CA, to ensure the best possible outcome in your claim.
Overview of Hit and Run Accidents
If you are involved in an accident in California, you are expected to stop ad help take care of the victims. Also, you need to provide your car insurance details as well as your address to other drivers involved in the accident. Regardless of whether you think you are at fault for the accident or not, it is an offense to flee an accident scene. Also, if you hit a vehicle or property on the road, you should leave a note indicating your information. You should also contact the police to come and assess the accident scene.
It is considered a hit and run accident when a person involved in the crash intentionally leaves the accident scene without providing their information. Even when you are not at fault for the accident, you need to stop and check on other people affected in the accident. Most hit and run cases occur when a driver hits another driver, a pedestrian, or even a car parked on the roadside.
Getting involved in a hit and run accident mainly when the person who caused your injuries cannot be found. However, it is essential to understand that you can get compensatory damages for the injuries you suffer. If a person leaves the scene after causing your injuries, it is vital to call the police at the scene. The police will assess the accident, and their report can be of significant help in your injury claim.
After the accident, you will need to get a medical checkup. Obtaining medical treatment on time for any injury is essential. You should inform the doctor of any damage you may have suffered, no matter how minor. Follow through your prescription ad you should feel ashamed to seek a second opinion.
Even if you feel okay, it is important to hear it from the doctor. This is because some injuries are not self-evident, and showing the link between the injuries and the hit and run accident is stressful. Getting medical attention will ensure that you have not suffered some internal injuries. Also, showing that someone else’s carelessness caused the injuries can be of great help in your injury claim. The medical report will be used to get compensation benefits for the damages you suffered in the accident.
If it is possible, you need to gather as much information as you can about other people involved in the hit and run accident. If you saw the vehicle before the driver left, you should write down the plate number and additional information you remember about the car that caused your injuries. A damage mark on the vehicle or any unique feature can help the police identify the car and get the driver responsible for the injuries you suffered.
If, after the accident, the driver stepped out, you must have seen their face and giving their description. If there were other people at the scene, you could get their contacts so they can act as witnesses in your injury claim. Getting photographic evidence is of significant importance. This can be used to indicate the damage done by the accident. Ensure any crucial details that affect your claim is captured.
Sometimes the accident may be too severe that you cannot be able to collect any information. In this case, you need to seek medical attention first. Afterward, you can send someone to go back to the accident scene. The presence of skid marks or shattered glass can be a good indication of how the accident took place. If you want to file a personal injury claim after a hit and run car accident, it is essential to have legal guidance from a personal injury attorney.
Common Injuries You Might Suffer in a Hit and Run Accident
Injuries caused by a hit and run accident can range from minor to fatal. Especially if you are a pedestrian hit by a car, you may suffer severe injuries from the impact with the vehicle. The following are the most common injuries you may suffer from a hit and run car accident:
Your bones can break in different ways, from small cracks to multiple fractures on different bones. When you are involved in a hit and run accident, you will have an impact on the vehicle and with the ground if you are a pedestrian. After a collision, you may be too shake or in shock to realize that you have a broken bone. Some of the severe bone injuries will be noted as you seek medical care. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention even when you don’t feel any pain.
Some common types of broken bone injuries include:
- Compound fractures where the broken bone tears through your skin and is noticed with a wound
- Hairline fracture where bone cracks but you cannot quickly see
- Greenstick bone fracture. This is a bone fracture occurring mostly children since they have softer bones
- Oblique fracture. This is a diagonal break that happens when one bone twists over another.
If you suffer a bone fracture regardless of the severity, you can seek compensation in a personal injury claim.
Neck and Back Injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord are cord is characterized by the damage of ligaments, discs, and the vertebrae of the spinal cord. The impact experienced following a hit and run accident can result in breakage dislocation or complete damage to your spinal cord. Injuries to your spinal code can be severe, and it is essential to be checked by a doctor and treated as soon as possible. The following complications may come up as a result of spinal cord injuries:
- Loss of the ability to move the parts of your body below the waist
- Impaired bladder and bowel function
- Loss of sexual function
- Severe pain and loss of sensation
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
When the accident is not critical, you may suffer back injuries and neck injuries. This happens when the ligaments muscles and tendons are stretched. Back and neck injuries can be very painful and prevent you from carrying out your daily life regularly. When you suffer spinal or back injuries from another person’s negligence, it can leave you devastated. Fortunately, you can get compensated for the responsible party with the help of a personal injury attorney.
