The Cost of a Hit and Run Felony to Passengers and Victims

January 14, 2021

If you’ve been involved in a hit and run, you’re probably hoping for justice—both criminal and civil. Hit and run is not only a personal injury cause of action, but a criminal action, too. As a passenger, your actions might define whether you’re liable or whether you can recover damages. Drivers and passengers in hit and run accidents can be charged with either a felony or misdemeanor in Redding, CA—or the passengers may be able to recover damages. Here’s what you need to know about passenger rights in a hit and run case.

What is a hit and run?

A hit and run in California is classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The general rule of thumb is that if you injure a person and leave the scene of an accident, you may be liable for felony hit and run. If there’s no damage, or you only incur minor property damage, it’s more likely to be charged as a misdemeanor.

However, keep in mind that depending on the circumstances, drivers can be charged with both felonies and misdemeanors. For example, if the driver was under the influence, they could be charged with both DUI and hit and run, which carry different penalties. These include fines and jail or prison time.

What kind of damages can passengers and victims recover?

So, what happens if you’re the passenger or victim in a hit and run? If you were a passenger in a hit and run and take over the vehicle to drive away from the scene of the crime, you too can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Passengers can also sue for damages if they were involved in the hit and run accident and suffered damages, whether they were a passenger in the offending vehicle or if they were a passenger in another car. As long as they don’t help the driver leave the scene, they won’t be liable for criminal charges, and they can potentially recover damages for injury and illness resulting from the accident.

Victims, of course, are able to recover from the accident, too. Whether you’re a pedestrian, bike rider or another driver, you simply need to prove that you were injured as a result of the driver’s actions and they left the scene of the accident. The extent of your physical (and emotional) injuries will determine how much money you can recover from the accused. In this case, any felony or misdemeanor convictions against the defendant will actually help you, since criminal cases require a much higher standard of proof than civil claims.

If you’re a passenger or victim in a hit and run, don’t leave the scene. Call the authorities, and document the scene and your injuries to the fullest extent possible.

For more information about passenger rights in a hit and run in Redding, CA, call The Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc. today. We look forward to discussing the particulars of your case and helping you work toward a favorable outcome.

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