In the fall of last year, a woman was struck and killed at the corner of North Euclid Street and West Francis Drive in Anaheim. A few short weeks after this fatal accident, the corner became a crime scene once again. Shortly before Christmas, a woman was lighting candles in remembrance of the victim when she, too, was struck by a car. The accident was not fatal, but did leave the woman with significant injuries that required prompt hospitalization.
The driver of the SUV who struck the woman fled the scene after the crash. The police are still searching for the hit-and-run driver, and will likely file criminal charges when the driver is found. In the meantime, the woman who was injured in the crash will likely be faced with extraordinary medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. She may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for her damages.
A driver who is involved in a hit and run accident will not only face criminal charges for their conduct, but they can also be held financially responsible for the harms they cause. The woman who was struck at the corner of North Euclid and West Francis in Anaheim can file a personal injury claim to hold the hit and run driver responsible once he is found by the police. The fact that he will probably also face criminal charges could potentially complicate the woman’s claim. In some cases, a defendant may request to postpone civil proceedings until criminal matters have been resolved. This can only delay, and not prevent, a civil case.
The outcome of his criminal case will have no bearing on her ability to recover compensation. It does not matter if he is convicted, takes a plea bargain, or is acquitted of the charges. Criminal and civil proceedings are distinct. In fact, each case will have a different set of procedural rules and will require different levels of proof. Criminal charges must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction. Civil cases, however, can be won by simply proving liability by a preponderance of the evidence. This basically means that the evidence supporting the hit and run driver’s liability must only be more likely true than not. This is a much lower threshold than beyond a reasonable doubt, making it easier for the victim to win her case.
Most personal injury claims in California must be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident. There are some exceptions to this rule. When one of these exceptions occurs, the statute of limitations can be paused temporarily. This process, which is known as tolling, allows the accident victim to extend the statute of limitations until the exception is no longer an issue. Once the exception is resolved, the statute of limitations will resume.
Exceptions that may cause the statute of limitations to toll include being a minor at the time of an injury or a reasonable delay in the discovery of an accident-related injury. Another situation that could cause the statute of limitations to toll is when the at-fault party cannot be present for the proceedings. This may occur because that person has been incarcerated or if they simply cannot be found. In the Anaheim hit and run case, the at-fault driver is still on the run. The victim may need to have the statute of limitations extended if the driver is not found in the near future.
The woman who was injured in the Anaheim hit and run accident will likely contact an attorney to learn more about filing a personal injury claim. While she may be able to recover small amounts by pursuing compensation on her own, her chances of recovering a meaningful settlement will increase tremendously when she hires an attorney. If you would like to learn more about the steps involved in recovering compensation after an Anaheim car accident call Glotzer & Leib, LLP today. We would be happy to discuss your personal injury matter, explain the process of filing a claim, and answer the questions you have. Call us today to set up a free consultation with our experienced Anaheim personal injury attorneys.
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