Statistics from the California Highway Patrol show that each year, more than 600 pedestrians are killed and 12,000 injured in California. Many of these injuries and fatalities involve hit-and-run drivers. Being injured as a result of a hit-and-run driver can be an exceptionally stressful occurrence. Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking there's nothing you can do to get the compensation you need following a hit-and-run accident. A knowledgeable Santa Barbara pedestrian accident lawyer can provide you with the assistance you need in potentially identifying and pursuing the hit-and-run driver and/or pursuing a claim with your own insurance company.
One horrible example of a hit-and-run pedestrian accident happened recently here in Santa Barbara County. According to multiple news sources, R.R.V. was struck and killed near Girsh Park in Goleta. Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies found the landscape maintenance worker face-down in a bicycle lane along Storke Road in Goleta. Deputies performed CPR, but emergency medical personnel later declared the man dead at the scene.
The deputies' investigation of the incident quickly led them to a 19-year-old man who had fled the crash scene. He was positively identified and arrested.
If you're a pedestrian who was struck by a hit-and-run driver (or you lost a loved one in this type of accident,) you may face several kinds of challenges. One is that the law only gives you a limited amount of time to pursue a lawsuit for your injuries, meaning that you only have a short period of time to identify the driver who hit you.
The Statute of Limitations and 'Tolling'
Generally, the limitations period for filing a personal injury claim -- such as a pedestrian accident lawsuit -- is two years in California. However, the law also recognizes a concept called "tolling." When a statutory limitations period is tolled, that means it's extended beyond the base time period in the statute (in this case, two years.) This is one area where getting knowledgeable legal advice is key. An experienced accident attorney can advise you as to whether tolling might or might not be available in your situation.
The right legal team will have greater resources than you when it comes to investigating and tracking down a hit-and-run driver... and doing so as quickly as possible. An exhaustive investigation might, for example, find a nearby security camera that caught an image of the vehicle and/or its license plate, which might aid in identifying the vehicle's owner. Identifying the vehicle's owner could then allow for identification of the driver (if it was someone other than the owner.) That will facilitate pursuing the necessary insurance claims or taking legal action against the driver and, in some circumstances, the owner.
With regard to insurance claims, sometimes it is necessary to file with your own insurance company. Skilled legal counsel can offer critical aid when your insurer, despite marketing claims to have you in good hands or be a good neighbor, wrongfully denies your claim or offers you only a low-ball sum.
The reality is that hit-and-run drivers will often go to great lengths to avoid detection and identification, just as insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid paying claims. If you're a pedestrian who was hurt by a hit-and-run driver, count on the experienced Santa Barbara pedestrian accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP to fight for you, zealously advocating on your behalf so that you receive everything you deserve. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.