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What if the other party leaves the scene?

Many victims of bike accidents witness the other party leave the scene.  Whether it is in a truck, car, motorcycle, or other mode of transportation, many people flee the place of the accident for a variety of reasons.  The question that normally arises next is what can the victims do?  The next few paragraphs discuss this and related issues:

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO AFTER A BIKE ACCIDENT?

What if the other party leaves the scene?Though the exact protocol might differ from state to state, nearly all of them require you to do a set of things after a bike accident.  The specific mandates can be found in the laws that govern each state but here are the broad patterns that emerge out of all of them:

  • As soon as it is safely possible, pull over or go to a spot that does not block traffic.
  • Find the parties that were involved in the bike accident and obtain their personal, insurance, contact, vehicle, and related information.
  • Within reason, help and assist all people involved in the bike accident that are in need of it and, if necessary, call 911.
  • Call the cops and other necessary public officials. They will need to create and file an accident report that will be essential to your recovery.
  • If no one else is at the scene of the bike accident, leave your information at an easily identifiable site close to where the incident occurred.

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF A BIKE ACCIDENT?

Many states refer to leaving the scene of a bike accident-or any accident for that matter- as a “hit and run situation.”  Across the country, the states vary greatly in how they define and punish those who prematurely flee bike accidents.  However, in all cases, they are either designated as a felony or as a misdemeanor.  The facts and circumstances of the individual accident will dictate which designation is used.  Felonies are reserved for more serious hit and run situations than misdemeanors.

In terms of the nature and extent of punishment, many states require the defendant to pay a few in the range of a few thousand dollars, go to jail for a few years, or some combination of the two.  The amount of the fine and jail time is largely dependent upon how injured or aggrieved the plaintiff/victim is as well as the ranges that the laws provide for.  However, it is important to note that the judge is often permitted wide discretion to set jail time and fines or dole out punishments including the following:

  • Probation.
  • Restitution.
  • Volunteer work.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF A BIKE ACCIDENT?

While criminal punishment is often the biggest focus in hit and run cases, there are often significant factors to consider.  First of all, this would definitely open up the wrongdoer to personal civil liability.  Therefore, a lawsuit would be expected.  Second, the person’s license could be revoked as well as other state-defined privileges.  Third, the person’s insurance could go up and they could face other, related costs.

WHAT CAN I DO IF SOMEONE FLED THE SCENE OF MY CHICAGO BIKE ACCIDENT?

If someone leaves the scene of the bike accident before they have complied with all of their legal obligations, then you will have the right to use all of the civil and criminal institutions to your advantage to go after them.  However, you also might have a tool in your own pocket that you did not even realize you had: uninsured motorist coverage.  Many uninsured motorist coverage policies cover hit-and-run situations so you should whether or not yours does.  If it does, then it might reimburse for the following things:

  • Property damage.
  • Medical bills.
  • Lost income/wages.
  • Pain and suffering.

Of course, if you want these benefits, then you will need to successfully file a claim with the proper insurance company.

WHAT ARE ILLINOIS LAWS REGARDING HIT AND RUN SITUATIONS?

Illinois law has a few levels of punishment for people who flee bike accidents.  They generally breakdown over whether there was personal or property damage or both.

  • For hit and run situations in bike accidents where there is property damage, there is a $2,500 fine and up to 1 year in prison. It is considered a misdemeanor.
  • For hit and run situations in bike accidents where there are personal injuries, there is a $25,000 fine and up to 3 years in prison. It is considered a felony.

For hit and run situations in bike accidents where there is a death, there is a $25,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.  It is considered a felony.

For more information on questions related to Bicycle Accidents please visit the following pages: