Hit and run motorcycle accidents are not uncommon in California. After involvement in a hit and run motorcycle accident, you can reach the San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm for assistance in filing a civil lawsuit against the offender. Our injury attorneys have a credible reputation and significant experience in helping victims of personal injury seek adequate reimbursement after hit and run accidents.
An Overview of Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle riding should be a fun activity; however, riders are sometimes at risk of bodily injuries or death at the event of an accident with other motorists with disregard for human life. California traffic laws require every victim of any motorcycle accident to follow and observe specific reasonable procedures after an accident incident leading to injuries or damages. After a motorcycle accident, all parties of the accident must remain at the scene before the arrival of the police; however, you can seek immediate medical assistance if there are catastrophic injuries.
Suppose an offender leading to the occurrence of a motorcycle accident flees the accident scene to avoid liability of any injuries and damages. In that case, he/she should be guilty of a hit and run crime. A prosecutor can charge hit and run as either a felony or misdemeanor as per California vehicle code 20001 VC and vehicle code 20002 VC, respectively. The judge considers whether there were injuries after the hit and run motorcycle accident or not to determine the type of penalty to impose on the offender and the amount of restitution the plaintiff should receive.
Statistics show that hit and run motorcycle accidents happen in San Diego almost every 20 minutes. Hit and run accidents leading to property damages is a misdemeanor offense in California, while a hit and run leading to physical injuries or death is a felony offense. The type of injuries victims of a motorcycle accident incurs are dependent on a variety of factors. They include:
- Lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as helmet
- Age of the victim
- Mechanics of how the motorcycle falls on the ground during the occurrence of the accident
- Engine size
You must retain a reliable personal injury attorney after a hit and run motorcycle accident for legal representation to make sure the perpetrator pays for all the accident damages and injuries. Your injury attorney will play a crucial role in gathering pieces of evidence that you can use to seek reimbursement from insurers and the perpetrator.
Crucial Things to do After a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
What you do or say after a hit and run motorcycle accident will affect the amount of compensation you’ll receive, even if the motorcycle accident liability was not yours. Most of the time, victims of most motorcycle accidents are unconscious due to the impact of the accident. However, if you’re lucky to be conscious, the actions you take immediately after the accident will be essential in seeking reimbursement from the defendant and insurers. Below are vital things to do after a hit and run motorcycle accident apart from staying at the scene:
Leaving a motorcycle accident scene before the arrival of police is a crime. After the police’s arrival at the accident scene, the police will access the accident details to determine the cause of the accident. The police will also inquire from eyewitnesses about the probable cause of the motorcycle accident; however, it is up to the court to determine the at-fault party. After they make their report, you can obtain a copy of the report and use it to file your lawsuit for the accident damages and injuries.
Suppose you consider filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator after a hit and run motorcycle accident. In that case, your injury lawyer will rely on the crucial evidence you collect at the accident scene. Speak to a few eyewitnesses and get their contact details if you need them to testify what they have seen during the trial. You should also consider capturing many videos and pictures of the motorcycle accident scene.
A description of where you were going, current weather conditions, and time are crucial evidence that can help you after a hit and run motorcycle accident. These pieces of evidence will go a long way during an insurance claim or lawsuit against the perpetrator.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you feel okay and conscious after a hit and run motorcycle accident, you must seek medical attention. Many people suffer internal organ injuries, which they do not notice immediately after a motorcycle accident but can be fatal later if there is no medical assistance. After medical attention, you should record a post-medical journal that illustrates all the bills you incur during treatment after injury in a hit and run motorcycle accident.
Contact Your Insurer
It is also very vital to contact your insurance provider after a hit and run motorcycle accident. Insurance providers have a legal obligation to protect their clients after the submission of a compensation claim. The insurance provider will send their adjusters at the accident scene to access the accident’s nature and factors leading to the occurrence of the motorcycle accident.
Because it’s a hit and run accident, the perpetrator is almost always liable for the accident; hence the insurance provider will consider that an aggravating factor to offer you adequate compensation. However, not every time, insurance providers are cooperative in providing their claimants' adequate compensation after an accident. They will try to negotiate a lot so that they can give you little or no compensation; hence you should consider retaining a personal injury attorney for legal representation when seeking compensation.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
You can never underrate the need for personal injury attorney services after a hit and run motorcycle accident. Your injury attorney will gather all the potential pieces of evidence surrounding the motorcycle accident to help you collect adequate reimbursement from the perpetrator or insurance providers. Take into account the injury attorney experience and reputation to avoid settling on a mediocre expert who is unfamiliar with California personal injury laws.
To be sure and certain of the best legal representation after a hit and run motorcycle accident, you should also consider the injury attorney courteousness and respect for a comfortable and open relationship during the whole lawsuit process.
