Visitor Question

Struck from behind while riding my bike…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Palmdale, CA)

I was riding my bike with traffic where the sidewalk ended along the shoulder (literally rubbing the curb) when a vehicle traveling under the speed limit (55mph) for some reason swerved and struck me from behind. After getting safely off the road, I was transported by ambulance to the emergency room where I was admitted, and emergency surgery was performed for a perforated bowel (hole in my intestines).

I was in the Intensive Care Unit for 3 days and hospitalized 10 more days. I was unable to see the car or plate and am lucky to be alive. What rights do I have as a victim? Do I have any recourse for being hurt and traumatized from the whole experience? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

To have any chance of securing compensation from the driver, or the driver’s insurance company, you or the police must locate the driver. Hopefully the police will have already started an investigation into the accident.

Under the California Vehicle Code §20003, drivers who are involved in accidents involving personal injuries must stop at the scene of the accident and exchange contact and insurance information. Drivers involved in the accident must also render reasonable assistance to the injured. Failure to abide by §20003 is a felony, punishable by incarceration in one of California’s state prisons.

California Vehicle Code §20003 (a) reads in part

“… (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall also give his or her name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and shall give the information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.

The driver also shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting, or making arrangements for transporting, any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if that transportation is requested by any injured person.”

Contact the police department and obtain a copy of the police accident report. Because it’s apparent a felony took place, ask to speak with the investigating officers. It is likely when they locate the driver, her or she may be arrested. At that time you may one able to obtain the driver’s insurance information.

In the event the driver is located and is found not to have been insured at the time of the accident, speak with the assistant prosecuting attorney assigned to the case. Ask the prosecutor to make as a condition of probation (if probation is offered) that the driver must make restitution as a condition of probation.

If the judge agrees, the driver may be ordered to make monthly payments to you until such time as your medical bills and resulting costs are paid in full. The driver’s failure to make the monthly payments may result in a violation of his or her probation and remanded to prison to complete the remainder of the prison sentence.

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

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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