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The Hit-and-Run That Ruined My Fun

By Kelly Balamuth on August 24, 2017

It’s another one of those beautiful Northern California weekends. You hit the road with your special someone and for a moment it feels like everything in the world is going your way. You decide to stop at a roadside nut stand to pick up some fresh almonds. As you sample the hickory-smoked variety—BAM!—a loud crash, followed by the squeal of tires peeling out. You whip around to see only the dark blur of a sedan speeding off and disappearing over a hill. You rush to your car, hoping that it’s okay, only to discover the driver’s side rear is smashed, lights busted, the trunk crumpled into an “A” shape. Your glorious weekend has turned into a devastating pain-in-the-neck with no end in sight. You are the victim of a hit-and-run.

Now What?

One of the first things you should do is make a note of the time, date, and location of the accident. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the scene, including detailed photographs of your damaged vehicle. Also, ask everyone present if they saw anything—anything—that could help identify the driver of the fleeing vehicle. Any details can prove to be helpful should you decide to contact the police. Law enforcement can be cooperative in the search for a hit-and-run driver since it is a violation of California law.

Next, contact your insurance company. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it’s possible that your insurance company can effectively “stand in” for the driver who fled the scene and cover your damages. However, in California, car owners are only required to have liability insurance, which makes covering the costs of any damages very difficult, and makes it imperative that you find the perpetrator of the hit-and-run.

In the event that the hit-and-run driver is found, it is quite possible that driver has no insurance, hence the impetus for leaving the scene. If that’s the case, it’s time to get legal help. A civil lawsuit can be filed against a fleeing driver; however, without insurance, the driver may be deemed “judgment proof,” meaning he or she does not have the money or assets to pay for the damages awarded by the court. If this happens, a judge may use wage garnishment or place a lien on any property the hit-and-run driver has in an effort to collect the damages awarded.

As you can see, the legal consequences of a hit-and-run accident are complicated. Contact the law firm of Balamuth Law at (925) 254-1234, and get an experienced legal team to help you get the compensation you deserve.

 

 

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Posted in: Auto Collision

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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