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June 13, 2013

Getting Involved in a Hit-and-run: Knowing Your Rights as an Injured Bicyclist

Bicycling is one of the most convenient forms of transportation, most especially in California. In fact, bicyclists are required to comply with the traffic laws of the state, as they also share the road with other motorists. However, bicyclists are vulnerable to hit-and-run accidents, especially if automobile drivers are not aware of their presence on the road.

For some, such horrible incidents are caused by sloppy enforcement of traffic laws. Some would say these are the fault of unlicensed and uninsured drivers. Reasons for such accidents are too complicated and involve a lot of factors that are linked with each other; nonetheless, it is the victims who suffer a lot from these unfortunate instances that should not have happened had the other parties involved acted reasonably with care.

Basically, hit-and-run accidents involving bicycles in California involve criminal charges, which are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor charge is filed against the driver d if the bicyclist was hit and caused only property damage, whereas a felony charge is likewise charged if the bicyclist was injured or killed.

While these criminal charges are imperative in punishing lackadaisical and wayward motorists, they don’t actually help in paying the damages to the bicyclists, especially for those who were injured or killed in hit-and-run accidents. For the most part, involved drivers are never located, or, if they had been found, the statute of limitations had already expired.

It is therefore imperative for injured bicyclists in California to know their rights in case they have been involved in a hit-and-run. In such instances where the driver involved is not identified, the injured bicyclist may file a claim with any insurance he or she carries himself or herself. If he or she has auto insurance and carries uninsured motorist coverage, this may help pay the damages he or she incurred. Also, personal injury protection should help in paying for hospitalization and medical costs needed to treat his or her injuries.

Aside from that, other defendants may be determined. The city where the accident happened may be sued if it involved a road hazard such as construction equipment that caused the bicyclist’s injury. Moreover, another driver may be involved in the hit-and-run, and, if identified, can be held responsible for the damages incurred by the victim.

Indeed, hit-and-run bicycle accidents are devastating and traumatic, as these involve medical bills, as well as pain and suffering for both victims and their families. If you have been involved in one, you must strongly consider hiring a top Los angeles bike accident lawyer to help you determine the liable party and, more importantly, recover compensation for your incurred damages.

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