Head and Brain Injuries
A brain injury can occur regardless of whether the skull is broken or not. When a hit and run accident occurs, your head will have a severe impact from the hard surface of the vehicle or the ground. A traumatic brain injury can be mild, where it resolves with time. A severe traumatic brain injury can affect your concentration, coordination, and other cognitive abilities.
Some symptoms of brain injury are:
- Short or long term memory loss
- Emotional irritability
- Impaired speech
- Long periods of unconsciousness
- Poor coordination
- Severe headaches
Some brain injuries are not easily noticed. Therefore, it is vital to seek immediate attention if you suffered a head impact in a hit and run accident. Also, brain injuries will cause you to spend a significant amount of time in the hospital and pay hefty medical bills. If you or your loved one suffers a brain injury from a hit and run accident, you can file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Hit and run accident injuries, especially where you were directly hit by the car, will not only cause visible injuries but can cause severe damage to your internal organs. Internal injuries can either be blunt or penetrative. Blunt injuries may not have visible blood, and the body bleeds from the inside. On the other hand, penetrative internal injuries occur when a sharp object from the accident enters your body, damaging the internal organs.
When you are compressed on a heavy object, the blood vessels can rupture, causing internal bleeding. If not treated in time, most internal injuries can cause death. Any internal damage resulting from the hit and run accident could be compensated in a personal injury claim.
Compensation Benefits in a Hit and Run Car Accident Claim
California personal injury law permits you to recover various types of damages for the injuries you suffered from a hit and run accident. It is crucial to seek legal representation to accrue maximum benefits from a personal injury claim. Some of the benefits you can recover after such an accident include:
Medical Rehabilitation Benefits
When a person causes a hit and run accident where you suffer injuries, you are entitled to compensation. A successful personal injury will see you get a benefit for the money you used to pay for medical rehabilitation. Immediately after an accident, you need to get medical attention to ensure you have not suffered severe injuries. Before the lawsuit goes on trial, you can use your medical cover to pay the bills. This is because most at-fault parties will rarely accept responsibility for the injuries before the hearing.
If you do not have a medical cover, you can be treated by a private doctor. Most of these doctors work on a lien basis, and payments are made from the proceeds of the claim. If the hospital bills exceed the recovery, you will be responsible for the medical bills. When you visit a doctor, it is vital to ensure that all your treatment records and the costs are noted. It should also be indicated that your injuries resulted from the hit and run accident.
The copies of your medical records will be sent to the other party’s insurer. This is because they will want to make sure that your injuries resulted from their actions. Your medical records will act as a basis for compensation in the personal injury claim. If you have existing injuries before the accident, it could be difficult to claim compensation for medical bills. However, a competent attorney can help you prove that the accident worsened the injuries.
When you are involved in a severe hit and run accident, you may not be able to go to work as you nurse the injuries. Lost wages are the amount in regularly paid salary, overtime, bonuses, or self-employment income you are not able to get as a result of the damages. California law allows you to seek compensation for lost wages from the person responsible for the accident. If you are injured in a hit and run accident, you have until two years to file a claim for lost wages.
To get compensation for the lost wages, you need to show proof of earnings and payments the injuries deprived you. This could be done by a lost wages letter from your employer, your past tax returns, and pay stubs. If you are self-employed, you can show proof of lost income by producing your billing records. Also, you can provide statements indicating the amount you earned at the same time in the previous years.
Future Lost Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is the loss of your ability to make a living in the future. Severe injuries such as spinal injuries, head damage, and loss of limbs can affect your job. Sometimes the injuries are too severe, and you will need to quit your job altogether. For individuals paid on the amount of work done, an injury can slow them down, reducing the amount you earn after returning to work. If you feel that the damage from a hit and run accident is affecting your earning capacity, you should file a claim to get compensation. The personal injury claim should be filed within two years, after which your claim may be dismissed.
