In California, a hit–and-run accident is charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The charge becomes a felony if someone is injured in the crash and the other driver leaves the accident scene.
The threat of the law does not prevent tragic accidents like the one in which 26-year-old Colin Roche was killed in a Riverside crash after he lost control of his motorcycle and was run over by a car on March 28, 2012. The driver of the other car then left the scene and has yet to be apprehended.
Even worse, there are drivers who intentionally try to hit motorcyclists. In 2011, George Lopez Jr., age 51, was killed when the driver of a paratransit van purposely swerved into a group of Hells Angels Club motorcyclists on Interstate 580.
In many accident injury cases, however, San Francisco drivers simply do not see bikers. According to the Hurt Report on Causes of Motorcycle Accidents, the predominant cause of motorcycle crashes result from drivers who do not see motorcycles or who notice them too late to avoid a crash.
Overall, the number of accidents per 100,000 people has dropped by nearly 23 percent since 1992. And yet, in 2009, 4,092 motorcyclists were killed in accidents. Many of these crashes were preventable.
If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to file a claim against the person at fault for injuries and damages related to the crash. Speaking with an attorney who is experienced in personal injury law can help you understand your rights and how to proceed forward with a personal injury hit-and-run accident claim.
If the driver has not yet been apprehended, you can still potentially obtain compensation if you have an underinsured or uninsured motorists clause on your own insurance policy.
How to Protect Your Rights After a Hit and Run
- Note as many details as you can about the accident, including description of the car that hit you.
- Note the location of the accident.
- Get the names, phone numbers, emails and addresses of any witnesses.
- Stay where you are. Do not go after the other driver. After an accident, you may have a rush of adrenaline that will cause you to take risks or actions that you normally would not. The shock may also prevent you from feeling any injuries.
- Call the police immediately.
- File an accident report with the police. You will need this report to move your insurance claim forward.
- File a car accident claim with your insurance company.
- If the driver of the other car is not found, you may file an accident claim with your own insurance company if you have underinsured or uninsured motorist’s coverage.
Talk to a San Francisco Bay Area Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered serious injuries or your loved one died in a hit-and-run accident or any other type of crash, you need an attorney experienced in personal injury who knows how to fight for your rights. The attorneys at the Weber & Nierenberg law firm, with offices in northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area will provide you with the personal attention you need and the legal guidance you can count on. Call to arrange a free evaluation today at 1-866-288-6010.