Car hit bicyclist and left the scene?

by Nikki
(Charleston, SC)

I was hit by a car while on my bicycle at a corner. The light changed red for the opposing cars and I proceeded to go, but the driver hit my front tire and I fell off the bike. She did not stop at the time, but returned approximately 30 minutes later.

I had already been taken by ambulance to the hospital when she returned. Is the amount of personal injury settlement influenced by the fact that this woman did not stop immediately and left me lying in the street? How does the fact that she left the scene affect the case? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Car hit bicyclist and left the scene?":

Nikki (Charleston, SC):

It is fair to say the woman's disappearance will have no influence on the amount of your settlement. What matters is culpability. If it turns out the driver was negligent, then your damages will be compensated by the driver’s insurance company.

Damages can include your medical and/or therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, costs of travel to and from treatment, etc.), lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

There is an upside to the matter. In the event there is controversy over liability, and the driver’s insurance company is considering denying the claim, they may think twice about doing so.

That’s because if the driver’s insurance company is considering allowing the claim to go to trial, they will have to realize if the driver takes the witness stand, the jury will probably hear she fled from the scene of the accident. That fact may influence them in your favor.

While the jury will likely be instructed by the judge not to consider evidence of the woman’s leaving the scene, as such evidence would have nothing to do with the actual crash, and would therefore be irrelevant, the facts will come out anyway.

Juries do not like to hear such things, but once the question is asked by your attorney, even if the driver’s attorney objects on grounds of relevance, it will be too late. The jury would have already heard the damning evidence.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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