How To File a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Claim?
With California’s warm temperatures and sunny skies, it’s the perfect place to ride a motorcycle down the highway. However, while it can be a great way to spend one’s day, riding a bike is still dangerous, especially when other drivers are sharing the road. Unfortunately, with many drivers choosing to disregard speed limits, driving while distracted or impaired, or simply not giving motorcyclists adequate space and consideration on the road, hit and run motorcycle accidents are a frequent occurrence. When these accidents happen, it is the motorcyclist who likely has severe or even life-threatening injuries. To learn more about the details of California motor vehicle hit and run accidents and how a Los Angeles motor vehicle accident lawyer can assist you, here are some important factors to keep in mind:
Types Of Hit And Run Accidents
Under California law, it is illegal for any driver to leave the scene of an accident, even if the accident is relatively minor. If they do so without stopping to provide assistance to injured parties or giving necessary contact and insurance information, they will be charged with hit and run. The two types of hit and run crimes in California are misdemeanor and felony hit and run, with each being defined by the seriousness of the accident. With a misdemeanor hit and run, damages only involve property, not injuries or deaths to other drivers. Punishment for these crimes is a fine up to $1,000, along with six months in jail. For a felony hit and run, this is an accident where injuries and deaths occur, and punishments can include fines up to $10,000 and four years in a state prison.
Defining Hit And Run
Legally, a hit and run accident occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an accident before police or rescue personnel arrive. Under state law, motorists involved in these accidents are required to remain at the scene and contact emergency personnel if there are injuries at the scene. In most of these situations, when a vehicle and motorcycle collide, it is the motorcyclist who is severely injured. Thus, if a driver leaves the scene of the accident, the motorcyclist is left to possibly fight for their life. If you were involved in an accident such as this, contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Why People Flee Hit And Run Accidents
If a driver collides with a motorcyclist and flees the scene, they often do so for a variety of reasons. While some simply do so out of fear or panic, others may be so impaired they don’t even realize an accident occurred. Others may leave the scene because they were driving without a license, have no auto insurance, or perhaps have outstanding warrants against them. Whatever the case may be, they are only making a bad situation worse by leaving the accident scene. If you have found yourself the victim of a hit and run driver, seek legal representation from a firm that will fight for you, such as Grey Law Firm.
Obtaining Financial Compensation
Since many victims of hit and run accidents assume nothing can be done for them because the driver left the scene and has not yet been found, they fail to contact an attorney, and this is a tremendous mistake. In most of these accidents, they can enlist the aid of investigators, police reports, and other resources to track down a hit and run driver and make them be held responsible for their negligence and carelessness. As a result, victims of these accidents can sue for financial compensation, which can include payment for previous, current, and future medical treatments associated with their injuries, lost wages from being unable to return to work, pain and suffering, and possibly other punitive damages.
Criminal And Civil Hit And Run Charges
When a driver is brought up on hit and run charges, criminal and civil trials are held separately. In a criminal trial, the court will decide the type of punishment the hit and run driver will receive, such as fines, jail or prison sentence, community service, or a combination of these penalties. However, a civil trial is where an attorney will help you obtain compensation for your injuries. It is important for hit and run victims to remember that even if a driver is cleared of criminal charges in these cases, a civil suit can be and in all likelihood should still be filed against them.
Steps To Take After A Hit And Run Accident
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, there are several steps you should try to take as soon as possible. Of course, the most important step is to have emergency personnel summoned to the scene to attend to your injuries. But along with this, once police arrive, it is crucial to give them an accurate description of the vehicle that hit you. This information usually includes the vehicle’s make, model, year, color, license plate number, and any other facts that could make it easy to identify. By doing this as soon as possible, it is more likely the driver can be located and charged with the crime.
Don’t Be Intimidated By Insurance Companies
In many of these cases, insurance companies will try to convince you to settle for a minimal amount of money for your injuries. While they may appear to be concerned about you, they are simply trying to pay out as little money as possible. Rather than fall victim to this, have all contact with insurance companies be handled by your personal injury lawyer.
Since being involved in a hit and run accident can be very traumatic, don’t hesitate to contact Grey Law Firm, a law firm you know and trust.