In California as in the rest of the country, leaving the scene of a car accident you were involved in is a crime. A hit-and-run can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on whether or not an injured victim was left at the scene. A person can be charged for a hit-and-run regardless of what degree of fault they had for the collision.
What you should do after an accident
Leaving the scene is probably the worst mistake that you can make after a car accident. Anyone who is involved in a collision must stop to make sure that everyone is OK and then alert emergency services about the crash.
If you are left in the middle of the road after a crash, you need to get to safety as soon as possible. Remaining where you are can often cause greater injury to you and other people. That being said, once you get to a safe place away from traffic, you should remain near the crash scene until you have spoken with police.
Exceptions to hit-and-run
There are exceptions to hit-and-run laws if you need to leave the scene in order to save a life. For example, if you need to drive a victim to a nearby hospital or look for a phone so that you can call 911, these are reasonable actions that would not be considered hit-and-runs.
What happens if you are injured in a hit-and-run?
Hit-and-run drivers create a lot of problems for injured victims. If you were struck by a hit-and-run driver, you won’t have access to the driver’s insurance information so that you can file a claim. However, it may still be possible to track down the driver’s information using their license plate. You may be able to get the license plate number from security camera footage near the scene. Additionally, hit-and-run collisions are a good reason why it is so important to have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in your own auto insurance policy. UM protection can cover you for property damage and injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver, and it is because of this protection that UM coverage is so valuable.