Fatal Hit and Run Wreck in San Jose
Investigators have basically no clues and no leads following a deadly hit and run wreck in San Jose.
According to the San Jose Police Department, the wreck occurred near the intersection of Senter and Story Road. The victim was the 47th fatality in the 46th fatal accident of 2020 in the area.
Tracking Down the Responsible Driver
From a criminal law standpoint, wrecks like the one in the above story often go unresolved. After about forty-eight hours, the evidence trail gets cold. So, unless a key witness suddenly and unexpectedly comes forward or there is another “big break,” most investigators give up.
The high burden of proof in criminal cases probably has much to do with this attitude. Unless prosecutors have an overwhelming amount of evidence, they are usually unable to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, other investigative priorities often go above unsolved hit and run crashes. Police investigators often do not want to spend precious resources on what they essentially view as a civil dispute.
In civil court, things are much different, starting with the evidence available. Often working in partnership with a private investigator or other professional, a San Jose personal injury lawyer can find and use evidence like:
- Additional Witness Statements: For various reasons, many witnesses do not want to talk to police investigators. But these individuals usually will work with an attorney or an attorney’s representative. Even if the witness only saw part of the crash, the testimony could be critical.
- Surveillance Video: A red light, traffic, or security camera covers almost every intersection or stretch of road in Santa Clara County. Additionally, a camera several blocks away from the accident scene might capture an important visual clue that police investigators overlooked.
- Stakeouts: There is absolutely nothing glamorous about sitting in a parked car for several hours and waiting for a tortfeasor (negligent driver) to reappear. But since most accidents happen close to home or work, there is a good chance this dog will return to its vomit.
The lower burden of proof in civil court (a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not) often comes into play as well.
If an attorney identifies the vehicle, perhaps by a general description and a partial plate number, that might be enough evidence to obtain compensation. It’s more likely than not that a vehicle’s owner was also its driver at any given time.
Other Legal Options
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to track down the tortfeasor (negligent driver). However, these victims might still have legal options.
UIM (Uninsured Motorist) coverage is a good example. Most people have UIM coverage. These individuals can file claims against their own insurance policies. Since the insurance company wants to keep its customer happy, these matters often settle rapidly and on victim-friendly terms.
If the parties cannot settle the matter, these disputes normally go to arbitration instead of trial. Arbitration is essentially a private trial. There is no court reporter and no jury.
Compensation in a hit-and-run wreck usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Many Santa Clara County jurors intensely dislike hit and run drivers. So, they are sometimes willing to award additional punitive damages.
Connect with a Dedicated Attorney
Hit and run crash victims have legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer, contact Solution Now Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Santa Clara County and nearby jurisdictions.