After a bicycle accident in Northern California, the stress and pain you experience can be quite high due to potential injuries and other damage. It’s even worse when the responsible person flees the scene.
These hit and run bicycle accidents are especially painful and frustrating. If you’re in Northern California and facing such a situation, Paceline Law can help. We handle insurance negotiations and, if needed, help you file a claim with your own insurance. Contact us for a free consultation to get the support you need in these challenging circumstances.
Insurance Requirements and Hit and Run Bicycle Accidents in Northern California
When it comes to bicycle accidents in Northern California, a hit-and-run is unfortunately one of the most common types. The reasons for this aren’t complicated: drivers don’t usually view bicyclists as having the same legal protections as motor vehicle drivers. However, this is a glaring misconception. California law explicitly states that a bicyclist has the same rights as any other road user, meaning that if you’re on your bicycle and hit by another driver, they have to:
- Immediately stop the vehicle
- Exchange contact and insurance information
- Provide you with their driver’s license and vehicle information
When this doesn’t happen, it means the accident is classified as a hit-and-run, and carries the same criminal penalties as a hit-and-run with another motor vehicle.
However, the biggest question that normally comes up after a hit-and-run bicycle accident is who and what will be responsible for paying for your injuries and damages. In California, individuals are required to carry certain insurance policies, most of which can be applied to a hit-and-run accident:
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage – In California, every driver must carry liability insurance with minimum limits. You can also opt for UM coverage, which helps when you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver or can’t locate the at-fault driver to obtain their insurance information. This is particularly useful in hit and run cases.
- Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance – You can turn to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, but it primarily covers property damage, including damage to your bike and equipment. Medical costs, which can accumulate in a hit and run bicycle accident, are not typically covered.
- Health insurance – In the event of injuries from a hit and run bicycle accident, your health insurance can assist with medical treatment expenses. It generally covers standard treatments like doctor’s visits, medication prescriptions, and physical therapy.
While facing a hit and run is far from ideal, partnering with an experienced lawyer can give you the best chance at making a financial and physical recovery from any injuries. However, because a hit-and-run accident has unique circumstances, the immediate aftermath is extremely important.
What to Do After a Northern California Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accident
Taking the right steps after a hit and run bicycle accident is crucial for your recovery, as obtaining specific information is vital for exploring your legal rights. In such incidents, key information, like the identity of the driver and their insurance, is often missing.
Similar to a car accident, your immediate focus should be on safety and checking for injuries, both for yourself and any passengers. Once safety is ensured and medical assistance is provided if necessary, you can proceed with the following steps:
- Contact the police – Call the local law enforcement authorities to report the hit-and-run incident. It’s important to have an official police report for your case. Provide as much information as you can about the incident.
- Try to remember details – Make an effort to recollect as much information as possible about the other driver and their vehicle. This includes details such as the color, make, and model. If you can manage to capture a photo of their license plate, it can be valuable evidence for identifying them.
- Gather any evidence – Gather photographic and video evidence of the accident scene. Additionally, ask any witnesses for their contact information and inquire if they have any photos or videos related to the incident. This evidence will assist our team in building a comprehensive account of the events.
- Get medical care – Even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious, it’s very important to seek medical attention right away. Some injuries may not be immediately evident but can worsen over time.
- Contact your insurance company – Notify your insurance company if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This coverage can sometimes apply to hit-and-run accidents, even if you were on a bicycle. They can guide you through the claims process.
- Preserve evidence – Keep any evidence related to the accident, such as medical records, police reports, and correspondence with insurance companies. This evidence will be important if you decide to pursue legal action.
- Don’t discuss the case – Avoid discussing the details of the accident or your case on social media or with anyone other than our team. Anything you say could possibly be used against you if you pursue legal action.
The last, and arguably the most crucial step, is to get in touch with our team. We can:
- Clarify the legal process
- Assess your claim
- Discuss the available options for your case
Legal Options After a Northern California Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accident
While you have the same legal rights as any other accident victim in California, a hit-and-run bicycle accident sometimes takes away your main option: filing a claim against the at-fault driver.
Even though identifying the at-fault driver is the most straightforward way to begin the claims process and secure what you’re owed for a hit and run bicycle accident, this can often be a challenging undertaking.
However, our experienced team can play a vital role in this aspect of your claim. With our years of experience and available resources, we can work towards tracking down the responsible drivers and obtaining their insurance information. If this proves unsuccessful, we remain committed to guiding you through the recovery process–even if it means filing a claim with your own insurance carrier.
In a typical hit and run bicycle accident claim, you may be eligible for various damages, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Any permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial costs in the tragic event of a wrongful death, along with other substantial damages.
When you take these damages into account, it makes a hit-and-run accident even more difficult. Not only do you have to deal with your injuries, damage, and emotional turmoil from the accident, you have the added frustration of not being able to hold the responsible party accountable. Dealing with the uncertainties in such situations can be incredibly difficult. However, our dedicated and empathetic team will be there to provide unwavering support if you choose to work with us.
Support After Northern California Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents
Hit and run bicycle accidents in Northern California bring distinct challenges. Victims not only face the physical and emotional toll of injuries but may also rely on their insurance, which often falls short.
Paceline Law offers the experience and proven methods to aid your recovery. We provide the necessary support and compassion during these challenging times. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to get the recovery process started.