Motorcycle Hit-and-Run Crashes - Who Pays the Bill?

February 17, 2017 | Category: Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury

“February is Hit-and-Run Awareness Month. Motorcycle accidents involving cars and trucks are usually more serious than other types of crashes,” according to Fort Myers Motorcycle Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey. “The motorcyclist can be killed, suffer brain damage, spinal cord damage, dismemberment and other life-altering conditions. When the accident involving the motorcyclist is a hit-and-run accident, being compensated for damages may be complicated.” 

Motorcycle Hit-and-Run Crashes - Who Pays the Bill? The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that from year to year, Florida hit-and-run crashes for all accidents remain steady with 25 percent of all crashes being hit-and-run. Preliminary data for 2016 shows there were 99,004 hit-and-run crashes resulting in 179 fatalities and 1,291 injuries. Countywide the preliminary 2016 statistics, including motorcycle accidents, for our three-county area are:

  

County

Number of Crashes

Serious Bodily Injury

 Fatalities

Charlotte

556

4

3

Collier

1,076

9

2

Lee

2,710

33

6

 

An example of a hit-and-run motorcycle accident happening in Florida in 2016 is an accident reported by WFTV9 in Orlando in which a 29-year-old man lost his life in December 2016 in what troopers said was a hit-and-run crash.  A witness identified the hit-and-run driver and described how she pulled into the path of the motorcyclist while turning left from Econlockhatchee Trail onto Millinockett Lane just before 7 p.m. The driver fled the scene, said the report, because she was driving without a license, and she was scared. Troopers were able to locate the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle by matching red paint from the motorcycle to her car, investigators said. She was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving injury or death. 

Why would someone flee the scene of an accident? 

Deadly Roads – Why Drivers Run says that either the driver is hiding something or has something to protect, usually themselves. 

They may be: 

  • Driving impaired (drinking, drugs), drowsy, distracted
  • Unlicensed driver or car, suspended or revoked license (repeat offender), or uninsured
  • Self preservation (secret to keep, status to protect, scared), stolen vehicle, street racing
  • Aggressive driving (road rage), amorality
  • Age (youthful immaturity) 

Who pays for hit-and-run damage and medical bills? 

According to the Insurance Research Council, a driver has a 1 in 4 chance of encountering an uninsured motorist in Florida where roughly 24 percent of motorists are uninsured. 

Payment for hit-and-run claims usually comes through the victim’s own insurance. In most states, the coverage in question is uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage, which essentially act as the at-fault (in this case, hit-and-run) driver's liability coverage. 

Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) is additional insurance coverage available for purchase as part of the vehicle policy. UM covers medical, lost wages, and pain and suffering after personal insurance protection has been exhausted and when the other driver was at-fault and has been determined to have no, or not enough, insurance. 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can also be used to pay for bodily injury expenses if the driver is the victim of a hit-and-run accident. 

Stiff penalties in Florida for hit and run 

According to Florida Statute 316.06, leaving the scene of a “hit-and-run” that results in death is a felony of the first degree punishable by a minimum 4-year prison term.  Leaving the scene with serious bodily injuries is a second-degree felony and doing so, leaving any injury, is a felony of the third degree. 

What is being done to prevent hit-and-run accidents? 

The FLHSMV recognizes February 15-19, 2017 as Hit-and-Run Awareness Week and has launched its “Stay at the Scene” campaign in an effort to highlight the impact of leaving the scene of a crash and reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida. 

What to do if involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident? 

If involved in a hit-and-run accident, please try to do the following: 

  • Record the license plate number.
  • Get a description of the other vehicle, including make, model, color and approximate year, if possible.
  • Get names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Contact the police and report this information as soon as possible.
  • Be ready to also report your location and the direction in which the hit-and-run driver was traveling. 

“Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. has been representing vehicle accident victims against negligent drivers for many years. If you are injured in an accident involving a hit-and-run and/or uninsured or underinsured driver, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver, and if successful, you may be able to recover some compensation,” says Attorney Spivey. 

 

 

Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.

 

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