Crucial Aspects of a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Lawsuit
Just like any other personal injury case involving a motorist, there are specific crime aspects that a prosecutor must prove above a reasonable doubt during a trial to convict the defendant who runs away after the motorcycle accident and also to get adequate reimbursement for damages. The following are vital aspects in a hit and run motorcycle accident case, which you need to demonstrate to the jury to get sufficient compensation for accident damages:
The Offender Was a Victim of a Vehicle Accident
The defendant would not be guilty or liable for the accident damages if he/she were not a victim of the motorcycle accident incident where the defendant fled off the scene. When a motorcycle accident involving hit and run happens, most accident victims are not even conscious of identifying the defendant’s vehicle number plates or physical appearance before he/she disappears from the vicinity. The jury will require you and your injury attorney to provide pieces of evidence to prove that the defendant was responsible for the motorcycle accident that led to your damages or injuries.
The Offender Could Reasonably Have Known the Accident That He or She was a Victim Lead to Injuries
The defendant has a legal obligation to stop at a motorcycle accident scene that he/she is involved in a failure to which he/she will be guilty of hit and run crime. A defendant conviction for hit and run as either a misdemeanor or felony offense is an aggravating factor towards getting adequate compensation for your damages. You will rely on your injury attorney to demonstrate to the court why the defendant had a reasonable obligation to stop at the accident scene, which led to your injuries.
The Defendant Willfully Failed to Perform His/her Legal Obligation After the Motorcycle Accident
Any person involved in motorist accidents in California has a legal obligation to observe reasonable care towards other accident victims by doing the following:
- Stopping at the accident scene immediately
- Offering reasonable assistance to any individual who sustains injuries after the motorcycle accident
- Providing contact information and current address to the police
Lastly and most importantly, you’ll need to prove that the defendant was negligent towards the occurrence of the motorcycle accident that you were a victim. Most motorists’ accidents happen because of negligence. There is always a party that is negligent towards the occurrence of a motorcycle accident. Even if you were partially negligent towards the event of the motorcycle accident that left you with damages, under California comparative law, you might still be able to recover partial compensation for the damages.
Negligence is the main crime element in a personal injury lawsuit after a hit and run motorcycle accident. You can use the police report copy you took at the motorcycle accident scene to determine if the offender was negligent during the motorcycle accident occurrence. Below are specific aspects of negligence that a personal injury attorney must prove to the jury when determining the motorcycle accident liability for adequate restitution of the plaintiff’s damages:
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a reasonable legal responsibility that every motorist should exercise while on the road to prevent foreseeable accidents. The relationship between motorists on the road creates a legal obligation for care. Suppose there was a presence of a duty of care obligation during the occurrence of the accident. In that case, it means one of the parties in the accident was negligent in observing his/her reasonable duty of care. It is upon your injury attorney to establish the duty of care obligation the defendant had towards the plaintiff during the occurrence of the accident. Duty of care exists where there are traffic regulations set to prevent such motorcycle accidents.
Duty of Care Breach
Although there is the existence of a duty of care on the road for motorists, some have no regard for other motorists' safety and life. Suppose the defendant breaches his/her duty of care towards other motorists out of negligence. In that case, he/she should be liable for any accident damages resulting from the duty of care breach. The judge takes into consideration whether the defendant’s had a reasonable excuse to breach the duty of care during the occurrence of the accident. Texting and driving or DUI is an example of a duty of care breach, which can lead to severe injuries and damages after an accident.
If a reasonable standard person would have done the same under similar circumstances, the defendant might not be liable for the accident damages. Therefore, an injury attorney carries the burden of proof to demonstrate to the jury that the motorcycle accident that the plaintiff was a victim was foreseeable, meaning the defendant was negligent in observing his/her duty of care to avoid injuries.
Sometimes a motorist might be acting negligently on the road; however, it doesn’t automatically mean that he/she is liable for the claimant’s damages. This third aspect of negligence requires the plaintiff to prove that damages and injuries resulting from the hit and run motorcycle accident resulted from the defendant's negligence through the duty of care breach. It is not enough to show the jury that the defendant was DUI during the hit and run motorcycle accident occurrence. You should go ahead to show the judge how DUI’s negligent act leads to your injuries and damages.
The court will also consider the plaintiff’s injuries unforeseeable if the defendant's negligent actions did not directly lead to the accident that you were a victim. For instance, if there were random acts of nature such as floods during the occurrence of the accident that the defendant could not possibly foresee, he/she will not be responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. The court refers that as proximate cause to a plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
Damages are the final element of negligence that the court considers to determine the amount of restitution to offer a plaintiff for the hit and run motorcycle accident damages and injuries. Damages a plaintiff receives if the court finds the defendant guilty of negligence towards the occurrence of the motorcycle accident can be either economic or non-economic.
