Motorcycle riders often suffer serious injuries when they are involved in an accident with another vehicle. When the other driver is at fault for the accident, the motorcycle rider may be entitled to seek compensation from the driver for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages related to the crash. However, holding an at-fault driver responsible becomes significantly more complicated if the driver fled the scene of the accident, making the accident a “hit and run.”
A hit and run accident occurs whenever a driver leaves the scene of an accident before police or emergency medical services arrive. Leaving a potentially injured motorcyclist behind is an unconscionable act. At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we look out for motorcyclists who have been seriously injured by reckless and cowardly drivers. We can help you explore all possible sources of compensation to identify your rights and options.
Contact our motorcycle accident attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are here to give you hope during this stressful time.
Compensation Options After a Hit and Run Accident
If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident while riding your motorcycle, you may be wondering how you can seek compensation for your injuries and damages if you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver, and therefore cannot assert a claim against the driver and his or her insurance company.
Fortunately, you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurance policy. Although it is not required in Florida as with passenger vehicles, motorcycle riders can purchase personal injury protection coverage under their motorcycle insurance policy. This coverage will provide compensation for medical treatment and lost wages due to injuries.
You may also have purchased uninsured motorist coverage for your motorcycle insurance policy. When an accident is caused by a driver who then flees the scene, the at-fault driver is deemed to be an uninsured motorist and, therefore, an injured person with uninsured motorist coverage can seek benefits from their insurer.
How Our Attorneys Can Help After a Hit and Run
After being in a motorcycle accident where the at-fault driver fled the scene, you will need to consult with an attorney to determine your next steps. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages. However, investigating your crash and fighting with the insurance company is an added layer of stress that you do not need.
Some of the ways our attorneys can help you include:
- Investigate your accident: An attorney can thoroughly investigate your accident. In particular, your attorney can contact eyewitnesses and nearby businesses that may have had surveillance cameras that caught your accident. Your attorney and the police will work to try to identify the at-fault driver who fled the scene.
- Negotiate with your insurance company: An attorney can also contact your insurance company on your behalf and manage negotiations for compensation through your personal injury protection coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, if those benefits are available under your policy. Unfortunately, even though you may be dealing with your own insurance company, this does not mean the adjuster will be looking out for your best interests. The insurance company will want to keep a payout as low as possible, so it is crucial to have a skilled attorney advocating on your behalf.
- Litigate on your behalf: If the at-fault driver is located, our experienced motorcycle attorneys will negotiate skillfully with their insurance company for your compensation. If needed, we will pursue a lawsuit against the negligent driver and fight aggressively for your rights and the compensation you are owed.
Steps to Take after a Hit and Run Accident
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, do not give up hope. There are steps you can take to help your case.
- Call the police. Notifying the police of your accident will allow them to investigate the scene and prepare an accident report. The police can also begin to search for the driver who hit you.
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses may be able to help you identify the fleeing driver, such as providing the license plate number or vehicle description.
- Take photographs or video of the accident scene. Photos or videos can be later used to establish how your accident occurred or help put together an accident reconstruction.
- Seek medical attention. It is important to follow up with a medical provider to have your injuries diagnosed and a treatment plan established – that way, you can affirmatively establish your damages when seeking compensation.
- Speak with an experienced hit-and-run motorcycle accident attorney. An attorney can help you identify and understand your options for compensation for your injuries or damages, such as PIP coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. A lawyer can also help you secure evidence to prove your right to compensation or even to help identify the fleeing driver.
Why Drivers Hit and Run
Most of us would never consider simply driving away from a motor vehicle accident without stopping to at least exchange insurance information. However, sometimes people may have personal circumstances that cause them to fear greater consequences if they were to stop and stay at the scene of their accident. As a result, they may panic and flee the scene.
Some common reasons why drivers decide to flee the scene of a motorcycle accident include:
- The driver has a suspended license.
- The driver does not have insurance.
- The driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- The driver has drugs, weapons, or other contraband in the vehicle.
- The driver knows there is a warrant out for his or her arrest.
Usually a driver flees the scene if he or she fears being arrested. However, when they decide to run, they fail to appreciate the fact that they are exposing themselves to even greater criminal penalties by fleeing the scene.
Criminal Consequences of Fleeing the Accident Scene
A motorist who is convicted of fleeing the scene of a motorcycle or other motor vehicle accident that results in a fatality is subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence of four years, with a maximum potential sentence of 30 years imprisonment, in addition to a fine of up to $10,000. A convicted driver will also have his or her license revoked for a minimum period of three years.
If a driver flees the scene of an accident resulting in injuries, the driver can face a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, along with a revocation of the driver’s license for at least three years. If the accident only results in property damage, a driver who flees the scene faces a sentence of up to 60 days in jail and a potential fine of up to $500.
Need Legal Assistance? Call Our Attorneys Now
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit and run accident while riding a motorcycle, contact the Gainesville personal injury attorneys of Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., today to schedule a free consultation. We will take the time to review your case, talk about your own insurance coverage, and explain all your options.