What are the Penalties if a Hit and Run Driver is Identified?

Hit and run accidents are some of the most difficult collision cases to resolve because of the absence of the at-fault driver. These types of collisions can be especially confusing in at-fault states (like California) because an injured driver may not be able to rely on their own insurance company to provide compensation.

The state of California holds hit and run drivers who are later identified legally responsible for the damages they cause. The consequences for committing a hit and run may include criminal penalties, and guilty drivers may also need to pay the claims of the people they injured.

Criminal Penalties

The California Hit and Run Law requires drivers who are involved in car accidents to stop, contact medical assistance, and exchange contact information and insurance details with the other driver after a collision. People who fail to do this could be charged with a crime, and punished accordingly.

Hit and run accidents that result in injury can be considered a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries. In misdemeanor cases, an offender could face up to a year in jail. Drivers charged with a felony could face 2 to 4 years in state prison. Hit and run drivers may also be required to pay up to $10,000 in fines and receive points on their license.

If a hit and run accident results in a death, the offending driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. The penalties for vehicular manslaughter in the state of California include prison time and fines, both of which could be increased if the driver was drunk, distracted, or committing another offense at the time of the accident.

If a Hit and Run Driver is Identified After an Accident, Can You File a Claim?

In addition to the possible criminal consequences a hit and run driver may face once they are identified, the offender could incur civil penalties through a victim’s personal injury claim. If you were injured by a hit and run driver who is later identified, you may be able to pursue compensation from them. California is an at-fault state, but the typical processes involved in a car accident claim may change if a hit and run is involved. You may be entitled to additional compensation outside of a standard insurance settlement because the driver committed a crime (and therefore, significant negligence). If you were able to recover compensation through a claim with your own insurance provider (for example, via an uninsured and underinsured motorist plan), that could also impact your claim.

Car accident claims can be confusing. To enlist the help of an experienced legal team, contact Tedford & Associates today.

Send us a message or call (626) 325-0142 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.

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