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Handling personal injury claims for Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos and beyond.
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to take the best course of action after a serious accident

Attorney Jared Pursley
Carlsbad Personal Injury LawyerBlogAuto AccidentHolding a Hit-and-Run Driver Responsible for A Crash

Holding a Hit-and-Run Driver Responsible for A Crash


It happens almost every day in California. A hit-and-run driver causes a serious injury or fatal crash and flees the scene. These tortfeasors (negligent drivers) run for various reasons, but the result is usually the same. Over 90 percent of hit-and-run drivers avoid criminal prosecution. Quite simply, since they have so little evidence to go on and other matters to attend to, police investigators quickly close hit-and-run cases, whether or not the victim receives justice.

A Carlsbad personal injury attorney doesn’t give up quickly. Instead, attorneys go the extra mile to dig up necessary evidence and put the pieces of the puzzle together. This diligent work usually produces results in the end, in the form of maximum compensation. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Differences Between Civil and Criminal Court

The high burden of proof in civil court helps explain police investigator attitude. Prosecutors must prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. That’s like taking a trip from San Diego to San Francisco. It’s such a long walk that police investigators don’t even want to start.

In contrast, the burden of proof in civil court is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s like a trip from San Diego to SLO. It’s a long trip, but if a San Marcos personal injury lawyer plans well and puts plenty of gas in the tank, it’s not a difficult trip. This preparation includes collecting evidence in the case. More on that below.

Procedural rules are different in civil court as well. These procedural rules allow a San Marcos personal injury lawyer to make very aggressive arguments in court. Furthermore, evidence collection rules are different. Only a very experienced lawyer knows how to take full advantage of these differences.

Hit-and-Run Evidence

Because of the low burden of proof in civil court, a little evidence goes a long way. Identifying the driver, a key component of a civil or criminal case, is a good example.

For charges to hold up in criminal court, a credible eyewitness must get a good look at the driver’s face at or near the time of the wreck. If such a witness existed, the tortfeasor probably would have remained at the scene, and we wouldn’t need to have this discussion.

However, in civil court, a multi-step identification process, which usually involves no such witnesses at the scene, sufficiently identifies the driver.

First, someone probably got a vague description of the car or truck at the scene, like a blue sedan or a red pickup. Second, another witness, maybe a surveillance camera, saw a blue sedan or red pickup truck with front end damage near the scene of the accident. Finally, a third witness might have seen part of the vehicle’s plate number.

In civil court, a lawyer can put these bits of proof together and identify the vehicle’s owner. It’s more likely than not that the owner was driving the vehicle at the time, even if the owner has a plausible alibi.

Connect With a Thorough San Diego County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Carlsbad, contact the Pursley Law Firm. We routinely handle matters throughout the Golden State.

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