For those of us in the San Diego, it is worth knowing that California leads the nation in fatal hit and run accidents. California has over 100 more accidents occuring every year than in the state with the second most hit and run crashes. These types of accidents have been increasing every year for over a decade and are occurring at a rate dramatically more frequently than they were in 2009. Unfortunately, these fatalities are not just limited to car accidents as many of these hit and run fatalities involve motorcycle riders.
Motorcycle riders, unlike cars and trucks on the road, are much more vulnerable to serious injuries and fatalities when involved in an accident. Due to the bike’s small size compared to a car and the rider’s exposure, accidents involving motorcycle riders can lead to death, dismemberment, brain damage, spinal cord damage, and other life-changing conditions and permeate injuries.
On some occasions, a “no contact” accident occurs where the bike and other vehicle come close to each other, but do not actually collide. While the motorcycle and the car do not touch, the car’s driving still causes the rider to crash, injuring the rider. Drivers who cause these no contact accidents are then left with the decision to stop, but many do not either because they were unaware of their surroundings and did not see the rider or because they are worried about the consequences of the accident.
One of the biggest concerns among personal injury attorneys in big cities like San Diego, when it comes to hit and run accidents, for both motorcycles and cars alike, is that if the driver is never located, then the personal injury damages may never be compensated. This means that the injured parties can be left paying for their own medical treatment and care. Even if the driver is located, many times they will have little or no insurance coverage, were driving illegally, or have no assets to pay for the damage they caused. This is typically why they flee the scene after a motorcycle accident in the first place.
Can you recover damages if you’re injured in a motorcycle hit and run accident?
Not being able to locate the negligent party after a bike crash can be scary. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be facing mounting medical bills from treatment, lost wages from missed work, a damaged bike, and extensive pain and suffering during the recovery. These losses already make life more difficult to manage; finding the car that hit you is not always the most accessible task or most important issue at the moment. Oftentimes, people do not even know where to start or who to contact after they are involved in a hit and run accident.
However, if you have the proper insurance coverage, you will still be able to receive financial compensation for your injuries from the bike accident from your own insurance company. In California, this insurance is known as Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). UM pays for hospital bills, damage to your bike, and other expenses you’ve incurred because of the hit and run bike accident.
This is why we always recommend carrying Uninsured Motorist Coverage with your auto carrier. In other states, this coverage is known as Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). When you have UM/UIM, this additional layer of protection will step in when the other driver has no insurance or insufficient coverage to pay for your injuries. In return, you’ll have less to worry about while you focus on treating your injuries and recovering from the accident.
Do you need a lawyer after a hit and run bike accident?
As a way to save money at the expense of those injured in a car accident, many insurance companies have tricks they use to try to deny claims, and often use them on motorcycle riders involved in hit and run accidents. Insurance companies will lull victims into a false sense of security, tell the injured party they don’t need a personal injury attorney, and then turn around and use information provided by the injured victim to deny their claim. They will pretend to be your friend and say they want to help, with the only intent to pay as little as possible, oftentimes not enough to compensate you for the life-long consequences of the accidents.
Help from a personal injury lawyer when dealing with these insurance companies can be invaluable. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will become the point of contact with the insurance company, preventing many of the tricks that can deny your claim or reduce its value. When you have a personal injury attorney, the insurance companies will not be allowed to contact you without express permission from your lawyer, thus ending the harassing calls and messages.
Not only will we help with the insurance companies, we will deploy our connections and resources to uncover what happened in the accident. The best California motorcycle accident attorneys will immediately launch an investigation into the crash. This would include hiring a private investigator to look into the wreck, see if they can locate any witnesses, and possibly even try to track down the at fault party.
A personal injury attorney will also look into other avenues for who could be liable. There may be a local government or municipality that was negligent, a motorcycle manufacturer who is bound by strict liability in production and manufacturing, or another person or company that contributed to your injuries.
Your lawyer will also review your medical records, figure out and negotiate fair payment for medical and hospital related bills, uncover your lost wages from missed work, and determine other expenses that arose due to your bike crash. Additionally, bike accident lawyers will know how to evaluate pain and suffering after a crash so that you are properly compensated for the other party’s negligence.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run motorcycle accident, we may be able to help. We will take a look at the facts and circumstances of your motorcycle wreck, the damages you’ve suffered, and give a free and honest opinion of your options moving forward.
Photo by Quintin Gellar.