I was in a hit and run accident on my motorcycle. What do I do next?
When you are injured in a hit and run accident in Tampa, there are a few top priorities to keep in mind. They are, in order of importance:
- Get to a safe location
- Notify the police
- Seek medical attention
- Recall every bit of information you can about the driver and the vehicle, and record it
- Work with an experienced hit and run lawyer in Tampa to seek compensation
In cases where you are able to successfully identify and locate the driver who hit you, there is a chance you could be able to pursue a liability claim against the culprit. A successful claim allows you to obtain money for your injury treatment costs as well as other losses. For example, an insurance settlement can also provide you with money for repairing/replacing your motorcycle and compensating you for missed work income.
Unfortunately, finding the culprit of a hit and run is often difficult. The culprit may also not have bodily injury liability insurance, especially in the state of Florida, where it is not required. In these cases, you can work with an attorney to identify other possible at-fault parties. Examples include defective motorcycle equipment manufacturers or a public agency that failed to maintain the highway. Seeking money from a victims’ compensation fund may also be possible.
Notify the Police of You’ve Been Involved in a Hit and Run
Seeking medical attention for your injuries is a top priority, but you must begin the process of reporting your injury, preferably close to the location where it happened.
Hit and run accidents not only require a crash report to be filed, like most other collisions, but the act of fleeing the scene of a collision is also illegal, meaning there is a literal crime that needs to be reported (see Florida Statutes 316.061).
Before calling 911, ensure you are in a safe place several yards off of the main roadway. If you are seriously injured, try to move as little as possible before sitting or lying in a comfortable position with your head elevated. Put pressure on any wounds that are actively bleeding by wrapping them with a clean cloth or a strip of clothing.
When calling 911, report your location and that you have been in an accident. If you are on a highway with few landmarks, try to name signage around you or the nearest exits.
Seek Prompt Medical Attention
When calling 911 to report your hit and run accident, request an ambulance if you have any sort of injury, however minor. Adrenaline and confusion can make injuries seem less painful and serious than they are in the first hours after an accident.
Get a full medical evaluation as soon as you can. Go to the emergency room if you have even a moderate injury. For minor injuries — or if you are unsure if you are hurt — go to your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic.
It’s important to seek medical attention for two main reasons:
- You want to start treating your injuries as soon as possible to increase your chances of optimal recovery. You may also be hurt more than you realize, and ignoring it can lead to complications.
- It is absolutely critical to get a record of your injuries and connect them with your accident. Waiting too long can allow insurers or other parties to question whether your injuries occurred during the accident.
Know that it is extremely likely that you will have at least some injuries. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle occupants are 4 times more likely to be injured in a collision than an occupant in a passenger vehicle.
Recall Everything You Can, and Write It Down or Record It
One of the key factors in a hit and run investigation is how much information police have to go on. People who are hit may not have gotten a good look at the vehicle, and they may be so dazed from the collision that their memory is choppy.
As if that wasn’t disheartening enough, the biggest reason many hit and runs go unsolved is that the victim has to be able to not just identify the vehicle but also the driver. Even if the exact vehicle is located, there must be evidence to establish that a particular person was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.
According to a 2020 report by WTSP, Tampa has seen a growing rash of hit and run incidents in recent years, many of which happen at night. An earlier 2018 report by WFTS ABC Action News revealed that locating the vehicle is difficult, especially once the owner has had the opportunity to repair the damage.
Knowing this, arm your police investigation with as much information as possible. Give every single detail you can recall. Try to separate unclear information from information you are absolutely sure about. And above all else, try to provide any sort of description of the driver. At the very least, attempt to recall any unique factors about the vehicle, such as bumper stickers, accessories, a vanity license plate, or any specialty parts.
Record this information as soon as you are able after the accident. You can provide a written account or make a recorded statement on your smartphone. Revisit this account and add to it as more details and memories surface.
Speak to a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Tampa
When you have been hurt in a hit and run and are scared about your financial future, know that the law can be your most decisive weapon. Not only can an attorney help you contribute as much as possible to a police investigation, but they can help you exercise your legal right to explore possible injury claims.
In some cases where the driver cannot be identified, you will still be able to file under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, certain carriers may consider a hit and run to be a qualifying incident.
There may also be outside third parties responsible in part for your accident and injury costs. If your motorcycle failed to perform as expected, for instance, or another driver was involved in your accident, you may be eligible for a third-party liability claim.
The important thing is to get help from experienced, professional motorcycle accident lawyers in Tampa. Darrigo & Diaz can provide you with legal support in documenting your hit and run accident and with identifying all potentially at-fault parties who could provide you with compensation.
Learn more about your legal rights and options and what steps to take next when you call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case review.