Driver hit me while riding my bike, then left the scene?
(Fresno, CA, USA)
I was riding my bike and was crossing the street when the driver who was stopped at the stop sign (who I thought saw me) punched on the gas and hit me. I flew onto the hood from the impact, and then was thrown into the middle of a two lane road. The driver paused for 2 seconds and then sped off!
He hit me straight on and his front license plate fell off from the impact to the bike. Two weeks later the detectives told me they located the driver and he admitted to hitting me, but claims it's my fault, that I came out of nowhere? I don't even think he's being cited. Is that possible?
At the time of the accident witnesses gave statements and EMS came out. I didn't have any visible injuries so I was released to go home, which was only a couple blocks away.
For a whole week I couldn't sleep, and of course I was sore with pain and limping from the accident. I finally decided to go see the doctor. X-rays showed I have dislocations and a combination of shoulder, leg, hip, neck and spinal cord injury.
So now I'm seeing a chiropractor 3-4 times a week. What can I expect from the driver's insurance company? If he claims it wasn't his fault, why leave and not come to my aid? Also, shouldn't he be arrested for the hit and run? This is all very confusing to me.
Any perspective you can give would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Driver hit me while riding my bike, then left the scene?":
Chris (Fresno, CA, USA):
From the facts you present, the driver should have been arrested. According to the State of California’s Penal Code, Sections 20003 and 20004 (b)...
(1) a person who is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident where a person has been injured, is subject to up to a $1000.00 fine. For cases involving serious bodily injury or death, the penalty is up to four (4) years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
The civil side of an injury claim is not dependent upon a criminal conviction. However, if the driver’s insurance company decides you were wholly at fault, or contributed to your own injuries, the compensation they will be required to pay you will be reduced accordingly.
You suffered serious injuries. While minor injury claims such as sprained tendons, muscles and ligaments, and minor bruising and abrasions, can be handled without an attorney, more serious injury claims like yours require legal counsel.
This is especially true when the at-fault driver’s insurance company claims the victim contributed to his or her own injuries.
At a minimum, the driver’s insurance company should pay all your medical and chiropractic bills, out of pocket expenses (for medications, crutches, costs of transportation to and from treatment, etc.), your lost wages, and an additional amount for your pain and suffering.
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,
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