A hit and run accident occurs when a driver flees the scene of an accident. When the driver flees the scene, you cannot exchange insurance information or contact information, which can make it more difficult for you to pursue compensation for the damages to your vehicle or your injuries.
As many as 50% of auto accidents in the Los Angeles area are hit and runs—a much higher rate than the rest of the nation, which is around 11%. Unfortunately, Los Angeles police officers only catch an average of 8-12% of hit and run drivers. Contact a Tarzana hit and run accident lawyer today for a consultation from our seasoned attorneys.
Why are Hit and Run Accidents So Complicated?
Hit and run accidents complicate the investigation process for a number of reasons.
The need to establish proof
After a hit and run, Los Angeles police can only make an arrest if they can prove that the driver was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Without proof, they cannot simply bring someone in; a sign of vehicle damage alone is usually inconclusive. Specific evidence must be relied on like:
- Injuries on the driver
- A description of the driver
- A confession from the driver
Often, even if the police have some evidence of who might have been driving the vehicle, they cannot clearly establish liability.
Lack of evidence
Many hit and run accidents simply do not leave evidence behind. The accident occurs in the blink of an eye. People around the scene of the accident may focus on the injured party and providing aid rather than on the fleeing vehicle. Many witnesses may also not realize that the driver intends to flee the scene until it occurs.
Security camera footage can sometimes help identify the vehicle involved in a hit and run, but not always. In most cases, the footage proves grainy and difficult to put together. It may not even capture the make and model of a vehicle, much less its license plate–and, of course, even identifying the vehicle does not serve to identify the driver at the time.
High number of hit and run accidents
The vast number of hit and run accidents in Los Angeles makes it difficult for police to effectively investigate all of them. As a result, officers may end up devoting their resources to cases with more information and evidence, which means that other cases may slip through the cracks.
Aiding in Your Hit and Run Investigation: What Can You Do?
If you suffer injuries in a hit and run, you can do several things to aid in the investigation.
Record your statement as soon as possible
Work with the police to record a statement about the hit and run accident as soon as possible, while you can still remember the details of the accident. Do not wait until considerable time has passed since your accident since you may no longer remember the details that led to it.
Provide all the information you can
Do not hold back information after your hit and run. Provide the police with as much evidence and information as possible so that they can conduct a full investigation.
Cooperate with the investigation
Allow the police access to any records involving your vehicle or accident, including your medical records. Let them take a look at the damage to the vehicle, if needed.
The Los Angeles police note that members of the community, including hit and run accident victims, should not attempt to confront the driver who caused the accident themselves. Instead, after an accident, focus on collecting as much information as you can so that you can provide the police with essential evidence that can help them investigate.
Contact a Lawyer for Help With Your Uninsured Motorist Claim
When you suffer injuries in an accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance, you can use your uninsured motorist insurance to cover those damages. The same applies to a hit and run. If you do not have insurance information or contact information for the driver that caused your accident, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover those damages.
FAQs about Hit and Run Accidents
How can I get compensation for a hit and run accident in Los Angeles?
Your uninsured motorist coverage may cover the damages from a hit and run in Los Angeles. Contact a lawyer to learn more about your specific right to compensation.
What information should I note after a hit and run?
After a hit and run accident, make note of as much information about the liable driver and vehicle as possible. You should include the following:
- Vehicle make and model
- License plate number
- A description of the driver
- Anything else you remember about the event
The more information you can provide, the better the odds that the police will find the driver that fled the scene.