Bakersfield teenager run over by hit-and-run driver gets $1,265,000
Our client was walking to school one morning when a driver ran her over in a crosswalk. California law, and basic human decency, required the driver to “immediately stop the vehicle at the scene” and call for an ambulance. Instead, the defendant drove away without ever getting out of his truck, leaving our client in the middle of the road.
Over 50 years ago, the California Court of Appeal called hit-and-run driving “the grossest type of misconduct.” (Pelletti v. Membrila (1965) 234 Cal.App.2d 606, 613.) Fleeing the scene of an injury collision is also a felony crime. (Vehicle Code section 20001.) Hit-and-run driving is such an epidemic in California that the legislature recently increased the statute of limitations for prosecution to 6 years.
In our client’s case, the police caught the hit-and-run driver, prosecuted him, and convicted him. We then filed a lawsuit seeking punitive damages against the defendant for the wanton act of leaving our client injured in the roadway.
The defendant’s automobile insurance carrier then tried to hide how much insurance coverage the defendant had. At first, the insurance company only revealed the policy covering the driver’s car, which was not nearly enough to make up for the harm the defendant had caused our client. We kept digging and discovered that the driver also had another $1,000,000 in umbrella coverage on his homeowner’s insurance.
Our aggressive approach forced the defendant’s insurance company to pay every penny of insurance coverage. That insurance money will fund a trust that will make monthly payments to our client for the rest of her life.