The damages a plaintiff receives from the at-fault party in a hit and run motorcycle accident will depend on the severity of damages and injuries the plaintiff incurred. Below are examples of damages the plaintiff should expect in a hit and run motorcycle accident personal injury lawsuit:
Lost Earning Capacity and Lost Wages
The plaintiff has a high chance to recover wages he/she has lost during treatment and medication period since the occurrence of the hit and run motorcycle accident. The plaintiff’s employer can play a critical role in proving the number and amount of wages the plaintiff has lost since involvement in the motorcycle accident. It’s also possible for the plaintiff to receive restitution for lost earning capacity for catastrophic injuries, which affects his/her ability to work, for instance, loss of limbs.
Lost earning capacity is the amount of income the plaintiff could’ve made if he/she can get to work as usual. Even if the plaintiff didn’t have a job, as long as he/she could’ve made some income during the injury treatment period, he/she also qualifies for some reimbursement for lost wages and the earning capacity lost.
The plaintiff’s post medical journal, which shows medical and medication expenses since the occurrence of the motorcycle accident, will be crucial in determining and calculating the amount of restitution to pay the plaintiff for the medical bills he/she incurs. Testimonials from doctors and videos of all therapy sessions the plaintiff attended after hit and run motorcycle accident injuries can help to prove the existence of post-accident medical bills and expenses.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are excellent examples of non-economic damages the plaintiff can receive for a hit and run motorcycle accident. It’s impossible to compensate the plaintiff’s economic(monetary) damages for the pain and suffering he/she endures after the motorcycle accident. Pain and suffering come as a result of lost body limbs, and the stress the plaintiff suffers from a lack of enjoyment in life.
Under California's wrongful death laws, the surviving family of a hit and run motorcycle accident victim can seek restitution from the at-fault party in the accident to lose their emotional and financial support. According to wrongful death laws, the perpetrator should also compensate the surviving family for all the funeral expenses they lost during the motorcycle accident victim burial. Surviving family members who can file lawsuits on behalf of the deceased victim in a hit and run motorcycle accident include the victim’s spouse, children, grandparents or any other family member who has property ownership rights in the family.
The judge can also impose punitive damages for the defendant’s negligent actions during the occurrence of the accident. The defendant can receive punishment for breaching his/her duty of care towards the plaintiff and also for fleeing the motorcycle accident scene while knowing there are some injuries or damages. Apart from compensating the plaintiff for the motorcycle accident damages, punitive damages are also essential when penalizing the plaintiff for his/her wrongdoings.
Other Forms Of Negligence in a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Civil Lawsuit
There are more different forms of negligence that the jury can use to determine hit and run motorcycle accident liability and degree of negligence by each party if the plaintiff is partially negligent. Other forms of negligence in a hit and run motorcycle accident include:
Negligence Per Se
According to California evidence code 669, if a perpetrator violates an ordinance or statute hence causing an injury in an accident, negligence per se legal policy presumes the defendant to be guilty of negligence. Negligence per se policy arises in the context of every personal injury lawsuit when determining the negligent party towards an occurrence of an accident that led to injuries or damages.
The defendant will be guilty according to negligence per se legal policy if he/she violates a traffic rule hence leading to the occurrence of the hit and run motorcycle accident that left the claimant with injuries. However, the defendant can rebuke this presumption by arguing that his/her reason for violating the ordinance or statute was reasonable at that particular time. Suppose you've got an eyewitness who saw the defendant violate traffic ordinance during the occurrence of the hit and run motorcycle accident. In that case, he/she can also testify during the trial to hold the defendant guilty of negligence.
Comparative negligence law or comparative fault law applies in California when more than one party shares the liability or fault towards the occurrence of the accident. A personal injury lawsuit can take twists a plaintiff would never expect. You should never assume that the defendant is always negligent in the event of any motorist accident because, legally, you can also be partially responsible for the accident.
The judge will use comparative negligence law to establish the degree or percentage of negligence by each party leading to the occurrence of the hit and run motorcycle accident. Suppose the plaintiff shares the accident responsibility that led to his/her injuries and damages. In that case, the claimant will receive reimbursement depending on his/her degree of negligence during the hit and run motorcycle accident occurrence. Comparative negligence doctrine is a suitable way to divide hit and run motorcycle accident liability/fault equally among the accident victims.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
For guidance on how you can seek restitution for damages after involvement in a hit and run motorcycle accident, you should consider seeking services of a professional personal injury attorney. We invite you to contact San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm at 619-478-4059 for smart and knowledgeable legal representation in your injury lawsuit after involvement in a hit and run motorcycle accident.