Mission Viejo Hit and Run Accident Lawyer

It is bad enough when you get into an accident and the other person stops like they are supposed to. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be able to recover compensation in accidents if the at-fault driver cannot be found. If the other driver is eventually tracked down, not only will they face criminal prosecution, but your civil claim against them will be very strong. Mission Viejo hit-and-run accident lawyers work to help potential clients understand their rights and recover full compensation for their injuries. It may be crucial to contact an experienced car accident lawyer about proving negligence in your case.

What Are California Hit and Run Laws?

California has made it illegal to leave the scene of any car accident when there has been property damage or any type of injury. In fact, people who violate these laws are exposed to both jail time and significant fines. California Vehicle Code 20001 states that any person leaving the scene of an injury can go to jail for up to one year and pay a fine of up to $1,000. If the accident results in a serious injury or death, the penalty carries a minimum jail term and stiff fines.

Is Notification Required if There is Only Property Damage?

However, even if the accident results in only property damage, there is still a requirement to notify the owner of the damage, to leave identifying information, and to contact the police. According to California Vehicle Code 20002, a violation of this law is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Even though a person who leaves the scene of an accident is vulnerable to criminal prosecution; this has little to do with your civil claim. The criminal and civil court systems operate in separate universes, even if the same facts lead to the two cases.  Therefore, even if a defendant is found to be guilty in the criminal court of leaving the scene of an accident, they are not necessarily at fault for that accident in a civil case.

Importance of Proving Liability

In a separate civil claim, the injured plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant is civilly liable. This is usually done through the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is when a person has a legal responsibility to care for the well-being of another person. When that duty is violated, the at-fault party is responsible for damages.

Negligence as it Relates to a Hit and Run

All drivers of cars have a responsibility to care for other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. If a driver acts in a reckless way and causes an accident, they are responsible for any harm that comes to others. Merely leaving the scene of an accident is not, in and of itself, indicative of negligence. A Mission Viejo hit-and-run accident lawyer can help potential clients present the necessary evidence in court to prove liability.

Help from a Mission Viejo Hit and Run Lawyer

If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, Mission Viejo hit-and-run accident lawyers are available to help. You may pursue your case through any overlapping insurance coverage provided by your insurance company. At the same time, you should be in contact with the police and be providing them with any identifying information on the person who hit you. If the hit-and-run perpetrator is located, they will face not only criminal charges but also civil liability.

By providing the attorney with all of the information that you can about the accident, they can take steps to track down the at-fault driver. Just because you do not yet know the identity of the person who caused the accident does not mean that your case is hopeless.