Hit-and-run accidents have always happened, but recent reports indicate that they are quickly growing more common. One study, which looked at accidents involving fatalities, found that they went up by 60 percent in less than a decade. The study looked at the changes in incidents from 2009 to 2016.

Most of the hit-and-runs actually did not involve other cars — particularly when looking at fatal crashes. About 65 percent of the incidents involved cyclists and pedestrians.

Of course, most accidents are not fatal. Over the decade before 2016, statistics indicate that there were an average of 682,000 hit-and-run accidents every single year. Many just resulted in property damage. In fact, a lot of these accidents tend to involve parked cars, and the cars’ owners may only find out about the accidents long after they happened.

How common is this in California? The study ranked the states based on the deadly hit-and-run crashes, and it found that California ranked in at No. 7 overall. This study was done on a per capita basis, so it takes into account that California has far more residents than states like Vermont (No. 46), New Mexico (No. 1), New Hampshire (No. 50) and Louisiana (No. 2).

Hit-and-run accidents happen for many different reasons. In some cases, drivers honestly do not realize they made contact with another vehicle and drive away from the scene without any malicious intent. No matter what happened in your case or why you have been accused of leaving the accident scene, make sure you understand all of the legal defense options you have when facing these serious charges.