Motorcycle hit-and-run accident

Our Orange County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Explains Your Rights After a Hit-and-Run Accident

Motorcycle accidents present enough challenges, even when the driver involved has stopped at the scene. Things can get even more challenging when the other driver keeps going and does not stop. You may still be eligible for financial compensation, even when you cannot locate the responsible driver. Nonetheless, you would still need to go through a legal process that involves an insurance company. Always hire an experienced Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer to help explain your rights and handle your claim. 

California Hit-and-Run Accidents

Under California law, a driver is legally obligated to stop at the scene of an accident when there is property damage or physical injuries. Depending on the extent of the damage or injuries, the driver could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. You need the driver to stop because you need their insurance coverage information in case you need to file a claim. 

In extreme cases, some drivers may not stop at the accident scene. For whatever reason, they choose to take the risk and break the law. They may not have insurance, or they could believe that they might be arrested. Either way, if the driver does not stop, you are denied the ability to file a claim against their insurance policy because you are not able to obtain their information. 

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Motorcycle Accident

If you have been injured in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, it is vital that you do the following:

  • Report the accident to the police so you can have a police report to give to the insurance company that shows that there was a hit-and-run crash. 
  • See a doctor and get the medical help that you need to both get the documentation necessary to file a claim and put you on the road to the fullest recovery possible.
  • Contact an Orange County attorney at Case Barnett Law so you can begin the process of seeking financial compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries. 

Identifying the Hit-and-Run Driver 

It is vital that the driver who was responsible for your accident is identified. Not only do you want justice and accountability, but you also need to file a claim against their insurance policy. They could be liable to pay you up to the amount of the policy limits. Given that most motorcycle accident injuries tend to be serious, you need all the possible insurance coverage to pay for the full extent of your damages. 

The local police will conduct their own investigation of your accident since a hit-and-run is a criminal offense. In addition, your Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer will use their own resources to try to locate the hit-and-run driver who was responsible for your accident. 

Your lawyer could conduct an investigation of your accident, which can include the following:

  • Interviewing witnesses who saw what happened and may have information about the vehicle or driver involved in the crash
  • Speaking with people in the neighborhood who may have seen the car
  • Reviewing camera footage and pictures of the scene of the accident
  • Checking with local auto repair shops who may have worked on the car
  • Conducting a license plate search with the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles based on the part of the license plate you may already have. 

How Our Orange County Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help Your Case

If you were involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident in Orange County, it is vital to contact an experienced attorney. At Case Barnett Law, our motorcycle accident attorney can help your case by doing the following:

Gathering evidence that can prove liability in your accident (you must still prove fault, even in a hit-and-run case)
  • Estimating the value of your damages after reviewing the facts of your case
  • Filing a claim against your own underinsured motorist coverage (assuming that you cannot locate the other driver)
  • Negotiating fair compensation on your behalf
  • Arguing your case in court if you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company

Recovering Compensation When the Driver Cannot Be Located

The good news is that you are not without legal options, even when you cannot find the driver involved in the crash. California law allows you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage that can be used when the other driver either does not have insurance or does not stop after the accident. The only way you would not have uninsured motorist coverage in California is if you opted out of it (which almost nobody should ever consider doing). 

If you cannot locate the other driver, you could file a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage. Then, you would be dealing with your insurance company to recover financial compensation for your injuries. You are nowhere near out of the woods at that point. 

Negotiating With the Insurance Company 

Do not ever mistake your own insurance company for a “friendly face” that wants to do right by you. Any insurance company has the same financial motivations at work, namely, to make as much money as they can by paying as little as possible for your claim. You would still need to prove liability for the crash and negotiate with the insurance company in the hopes of getting a full settlement. You may still need to sue your own insurance company to get them to pay the full value of your claim, making an experienced motorcycle accident attorney an absolute must. Your attorney would still need to negotiate with your insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement on your behalf. 

If you do find the driver, their insurance company will become the primary payer of your damages. If your insurance company has already paid you money, it could be reimbursed by the other insurance company for your damages. If your damages exceed the amount of the other driver’s policy limit, you may be able to file a claim against both insurance policies then.