The court’s decision to award compensation for lost earning capacity is affected by the following factors:
- The duration within which the injuries cause incapacitation
- The possibility of getting better and returning to your original employment
- Your age. A young person will be more affected by the inability to work as compared to an older adult.
- Your state of health before the accident
- Your long term employment goals and potential raises or promotions
If you were employed before the crash, the proof of lost future earning capacity could be collected from the testimonies of your employer. Also, medical records can be used to show your level of incapacitation. You don’t have to be employed so you can get compensation for lost earning capacity. If you are a student or attending vocational training, you can claim that the injuries suffered from the accident will affect you when it comes to finding a job.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Most hit and run car accidents cause severe pain from all injuries you suffer. With this, you are likely to spend a significant amount of time in the hospital. Accident victims also suffer from trauma and emotional pain. Although there isn’t a specific way to calculate pain and suffering, you can still seek compensation in a personal injury claim. For pain and suffering, you don’t need to have a physical injury to get compensation.
Death and Funeral Expense Benefits
Unfortunately, most hit and run car accidents result in death. This is the case, especially when the victim of the accident is a pedestrian. If your loved one succumbs to death from the accident, you can file a claim against the responsible party for wrongful death. However, the law will allow the following family members to file for compensation:
- Domestic partners
- Children and grandchildren of the deceased
- Legal dependents of the deceased
If you are successful in the claim, you can be compensated for funeral and burial expenses. It is vital to have guidance from a personal injury attorney when pursuing a personal injury claim. This will increase your chances of receiving maximum benefits.
Factors Influencing Potential Compensation benefits for Hit and Run Accident Victims
If you suffer substantial injuries in a hit and run accident, you will want to file a personal injury. A successful personal injury claim will see you get compensation for the injuries you suffered. Also, if your property was destroyed in an accident, you will still be compensated. When you file for a compensation claim, you may be curious about how the benefits will be awarded and the number of benefits you get. The following are some factors which affect the number of benefits you receive for injuries caused by a hit and run accident:
- The severity of your Injuries
If you suffer an injury or property is damaged in a hit and run accident, you will receive economic benefits. Also, you may get non-economic benefits depending on the severity of the injuries. If you suffer serious injuries, your life may be more affected; thus, you will receive higher benefits. The younger you are, the more benefits you are likely to get. This is because you have a more extended period to live with the effects of the accident.
- The legitimacy of the Personal Injury Claims
After filing for the personal injury claim, the person responsible for the accident may want to sabotage your case. This is by finding any loopholes in the evidence you produce in court. It is essential to give correct and factual information about the occurrences. An exaggeration can cause the dismissal of your claim.
- Evidence of negligence by the driver
You will require enough evidence to show that the person who fled the accident scene is responsible for the accident your injuries to build a strong personal injury case. To conclusively prove this, you will require photographic evidence or testimony from people who were at the accident scene. Whether or not you can show these facts will be a determining factor in the amount of benefit you get.
- Value of Property Damaged
A hit and run accident can cause damage to your property besides the bodily injury. If you can prove that your property was damaged, you claim compensation for the item destroyed. The value of the damaged property can influence the benefits you get awarded.
- Legal representation
Immediately after involvement in the hit and run accident, it is crucial to contact a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will guide you on the information relevant to your cases and increase your chances of being successful in your claim. Also, navigating this process with the guidance of a competent attorney will ensure you receive maximum benefits for the injuries you suffered.
Find a Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
A hit and run accident can lead to injuries ranging from soft tissue injuries to severe or even fatal head and spinal injuries. When an accident occurs, the liability will be established, and you can get compensated if the other driver was at fault for the accident. If you have suffered injuries from a hit and run accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the individual responsible for your accident. For higher chances of success in your claim, consider seeking the legal representation of a personal injury attorney. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we will guide you through the claim to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us today on 714-876-1959 from any location in Orange County, CA, to discuss the details of your claim.