When riders suffer injury in motorcycle hit and run accidents, they are often in a difficult situation because Washington State law does not require riders to have insurance. Therefore, many motorcyclists do not carry this financial protection that would typically provide compensation for a hit and run accident.
However, even if you do not have insurance, you do have options to recover your damages. First, you need to know exactly what to do after a hit and run to preserve those options.
First Steps after a Motorcycle Hit and Run
The first thing you need to do after an accident is collect as much evidence as possible while you wait for emergency responders. If you can catch any information about the vehicle or the driver (e.g., license plate, car make/model/color, direction the driver was heading, etc.), make sure you take note of it to use in the investigation. If there are any bystanders, ask them to stay as witnesses and provide any information they can to police.
Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, it is safest to schedule a checkup as soon as possible. Some injuries like muscle sprains and strains can take a few days to fully manifest. An exam right after the accident can make an account of your current state, and then later exams can show any damage that occurred after your body has had time to respond to the trauma.
Once you are on the road to recovery from your injuries, it is time to start thinking about pursuing compensation.
Pursuing Compensation for a Hit and Run Accident with Motorcycle Insurance
You would think by taking the safe route and purchasing insurance anyway, you have done everything you need to do to cover yourself in a motorcycle accident, right? Unfortunately, no.
Just having basic motorcycle insurance is not enough to cover a hit and run accident. You must have special optional coverage known as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This special coverage pays for accidents caused by hit and run drivers because the lack of a driver is the same as if a driver had no insurance.
If you opted for a personal injury protection (PIP) policy, this coverage would compensate you for injuries you sustained in the accident. If you purchased collision coverage, that will help you pay for the damage to your motorcycle.
Other Ways to Collect Compensation for a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
When you do not have motorcycle insurance to cover your injuries, you might have other types of insurance upon which you can rely. Your health insurance should cover some expenses related to your medical bills for the accident. If you suffered dismemberment, your life insurance policy might have a fixed benefit for death and dismemberment.
Once you have exhausted all other insurance options, you might be able to file a claim with the Washington State Crime Victims Compensation (CVC) program.
The CVC is a fund designed to provide benefits to victims of violent crimes. Under RWC § 46.52.020 failing to remain at the scene of an accident is a gross misdemeanor and therefore falls under the CVC program. To qualify for these benefits, you must:
- Incur bodily damage or severe emotional stress from the hit and run.
- File a report with the police within one year of the hit and run.
- Cooperate with the police in investigating the hit and run and prosecuting the driver, if police find the driver.
- Apply for your benefits within two years of the crime report.
The CVC can provide compensation for:
- Medical or dental costs
- Lost wages
- Necessary medications
- Mental health counseling
- Grief counseling
- Funeral costs
Note that you are ineligible for the CVC program if your hit and run occurred while you were attempting to or actively committing a felony, or your actions provoked the hit and run driver. You also cannot apply for these benefits if you were convicted of certain felonies within the five years before the accident.
Protect Your Rights to Recovery after a Hit and Run on a Motorcycle
Navigating the paperwork and applications necessary to obtain compensation from insurance policies and the CVC is no simple task.
For help navigating your legal rights to compensation after a hit and run while on your motorcycle, contact Max Meyers Law to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation: 425-399-7000.