If you’re hurt in a car accident, you pull over to the side of the road to share information with the other driver. This is a natural approach and one that most drivers would take. But some people get spooked by being in an accident and violate the law by leaving the scene. Whether it’s because their driver’s license is expired or they’re worried about losing that license or fear ramifications of behavior like drunk driving, it’s never okay to leave the scene of a wreck.

When this happens to you and you’ve remained on the scene, it’s important to get as much information as you can about the other driver and car in the moment. Car details, license plate numbers, and descriptions of anyone driving or in the car might help the police find this person on the roads again. This is especially true if other witnesses in the area saw the same details and can provide this in a police report.

There can be both civil and criminal consequences for a driver who leaves the scene and is later caught. If the accident caused property damage and the driver left without sharing information, this is a misdemeanor. It also allows the person whose property was harmed to file an insurance claim for any coverage protecting that item.

A hit and run that leads to injury or death is explained per California Vehicle Code Section 20001. A person who violates this is looking at felony charges.

Even if you can’t identify the other driver or their car, you need to take action immediately after an accident to seek medical care and to let your insurance company know about the incident.

If you’re coping with the fallout of a hit and run in California, speak to a San Francisco accident attorney now so that you can get support for your claim.

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