If you asked 100 people whether they would flee the scene of a car accident, 90 of them would say no. It just doesn’t seem right to get into a car crash and then take off. For the 10% who would flee the scene, they would do so for a variety of reasons. Our Irvine car accident attorneys have handled more than their fair share of hit-and-run accidents.
Up until recently, it was nearly impossible for us to pursue damages on behalf of our clients in hit-and-run accidents. Thankfully, as a result of technology and cell phones, it is not that difficult to take a picture or video of the other driver and their vehicle. As long as you can capture this information, your accident lawyer in Irvine will at least have a chance to pursue the other party.
Here, we will describe the various reasons why somebody would flee the scene of an accident. We will also briefly explain what you should do if this happens in your case. If you still have questions after reading this article, feel free to contact our office directly.
We offer new clients a free consultation which gives you a chance to meet with an Irvine accident attorney within days of your hit-and-run accident. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner they can track down the other driver and get you the compensation you deserve.
There Are Some Obvious Reasons for Hit-and-Run Accidents
It’s illegal to flee the scene of an accident in California. Most of us can think of several reasons why a hit-and-run driver would take off. Some of them are obvious. For example, if the other driver has a criminal history, they may want to stay as far away from the cops as possible. The same is true if the other driver has no insurance or is driving on a suspended license.
The problem is that you never know which drivers are going to stick around long enough for the cops to show up and which ones are going to disappear. This is why it’s critically important that you do everything possible to get the other driver’s license plate information.
Even with a small piece of information like this, your Irvine accident attorney will have a good chance of tracking the other driver down and filing a legal claim against them.
The Driver May Have Had Open Warrants for Their Arrest
One reason why some drivers may flee the scene of a car accident in California is that there are outstanding warrants against them. These warrants could be for anything ranging from past due child support to attempted burglary. Usually, in the cases that our car accident lawyers in Irvine have handled, these warrants were never for anything all that dangerous.
Many of them were warrants for unpaid tickets or missed court dates. Unfortunately for you, it doesn’t much matter why the driver in a hit-and-run accident had warrants outstanding. What matters is that they fled the scene, and you may have no way of tracking them down.
There’s a Good Chance They Didn’t Have a Valid Driver’s License or Valid Insurance
Another reason why the defendant may not wait for the cops to arrive is that they are driving on a suspended license. In fact, they may have a revoked license and know that they will be arrested if they wait for the cops to come. Or, if they have a valid driver’s license, they may not have valid auto insurance. They understand that there is a good chance they will be arrested if they’re caught driving without insurance.
This will mean that they’re not only facing civil litigation for the damage they caused during the car accident in Irvine, but they will also face criminal charges. The way they see it, it’s in their best interest to run away and make up a good story later. At least that way, they do not face any immediate criminal charges and there is also the slight chance that they will get away with it.
Our Irvine Accident Attorneys Have Handled Cases Where the Defendant Was Driving a Stolen Vehicle
Of course, there are some cases where the defendant was driving a stolen vehicle at the time of the crash. The problem your Irvine accident attorney will run into here is that, even if you get the license plate information, it may not help track down the driver.
Even though the general rule is that auto insurance follows the car and not the driver, one of the exceptions to this rule is when the person driving the car had stolen it. This means you may have the name and contact information of the owner of the vehicle, but have no idea who was driving it at the time of impact.
What your accident lawyer in Irvine will do is speak to the owner of the vehicle and find out if they know who was driving the car. It could have been one of their children or even a neighbor who borrowed the vehicle.
Always Call the Police and Get the Driver’s License Plate Number
One of the first things we tell accident victims is to make sure they call the police immediately after their crash. This way, the police officers can do a thorough investigation of the accident scene. They will have a chance to talk to both drivers and any eyewitnesses to the crash.
It becomes a major problem when the other driver doesn’t stick around long enough for the cops to arrive. As discussed here, there are a host of reasons why somebody would flee the scene of a traffic accident.
This can have a serious impact on your potential car accident lawsuit. If you do not know who the other driver was, it makes it a little difficult to file a lawsuit against them. It will also make it impossible to identify who their insurance carrier was.
This is why our Irvine accident attorneys also advise our clients to take a picture of the other driver’s vehicle, including the license plate, as soon as possible after the impact. This way, even though the other driver fled the scene, your accident lawyer in Irvine can still track them down and pursue damages.
Call Our Irvine Car Accident Lawyers for Help!
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should contact our office right away. It may take some time to track the other driver down and get your insurance claim filed. Thankfully, our firm offers new clients a free, initial consultation.
This will give you a chance to sit down with a seasoned Irvine accident attorney who knows exactly how to handle a situation like yours. It also gives our accident lawyers in Irvine the opportunity to see if your case is worth pursuing.
They can also answer any questions you may have and give you an idea of what your case may be worth. This is why we suggest that anybody involved in a motor vehicle accident contact our office as soon as possible.