When a driver strikes a motorcyclist, there are almost always injuries involved. State law requires drivers to remain at the scene of an injury accident. Unfortunately, not everyone obeys the law. All too often, drivers leave the scene of an accident and leave riders with no way to pay for serious injuries and property damage. This situation is understandably frustrating and recovering compensation after a motorcycle hit and run may be difficult but you do have options.
How does motorcycle insurance differ from auto insurance in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s auto insurance laws require all motorcyclists to carry motorcycle insurance, which has different requirements than the state’s requirements for passenger cars. Pennsylvania law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection coverage that provides medical benefits for any injuries they suffer in a crash, regardless of who causes the wreck.
However, Pennsylvania law does not offer this type of coverage for motorcyclists. Instead, the law deems them full tort automatically, meaning that they can recover both economic and noneconomic damages without having to meet the serious injury threshold. This also means that they must file a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver in a crash to cover any injuries they suffer.
This is problematic if there is no driver. But there are a few other options.
How can I recover damages after a PA motorcycle hit and run?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
We recommend all motorists — including motorcyclists — carry uninsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance allows you to recover compensation if the driver has no insurance or if the driver fled the scene.
If you have this type of coverage (this type of coverage is optional, you must make sure you have this coverage prior to your accident), you can file a claim with your insurance company, provide some documentation of your injuries as evidence, and collect compensation up to the limits of your policy.
Even though you would think that because you are dealing with your own insurer, it is going to be looking out for you. Not true. Your insurer is a business and will act as such; it will do what it can to get out of offering you the compensation you need and deserve. Do not sign anything without running it by us first.
If you do not carry uninsured motorist coverage, your next best option is to work with your health insurance company to file claims for any medical treatment you receive. Some health insurance companies will cover motorcycle hit and run injuries, but others may not.
It is a good idea to call a knowledgeable lawyer if you find yourself in this predicament. Having a skillful lawyer on your side is the best thing you can do to obtain the compensation you need. Depending on the facts of your case, you may also have other options for getting the money you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Claim Against the Driver
Of course, the best option to recover full compensation is to file against the at-fault driver. To do so, of course you need to find the driver. To help the police find the driver, try to remember anything you can about the car — color, make, model, license plate number, etc.
If officers can find the at-fault driver, you can recover compensation for:
• Medical bills
• Lost wages
• Lost earning capacity
• Pain and suffering
• Mental anguish
• Property damages
• Punitive damages (these might be available as the motorist acted with a wanton disregard for your safety)
How can a lawyer help me after a motorcycle hit and run in PA or NJ?
A lawyer will assess the facts of your case, examine your insurance policies, and evaluate your legal options. The insurance claims process is complicated regardless of whether you are dealing with your own insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurer. A lawyer will make sure that you do not do anything that could jeopardize your claim and lower your compensation award.
If you suffered injuries in a Pennsylvania hit and run motorcycle accident, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you determine your best option for compensation based on the facts of your case. Call our Bucks County office at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your legal options.