California Highway Patrol data suggests that Los Angeles hit-and-run motorcycle accidents are all too common. The results are devastating when cars and motorcycles collide, particularly for motorcyclists, who have very little protection. Often motorcycles are hit by other vehicles whose drivers were negligent behind the wheel, whether by speeding, driving distracted, driving drunk, blowing through a stoplight, or driving without a license or without insurance. When these drivers flee the scene, it can make it extra challenging for injury victims to pursue the damages they are owed. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help at this difficult time.
If you or a loved one have been impacted by a hit and run driver, contact a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at the Salamati Law Firm to help track down the perpetrator and see that you are compensated for your losses.
Who Is at Fault in a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident in California?
To determine fault in a crash, insurance companies, attorneys, and juries will typically attempt to determine which driver was negligent. All drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers and vehicle occupants to ensure that their vehicle is properly maintained and to follow all traffic laws. If a driver breaches this duty by speeding, running a red light, making an unsafe lane change, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – which are all common causes of motorcycle accidents – and thereby causes an accident with you, then he or she may be found to be responsible for your injuries incurred in that crash.
In the context of motorcycle hit and run cases, it should be noted that in the state of California, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident. Whether there are physical injuries or property damage or not, a responsible motorist has a duty to stop and make sure everyone involved is alright.
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What Are the Next Steps After Getting in a Motorcycle Hit and Run Accident?
It is recommended that you take the following steps after a hit and run motorcycle accident:
- Gather information. If you have survived a hit-and-run accident, you are likely shaken up and filled with emotion. Do your best to write down any information you can remember – a description of where you were traveling, an approximate time, and weather conditions. Try to piece together anything you saw about the perpetrator – which direction they came from, the make/model/color of the other vehicle, a physical description of the motorist, or a license plate number. If possible, take photos of the accident scene and damage to your motorcycle, as well as photos of your injuries. Try and get contact information and statements from any witnesses.
- Check the area for traffic light or surveillance cameras that may contain evidence.
- File a police report as soon as possible. This document will aid in processing your insurance claim and will greatly strengthen your lawsuit, should you choose to file one.
- Get medical documentation. Even if you are unsure about your injuries, it is important to undergo professional medical evaluation. Brain, nerve, and soft tissue injuries may not be readily apparent at first.
- Call your insurance company. Even if you cannot identify the other driver, you may still be able to recover compensation through your uninsured motorist coverage — which will cover up to $15,000 per person injured (with a maximum of $30,000 per accident) toward medical expenses, as well as $3,500 in property damage. If you selected higher limits, you may be eligible for more. Collision and bodily injury insurance coverage may be used as well, but far too often we find it falls short in covering all for the losses suffered in this type of accident. A lawsuit provides for additional losses, such as lost income from missed work or disability, emotional pain and suffering, and – in the worst cases — loss of support, loss of companionship, wrongful death, and funeral expenses. Spouses and children of a deceased motorcyclist are eligible for damages when a hit-and-run driver can be located.
- Contact Salamati Law for a free consultation. An experienced Los Angeles motorcycle hit and run attorney can help determine the extent of your losses and maximize your chance of winning a larger settlement or award. The Salamati Law Firm has a talented network of crash investigators, private detectives, auto body shop contacts, and others who can help support the police in their investigation.
How Do I Track Down the Fleeing Driver?
In any motorcycle accident in which you were injured, you will need to prove that another person or entity was negligent in causing the crash in which you were hurt. While it may not be difficult in some cases to prove that the other driver was at fault, it becomes much more challenging if you have no idea who the other driver was. When a driver flees the scene of the accident, an experienced attorney can make all the difference when it comes to identifying that driver and then pursuing justice on your behalf.
By following the tips mentioned above, you can make your lawyer’s job that much easier, but it is still possible to track down the negligent driver even if you were unable to take action in the aftermath of your crash. For example, many property owners – both private residences and businesses – have implemented 24-hour surveillance camera that captures footage at all times. Depending on where your accident took place, it is quite possible that one or more of these surveillance cameras captured at least a portion of your crash. An experienced attorney will know where to look and know how to request that the footage be preserved and accessed so as to help build your case.
Additionally, eyewitnesses to the crash, traffic cameras, or dashcams in other vehicles could all potentially provide clues to the identity of the hit and run driver.
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Disturbing Hit and Run Statistics
Hit and run accidents are a significant issue here in California. In fact, according to the US Department of Transportation, there were 30 counties nationwide with more than 50 fatal hit and run accidents between 2014-2018. Sadly, 10 of those counties are here in California.
- Los Angeles County was first with an alarming 473, with the next closest nationwide being 258
- San Bernardino County was eighth with 129
- San Diego County was ninth with 119
- Riverside County was 11th with 98
- Sacramento County was 14th with 85
- Orange County was 15th with 77
- Santa Clara County was 23rd with 66
- Kern County was 27th with 57
- Fresno County was 28th with 56
- San Joaquin was 29th with 53
Common injuries in hit and run motorcycle crashes
Victims of a motorcycle hit and run in Los Angeles often sustain serious injuries. Common motorcycle injuries include the following:
- Broken backs
- Broken ribs and hips
- Facial lacerations and fractures
- Spinal cord injury
- Head and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Leg fractures
- Psychological trauma
- Punctured organs
- Traumatic brain injuries
Motorcycle hit and run accident settlements
Hit-and-run accident settlements vary greatly, but depend upon the:
- Extent of injury and losses
- Plaintiff’s degree of negligence
- Strength of evidence, and
- Amount of pain and suffering involved
There is no “absolute formula,” but oftentimes, pain and suffering is calculated by multiplying medical bills by three.
$1.185 Million Motorcycle Accident Settlement
One of our clients was riding his Harley Davidson and had the right-of-way while driving straight. Suddenly, a truck turned left right in front of our client, causing a serious accident. Our client suffered a mild Traumatic Brain Injury and serious internal injuries. We ultimately secured a $1.185 Million settlement on our client’s behalf.
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Motorcycle Hit and Run Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
The Salamati Law Firm aggressively pursues justice for accident victims in the state of California. Pursuing compensation after a hit and run motorcycle accident in Los Angeles can be particularly complex due to the challenge of tracking down the other driver. Working with a lawyer who has experience handling these cases can put you in the best position to receive the maximum damages you deserve. Since 1995, our attorneys have achieved successful outcomes for clients who were injured through no fault of their own.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident here in California, call Salamati Law today to book a cost-free consultation. All legal counsel is provided on a contingency basis, so you have nothing to lose by calling today.