Bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles in California enjoy the same rights and have the same duties when they’re on the road. One of those duties requires the driver of a motor vehicle to immediately stop at the scene of a personal injury accident.
When a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, it’s highly likely that the bike rider will crash. It’s equally as likely that the rider is going to suffer injuries, some of which could result in death. A reasonable driver will stop to inquire whether the bicyclist is injured. If he or she is indeed injured, the bicyclist or motorist should immediately call 911 and ask that both police and paramedics be dispatched to the scene.
However, some heinous drivers will hit a bicyclist and flee the scene. This can leave a severely injured bicyclist to succumb to their injuries. In these tragic circumstances, the families of the victim have some legal options to explore.
Fatal Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents in California
The most recent ascertainable hit-and-run statistics in California are from 2016. AAA found that California ranked 7th nationally in hit-and-runs. On a national basis, 65% of all people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
California Hit and Run Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death case is a civil action for damages suffered by a decedent’s family members. These cases might be filed after the intentional, reckless or negligent act of a person or legal entity causes the death of a loved one.
If a bicyclist or member of their household who is a family member has uninsured/underinsured motorists’ coverage, the financial damage caused by a hit and run accident can be covered under this policy. Those damages would include funeral and burial costs, medical bills, lost earnings and pain and suffering. Any such damages would be payable to the decedent’s family and/or estate.
As per California’s mandatory car insurance statute, uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required in order to be legally on the road. An insurer need only offer it, and if an insurance applicant doesn’t want it, he or she can merely decline the coverage in writing. However, we always recommend purchasing this insurance whenever possible.
Contact a California Hit and Run Attorney Today
Hit and run cases in California are legally complicated, especially when they result in wrongful death. An opposing insurance company will make every attempt at devaluing or even denying an uninsured motorist claim in its entirety, especially when its exposure is significant like in a wrongful death claim.
In these delicate circumstances, it is important to work with an attorney who will help you navigate the complex legal and emotional struggle that accompanies a wrongful death case. Contact our office today for a free consultation. We will make every effort to answer your questions and help you to understand all of your legal options.