The Los Angeles Hit and Run Accident Lawyers of Bisnar Chase are here to help those who have been seriously injured by a negligent driver who has left the scene of an accident. We can take care of your hit and run insurance claim while you recover and leave the work to us. Since 1978, our personal injury attorneys have won hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of injury clients. If you require legal representation for a hit and run in Los Angeles please call us at (323) 238-4683 for a free consultation today.
California Hit and Run Accident Statistics
In one year, there were 337 deaths from hit-and-run accidents in the state of California. Statistics show that this represented a 60% increase compared to the previous seven years – the largest increase in California history.
Many offenders are not caught. Data shows that less than 1% of drivers who have fled a crash scene where someone was injured was eventually convicted of a felony. Hit and run accidents in Los Angeles have been on the rise since more people are walking and riding bikes due to higher gas prices.
What is Considered a Hit and Run in California?
A hit and run in California is determined by the offender leaving the scene of the crime. The person that caused the accident has to remain at the scene to avoid potential felony charges.
Actions to Take After an Los Angeles Hit and Run Incident
When the liable party remains at the scene of a car accident , they can not only help the injury victim, but may also call local authorities for further assistance. When the driver flees the accident scene, a victim sadly is left to fend for themselves. If you have been the victim of a hit and run collision in Los Angeles County, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights.
- Stay calm: Do not try to chase the driver. Retreat to a safe area and call the local authorities right away. You need to report your hit and run within a 24 hour period since it is considered a crime. You need to inform officers first so your insurance company will not categorize the incident as an “at-fault” claim.
- Jot down any information you can of the driver: If you were able to get the full or even partial license plate of the hit-and-run driver, write it down as soon as you can. Make sure that you provide law enforcement with a description of the car including the color, and any other identifiers such as a specific bumper or dents on the vehicle. If you are unable to move, wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
- Take as many photographs as you can: Take pictures of the accident scene, any debris from the suspect vehicle, as well as your injuries. Preserve all evidence including torn or bloody clothing. If you were in a hit and run bicycle accident in Los Angeles, preserve it in its damaged condition. Do not repair it.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses: Do not just speak to by-standers around at the time of the incident. You can also talk to businesses in the surrounding area to see if their surveillance cameras may have caught the occurrence on tape. Such evidence can prove valuable in hit-and-run accident cases.
- Seek legal representation: Make sure that you contact an experienced Los Angeles hit and run lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that your legal rights and best interests are preserved. The law firm of Bisnar Chase has been taking on the most complicated and challenging cases for over 40 years. Contact our Los Angeles accident attorneys today at (323) 238-4683 for a free consultation.
Common Types of Los Angeles Hit and Run Accidents
The Association for Safe International Road Travel reports that 38,000 people die every year on the road. Of those accidents, thousands are hit and run accidents. Hit and runs are more common than the public are led to believe. Hit and runs do not just involve motorists hitting another car and fleeing. It can also involve a car directly hitting a body.
Here is a list of the 3 most common types of hit and run accidents:
- Pedestrian: According to California state law, pedestrians always have the right of way. It has been reported that most fatal pedestrian hit and run cases occur from 12:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m. Experts say that during these times, drivers find it easier to flee the scene of an accident due to the lack of visibility and witnesses.
- Bicycle: The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reported that 75% of bicycle accident fatalities occur in urban areas. Bicycle accident victims can range from kids riding to school, to a cyclist riding long distances in lane-sharing roads. All of these demographics risk being struck by a vehicle.
- Backing up in a parking lot: According to the National Safety Council, government data indicates that 9% of pedestrian deaths in parking lots result from backup incidents. Cars that are equipped with video cameras can be used as physical evidence if you were a motorist who was hit. It is crucial that when drivers are backing up in a parking lot to be aware of their surroundings and back up slowly.
Penalties & Misdemeanor Charges for a Hit and Run in Los Angeles
Leaving the scene of a car accident is not only irresponsible, but it is also illegal.
California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” The actions of the motorist after a crash could determine whether the victim gets prompt medical attention and whether he or she survives.
Other laws that are associated with hit and runs include:
California Vehicle Code § 20002: “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.” This California law defines what qualifies as a hit and run accident. This law requires that motorists involved in injury collisions are required to remain at the scene until help arrives.
CALCRIM No. 2150: This regulation involves what the offender needs to provide to prove they followed the proper protocol to help the victim after the accident. There are three elements that must be present: that you stopped promptly after the incident, that you obtained the victim’s name, address, and contact information, and that you provided the victim with your information.
Hit and Run Accident Cases in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has a reputation of having an excessive number of car accidents. Data shows that over a one-year span, 236 people died from auto accidents in this county. Hit and run auto accidents happen frequently as well. Below are just a few of the many hit and run cases that have occurred throughout LA.
- Man and woman killed on 5 FWY:Two people were killed at 2:30 p.m. by a red sedan. The Fiat, which had a man and a woman inside, spiraled and crashed into a tree, with all occupants dying. The incident was caught on a dashcam, but what led to the finding of the culprit was a witness who tracked him down and then called the police. Witness Hector Gerado said: “…I did what I had to do, either I pull over and try to help people which in my mind I knew they were beyond what I could do and so my best instinct was to go forward and follow the suspect.”
- Toluca Lake hit and run leaves two cyclists injured: Around 8 p.m., LAPD reported a Ford Fusion crashing into two cyclists and escaping the scene of the crime. The license plate appeared to be from Texas and when spotted, police sought to arrest the owner. Authorities lost sight of the car near Universal Studios, which is around one mile away from the collision. The victims were later taken to the hospital and were said to have suffered from minor injuries.
