Many people who have been involved in motorcycle accident often see the other person flee right after the crash. It can be a truck driver, motorcyclist, car driver, or someone in another vehicle but chances are the other party will try and take off before everything has been resolved. What do you do next? Can you still hold them responsible? Here are some answers to these important questions and other, related issues.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT?
There is some variation across states related to what exactly you should do following a motorcycle accident. However, there are some common things you can take away from all the various sets of laws. Typically, you will have affirmative obligations and this list touches on some of them:
- Pull over to the side of the road when and where it is safe and ensure that you do not obstruct traffic.
- Locate all the people involved in the motorcycle accident and get their personal, vehicle, employment, and similar information.
- Call 911 and help, if possible, help everyone involved in the motorcycle accident get to safety.
- Contact the police and other government agents as needed because they will need to gather evidence and file various reports.
- Leave your information in an obvious place at the scene of the motorcycle accident if everyone else leaves the scene.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT?
Often called a “hit and run,” states in American generally have a legally recognized term for fleeing the scene of an accident-motorcycle or otherwise. Now, there is some various in its description and punishment within disparate jurisdictions; however, at the very least most states call it at least a misdemeanor and possibly even a felony. Obviously, the specific turn of events of each motorcycle accident will guide as to which class of penalty is chosen. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and apply to more reckless acts of abandonment such as when the victim was seriously injured and unable to get help on his or her own. With respect to the actual punishment, most states across the country require the defendant to pay a fine and even do some jail time. The financial penalty can cost as much as a couple thousand dollars. The jail time can be as much as a few years. Also, the courts can always use some mix of the two. As mentioned before, the amount and extent of both relies on the facts and circumstances of the particular incident. Yet, judges are normally afforded great leeway in setting the punishment and can even require the offenders to complete the following:
- Volunteer work.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT?
It is important to remember that there punishments beyond criminal penalties that a person can suffer if he or she leaves the scene of a motorcycle accident. First, and maybe most importantly, this can open up the person to civil lawsuit liability. Of course, the risk of litigation probably arose because of the accident itself but fleeing after can raise the amount of damages that the plaintiff can obtain in court. Someone that flees can also have their license taken away in addition to other state-based benefits or privileges. Finally, this would probably have an effect on one’s insurance availability and rates.
WHAT CAN I DO IF SOMEONE FLED THE SCENE OF MY BIKE ACCIDENT?
You need to realize all of the resources available to you if someone else improperly leaves the scene of a motorcycle accident. There are civil and criminal institutions you can rely on in the face of that person’s departure. Yet, one powerful and overlooked item is uninsured motorist coverage. Many policies cover situations like this, hit-and-run accidents, and you should check to ensure that yours does too. Often, uninsured motorist policies will compensate you for the following expenses and losses:
- Property damage.
- Medical bills.
- Lost income/wages.
- Pain and suffering.
Naturally, if you need to recover for damages like those listed above, then you have to file a proper claim with the right insurance company.
WHAT ARE ILLINOIS LAWS REGARDING HIT AND RUN SITUATIONS?
Illinois laws set out various punishments for hit-and-run situations. They typically are distinguishable by the kind of damage or injury involved in the accident. Here is a basic overview of the penalties:
- For hit and run situations in bike accidents where there is property damage, there is a $2,500 fine and up to 1 year in prison. It is considered a misdemeanor.
- For hit and run situations in bike accidents where there are personal injuries, there is a $25,000 fine and up to 3 years in prison. It is considered a felony.
For hit and run situations in bike accidents where there is a death, there is a $25,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. It is considered a felony.