It’s often a daunting task to determine who to hold liable after a car accident when you don’t know who was at fault. A hit-and-run accident involves a driver who decides to flee the scene without checking on the other people involved or waiting for law enforcement to arrive. The Sacramento car accident lawyers of Tiemann Law Firm have been representing injured clients for over 20 years and have the experience and resources you need to seek justice for the misconduct of another person.
We can pursue compensation for the medical expenses and other costs you incurred from the accident. We know you likely suffered injuries requiring treatment. Those bills should not be your responsibility when someone else’s negligent actions caused the crash. Tiemann Law Firm and our team of dedicated Sacramento hit-and-run accident attorneys will fight hard for your rights and recover the monetary award you need to heal your injuries and move forward with your life. You won’t be alone during this challenging time.
Call us at (916) 999-9000 for your free same-day case evaluation or to discuss your legal options with one of our representatives.
How to Handle the Aftermath of a Hit-and-Run Accident
A hit-and-run offense occurs when someone:
- Leaves an accident scene before an officer arrives or without reporting the crash to law enforcement;
- Fails to exchange the necessary information with the other drivers involved, such as their name and auto insurance; or
- Causes injuries, fatalities, or property damage.
It is typically a misdemeanor charge if a person leaves the crash scene when there was damage to someone’s vehicle or property. However, it becomes a felony crime if someone sustains injuries or dies and the driver flees without offering assistance.
What you do after a car accident involving a hit-and-run driver could affect your case. It’s vital that you take the appropriate steps to protect your rights so you’re able to seek compensation for the expenses you incurred due to your injuries.
The first thing you should do is notify law enforcement of what happened. Then seek immediate medical treatment with a qualified medical professional. You can request transportation from the accident scene to a hospital or drive yourself to your doctor. Whoever you see, be sure you get a complete evaluation of your injuries to determine the treatment you need to recover.
Follow up with all of your doctors until they decide you no longer require medical treatment or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is a medical determination that further treatment likely won’t improve a person’s condition
You should also hire a Sacramento hit-and-run accident attorney from Tiemann Law Firm. While you’re treating your injuries, we can handle the investigation and gather evidence that proves someone else was at fault for the crash. Once you’ve reached MMI, we can request copies of your complete medical records and bills to submit to the insurance company.
Apportioning Fault and Finding Compensation in California
California follows a fault system when determining who should be held liable after a car accident. The at-fault driver typically becomes financially responsible for any injuries and property damage that occur. Their liability insurance company could provide the compensation you need to cover your various losses, such as medical bills. Unfortunately, in a hit-and-run accident, you don’t know who caused the crash.
Under these circumstances, you could look to your own auto insurance company for assistance. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) is optional insurance coverage available to all drivers in California. If you included it on your policy, it could compensate you for some of the losses you suffered if:
- The at-fault motorist doesn’t have auto insurance;
- Their coverage isn’t high enough to cover your total losses; or
- A hit-and-run driver caused the accident.
The losses you can seek when you file a UM claim include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
The terms and conditions listed on your policy will determine whether you can obtain compensation for your past and future losses. Your compensation may additionally be limited by the amount of UM coverage available. Unfortunately, UM insurance doesn’t cover as much as a liability policy carried by the at-fault driver. Tiemann Law Firm will work tirelessly to track down the careless motorist so you can pursue the amount of compensation you deserve.
Holding the Hit-and-Run Driver Accountable for their Actions
If the Sacramento hit-and-run accident attorneys of Tiemann Law Firm or the investigating officer can locate the driver that fled the scene, you might be able to file a claim with their liability insurance carrier. All vehicle owners and operators in California must purchase auto insurance with minimum liability limits. These limits are:
- Injury or death to a person: $15,000
- Injury or death to more than one person: $30,000
- Property damage: $5,000
Filing a liability claim could help you recover compensation for the following losses:
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Insurance companies rarely have the accident victim’s interests in mind as they’re calculating a settlement offer. They might try to blame the accident on you as a way to get out of accepting liability for their policyholder’s actions. At Tiemann Law Firm, our legal team has experience reviewing hit-and-run cases to determine the full and fair settlement our clients should receive.
While we’re negotiating with the insurance company for the monetary value of your case, we will consider all contributing factors and evidence we can find, such as:
- Type of injury and its severity
- Total expenses resulting from the accident
- Duration of the recovery period
- The emotional or mental impact of the crash on your daily life
- Whether you suffered a permanent injury, impairment, or disability
- The estimated cost of medical treatment you need in the future
- Availability of evidence proving the hit-and-run driver caused the crash
- Your time missed from work while recovering
- Amount of auto insurance coverage listed on all available policies
You could also have an opportunity to sue the other driver for the harm they caused. If you want to file a lawsuit, you must comply with the state’s statute of limitations. This is a strict timeframe for initiating legal action in court against another person. California follows a two-year statute of limitations, meaning you must file suit within two years of the accident date.
You could lose your right to seek compensation if you don’t file the initial legal documents by the deadline. However, these three significant exceptions could pause the clock and extend the amount of time you have to begin the process:
- You were deemed legally incompetent at the time of the accident. The clock would begin once you gain mental competency.
- You were a minor when the crash occurred. The clock would start again when you turn 18 years old.
- The defendant left the state. The clock would only begin once they return, and their absence wouldn’t count towards the two-year time limit.
Tolling, or suspending, the statute of limitations can be complicated for anyone who doesn’t understand the procedure. You must petition the court and show proof of one of these exceptions. This is where having an experienced Sacramento hit-and-run accident attorney on your side can be beneficial. Tiemann Law Firm will review all available options to determine if you deserve more time to file your lawsuit.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
When you’re already dealing with doctor visits, time away from work, and the expenses that come with recovering after a car accident, handling the legal aspects of a case can seem overwhelming. You shouldn’t have to take on the responsibility of an insurance claim or lawsuit while you’re trying to heal your injuries. You could also face challenges that you don’t know how to overcome with your limited knowledge of state laws and legal procedures.
Most accident victims worry about the additional cost of hiring a lawyer to help them with their cases. They often choose to handle their claim alone, thinking it will be easy to recover compensation. However, insurance companies always search for reasons to deny someone’s claim or avoid a large settlement payout. The defense attorneys these companies hire have extensive litigation experience and could intimidate you into dropping your case.
Only a qualified and aggressive Sacramento hit-and-run accident attorney from Tiemann Law Firm can effectively and efficiently handle your case. Don’t leave the results up to chance. When you hire us, we won’t charge any upfront fees or costs. We don’t get paid unless you get paid. If we lose your case, you won’t owe us anything for our services, now or in the future.
Call Tiemann Law Firm for a Free Same-Day Consultation
At Tiemann Law Firm, our Sacramento hit-and-run accident attorneys are ready to represent you in your case and hold the other driver accountable for their actions. They not only caused the accident but showed their lack of care for your well-being. By fleeing the scene, they committed a crime and put your safety at risk. We won’t stand for someone getting away with causing our clients pain and distress. You can depend on our team to advocate for your rights and fight by your side for the justice you deserve.
If you suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident in Sacramento, call Tiemann Law Firm today at (916) 999-9000 to discuss your case and how we can help.