- Los Angeles hit and run causes car to burst into flames: Francisco Rivas, 48 years old, was killed in a hit and run crash on Father’s Day. Surveillance shows a white Lexus running a red light and crashing into Rivas. The driver was seen getting out of the car and fleeing the scene. Twenty-seven-year-old Maritza Lara, the offender, left the other four passengers in the car, one of whom was her sister. There is a $50,000 award for any information that leads to her whereabouts.
- Multiple cars drive around a hit and run victim’s body in Van Nuys: Video showed 22-year-old Neri Ramires Chalo being struck in the middle of the street and being left for dead. Afterward, dozens of vehicles were seen slowing down or driving around the body of Chalo. Police stated that the incident occurred in the middle of a street race involving two cars. One of the culprits was identified as Roberto Ocampo. Authorities say that there were at least 30 cars counted to be driving around his body.
- LAFD Assistant Chief flees the scene of an accident after crashing into a car: After colliding with a parked vehicle, 54-year-old Ellsworth S. Fortman failed to stay at the scene of the incident in Santa Clarita, CA. Fortman was driving at an excessive speed and was later convicted of a misdemeanor. He did not make any attempt to inform the authorities of his wrongdoing that included a massive amount of property damage. Fortman faces one year of jail time as his punishment.
- 54-year-old man dead from Pacoima hit and run: Around 9:30 p.m., a man died after being hit by a driver who left the scene. Police stated that the driver was exiting a grocery store parking lot when he struck the 54-year-old pedestrian. The family had chosen not to identify the victim and officials say that there is a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the culprit.
- South LA hit and run incident leaves two children injured: In a Central Alameda neighborhood, two children were injured after a car collided into the fence of a backyard. Neighbors caught the driver following the hit and run, and authorities suspected that he was operating the vehicle under the influence. One of the victims was just 2 years old.
The Hit and Run Accident Investigation Process in California
After a hit and run accident, many victims who are left at the scene of a collision can be left with little hope that the driver will ever be caught if they did not happen to catch any information of the car. However, those who have been injured after a hit and run could, through the assistance of the local authorities and witnesses, still potentially catch the perpetrator.
The process of finding the offender includes the following:
- Documenting and reporting the incident: When you have been involved in a hit and run accident you need to report the incident right away. By reporting the crash you ensure there will be actual proof that you took initiative on following the proper procedures. This not only shows that you were proactive in bringing the culprit to justice, but it will also prove you fulfilled your responsibility as a citizen.
- Authorities searching for the offender: Once the incident is reported, police will do whatever they can to aid you in finding the offender. They will use resources such as city cameras and witnesses to seek out the hit and run driver. Take note that it can take several days to process a hit and run report.
- The insurance company conducting an investigation: The insurance company will often request a police report of the incident and begin the process of estimating the amount you need to recover. First, you need to review your policy and make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage. In California, hit and run incidents fall into uninsured motorists’ insurance.
Reasons to Hire a Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer
How much does a hit and run lawyer cost? Will hiring a lawyer really be worth it? These are just some of the questions that hit and run victims have when considering legal representation. There are many benefits of seeking help from a hit and run injury attorney though. The following list shows the advantages of hiring an injury lawyer.
The Dilemma for L.A. Hit and Run Victims
Although hit and runs are fairly common in LA, few perpetrators are ever brought to justice. In one year, only 8% of all hit and run cases were solved.
How can so many culprits continue to go unprosecuted? Supervisor at LAPD’s West Traffic Division, Detective G. McQueen, weighed in on the complexities of solving a hit and run case.
McQueen said: “Ninety-nine percent of security footage does not capture the license plate.” McQueen also noted that it is hard to place blame on the true culprit due to everyone wanting to cover themselves.
“We’ve had people involved in fatalities; the guy (in the car) said she was driving. She even admits to it. Then a witness says it was the guy driving – not the woman. People cover for each other all the time,” added McQueen.
Will My Insurance Compensate Me for a CA. Hit and Run Claim?
Uninsured Motorist insurance is a clause in your auto insurance coverage that protects you if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have liability insurance or lacks sufficient liability insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
Uninsured Motorist insurance also protects you if you and your passengers are injured by a hit-and-run driver. Covered Uninsured Motorist insurance for you and your passengers includes medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If you are a motorist in a hit and run, it is imperative that you have Uninsured Motorist coverage. The odds of you getting injured in a hit-and-run accident or in an accident involving an uninsured motorist are extremely high in Los Angeles County.
While liability insurance coverage protects others, Uninsured Motorist coverage also protects you and your family. Review your policy and if you were covered under Uninsured Motorist insurance and still received an insufficient amount of compensation, speak to a hit and run lawyer.
The Difference Between a Hit and Run Misdemeanor and Felony
Felonies and misdemeanors fall under the category of criminal charges.
A felony carries more weight than a misdemeanor in the Justice System. Felonies are often for charges that can lead to hefty fines and a lengthy amount of jail time.
For hit and run charges, the courts determine whether the culprit should be charged with felony or misdemeanor is dependent on the nature of injuries, fatalities, and property damage that occurred from the accident.
Contact our Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyers
Bisnar Chase’s Los Angeles hit and run attorneys aim to bring justice to those who were wrongfully hurt in a hit and run accident.
When a motorist speeds away from the scene, the victim is often left in the middle of the roadway, exposed to further danger. Often, we see that these victims are repeatedly run over by other vehicles who may not have seen the individual in the roadway.
The personal injury law firm of Bisnar Chase has been fighting to win compensation for clients who have been involved in a hit and run, or have lost a family member to a hit and run, for over 40 years. Just because a driver left the scene of an accident does not mean all hope it lost.
If you want one of the best legal teams on your side, contact our law offices at (323) 238-4683 for free legal advice.