Motorcycle Hit and Run Accidents in California
Motorcycle Hit and Run Accidents: How Do I Obtain Recoverable Compensation for Damages?
A motorcycle hit and run accident occurs when one or more individuals involved in a motorcycle accident flee the scene immediately thereafter. The accident could involve a vehicle hitting a motorcycle or even a motorcycle hitting a pedestrian. What makes the event a hit and run is the failure of the rider or driver to do what the law requires in the aftermath of an accident.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and you leave the scene, there could be serious consequences. If you leave without performing the legal formalities, you could open yourself up to civil or criminal proceedings.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle hit and run accident, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. Depending on how quickly you contact a motorcycle accident lawyer, you can improve your chances of a positive outcome.
Our California motorcycle accident lawyers have decades of experience litigating on behalf of clients in motorcycle hit and run accidents. This experience has allowed us to distinguish our firm as the foremost personal injury firm in this area.
What Is a Motorcycle Hit and Run Accident?
Under California law, a driver involved in an accident is expected to stay at the scene. It is a crime to leave the scene of the accident before complying with the requirements of the law. California Vehicle Code 20002 imposes a responsibility on drivers involved in an accident. It requires them to provide their vehicle details, insurance information and personal details. They are also required to wait with any injured person until the police or emergency services arrive at the scene.
Leaving the scene of a motorcycle accident before doing what the law requires would amount to an offense. This may be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the severity of injury or damage caused. The only situation where a person is allowed to leave the scene of an accident is where you hit a parked vehicle or motorcycle. The law allows such a person to leave a note containing the required details on the vehicle or motorcycle.
A person that leaves the scene without complying with the law, could be charged for a hit and run offense. Depending on the circumstances of the hit and run, this can result in significant fines or even fail term, if the person is found guilty. Generally, leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor that attracts a fine of $1,000 and up to 6 months jail time. Leaving the scene of an accident where a person is injured or dies is a more serious offense though. Such an act would be a felony and this attracts imprisonment of up to 4 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Motorcycle Hit and Run Accidents in California Statistics
The law on motorcycle hit and run accidents in California is very strict because of the frequency of such accidents in the state. In fact, it is considered so serious that the state offers a $50,000 reward for any person that has information on drivers that flee the scene of an accident.
According to reports, a hit and run accident happens once every 18 minutes in Los Angeles alone. In 2015, 50 percent of the 28,000 accidents that happened all over the county were hit and run cases. Compare this to the national average at 11 percent. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also reported that California had the most hit and run fatalities of any state in 2016. It had 337 hit and run cases that resulted in at least one fatality, more than 50 percent higher than any other state. Poor road conditions have also played a part in the rate of motorcycle accidents.
Due to the overwhelming number of hit and run crashes in the state, the situation has been likened to an epidemic. The situation is more serious for motorcycle accidents because cyclists have less protection.This means there is a greater chance of serious or life threatening injury from the accident. It may result in broken spines, broken bones or lacerations. Fractures, head and neck injuries, internal bleeding or punctured organs could also result. It could also lead to traumatic brain injuries, permanent disfigurement or the permanent loss of a limb.
The catalog of serious injuries that may result makes it all the more important for you to contact a qualified lawyer immediately to assess your chances of compensation.
Obtaining Damages in a Motorcycle Hit and Run Accident Claim
Even though motorcycle hit and run crashes can be charged as a criminal offense, you can still recover compensation for the crash. You can sue the at-fault driver if they have been arrested by the police. If they have insurance, you can get compensation from their insurer by filing a claim. You need to be careful with these insurers though as they would prefer to leave you penniless if they can. Your Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer can help you process your claim. They can ensure you recover fair compensation.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can sue them. But it is not in all cases that the driver will be caught. In the event that the driver cannot be traced down, you still have options for compensation. You can get compensation through your own insurer if you have uninsured motorist cover. This insurance cover will entitle you to compensation for the damage to your motorcycle or vehicle. You should also be able to recover reimbursement of medical expenses. Of course, the amount of compensation you can recover depends on the extent of cover you had in the first place.
You should know that the task of obtaining compensation in these cases is rarely easy. You would need to rely on police reports, eye witness reports, and other resources to establish the fault of the other driver. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover some compensation under California law. This is based on the comparative negligence system that California operates. Although, based on this system, the total amount you would have received as compensation would be reduced based on fault. This is why it is important to hire a skilled motorcycle injury lawyer to build a strong case for your innocence.
Contact a Qualified Motorcycle Injury Lawyer
If you have been a victim of a hit and run motorcycle accident, you need to act fast to retain a qualified motorcycle accident attorney. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our California motorcycle accident attorneys have a reputation for aggressively representing the interests of our clients. We have extensive experience dealing with insurers and understand all the tricks they use. Our number one priority is securing the best possible outcome for our clients.
If you wish to learn more about your rights in a sudden stop motorcycle accident, please contact us by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form. Our lawyers stand ready to answer your questions and help you understand your rights.
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