California Hit-and-Run Law and the Paths to Compensation

As a Sacramento injury lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod knows that every car accident has its own unique story. Some stories are particularly upsetting, including those cases that include a hit-and-run driver. Often the police are able to identify the driver and each has his or her own “excuse” for leaving the scene (“I panicked,” “I didn’t realize I hit anyone,” “I planned to call for help when I reached my destination”). It is extraordinarily rare to hear an excuse that truly explains the behavior that not only violates the law but also violates the basic tenets of community and compassion.

Driver Caught After “Double” Hit-and-Run Claims Life
In an accident detailed in The San Francisco Chronicle, a driver appears to have tried to leave the scene of not one but two highway accidents within the span of only about five miles. According to the California Highway Patrol, 20 year-old Damarea D.W. Evans was speeding when he rear-ended a 2004 Mazda 3 in the course of a passing attempt on I-80 west in Solano County at around 6:20 A.M. on Friday. Evans drove away from the crash, which did not result in any injury.

Approximately two miles later, Evans pulled onto the shoulder and stopped to inspect his own vehicle for damage. When he attempted to merge back onto the freeway, he struck a 1990 Nissan Frontier. The force caused the truck’s driver, Chia Thai Yang, to lose control and sent the Nissan through a fence and into a ditch. Yang, a 77 year-old from Sacramento who was not wearing a seatbelt, later died as a result of his injuries at a Vacaville hospital.

Once again, Evans tried to leave the scene. He drove about a mile before being forced to pull over due to the extent of the damage to his vehicle from the successive collisions. Along with his passenger, 19 year-old Conner Lewallen of Fairfield, Evans tried to flee on foot. He was later apprehended, arrested, and taken to Solano County Jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

The Duty to Stop After a Collision
California Vehicle Code Section 20001 provides that a driver involved in an accident that injures or kills another person must immediately stop and provide reasonable assistance (i.e. help the injured person obtain medical care, including providing transportation if necessary). If there is property damage but no injuries, Section 2002 provides the driver must stop as soon as doing so is safe and will not impede traffic. Both provisions require an appropriate exchange of personal information.

Failure to stop violates legal and ethical duties. It can also lead to exacerbated injuries or even unnecessary death when it means medical treatment is delayed.

Helping Injured Victims Recover After a Hit-and-Run Crash
Whether or not the hit-and-run driver is identified, our Sacramento hit-and-run injury lawyer can help the injured recover monetary damages. If the driver is found, we can help the injured bring a personal injury claim. If the driver is not found, the injured person’s own uninsured motorist coverage should provide compensation. This type of coverage may apply even if the injured was not in a car, such as in a pedestrian hit-and-run, or if the injured is the minor child of an insured person. In such cases, Attorney Brod can use his experience in insurance law to help the injured person bring an insurance coverage claim.

We cannot turn back time and erase the story of a hit-and-run incident. We can, however, help the injured recover critical monetary compensation, funds that can help bring about the best possible end to the unexpected story.

See Related Blog Posts:
Oakland Injury Attorney Comments on Coverage for Hit-and-Run Accidents

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