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Hit and Run Investigation Process California
(5 Step Guide)

Hit-and-run accidents in California are treated severely and may carry substantial legal repercussions. Although a hit-and-run investigation consists of many steps, the first things you should do following such an incident is to call 911 if there are any injuries, report the hit and run to law enforcement, and notify your insurance company.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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California Vehicle Code § 20002 - Hit and Run

California Vehicle Code §20002 is the state’s Hit and Run accident law, which prohibits an individual from leaving the scene of an accident without identifying themselves to the others involved when someone else's property was damaged.

The hit-and-run law is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of not more than 6 months in the county jail and a fine up to $1,000 dollars, a lesser penalty than the more serious § 20002 Felony Hit and Run.

What is the Hit and Run Investigation Process in California?

Anyone involved in a hit-and-run in California is required by law to report the accident to the police. However, in some cases, the at-fault party tries to escape the consequences and flees the scene. Luckily, thanks to police officers and experts, most hit-and-run cases are resolved through the following investigation process.

Step 1: Examining the Accident Scene

Most hit-and-run investigations begin immediately following the accident. Police will be dispatched to the accident scene and gather evidence. They will start by checking the condition of the victim.

In some cases, hit-and-run victims will be injured. If this happens, police officers will contact paramedics for medical assistance. Police will also interview and speak with the victims.

After questioning the victim, police will investigate the crime scene for other evidence to gain a fuller understanding of the incident, which may include video or CCTV footage, witnesses testimony, photos of the accident scene / damaged property, and remnants of other vehicle’s paint on the victim’s car.

Related Article: Steps to Prove Innocence in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

Step 2: Making an Initial Report

After documenting all evidence from the crime scene, police will file an initial report which may help locate the at-fault driver. In some cases, they can quickly identify the at-fault party by piecing all the evidence together.

Step 3: Evaluating the Total Restitution

Next, victims of a hit-and-run accident should reach out to their insurance company to seek restitution. The insurer determines the compensation for medical expenses and other bills related to the incident by looking at the police report.

This part of the process can be challenging for the victim, especially if they have limited knowledge of the case. This also becomes difficult when claim adjusters pressure you into taking a lower amount of compensation for your damages.

Step 5: Reaching Out to a Legal Expert

If you've been the victim of a hit and run, and feel overwhelmed or confused about the investigation process, you should contact knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can assist you with your case. They can also aid in maximizing the value of the insurance coverage to ensure that you will get the just compensation you deserve.

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