Bicyclists are at a high risk of suffering severe injuries when they’re in a collision with a motor vehicle. There’s frighteningly little protection for them. If a motorist who hits and injures a bicyclist drives away, and there aren’t any eyewitnesses, the vehicle will probably be gone before the bicyclist comes to his or her senses. That’s exactly what happened to a 47-year-old man a few days ago who was cycling on North Limestone between Templeton Street and Constitution Street at about 2:00 a.m. here in Lexington. He was found in the road and transported by paramedics to the University of Kentucky Hospital where he later died. Unfortunately, there were no witnesses to the crash, and there appears to be little or no evidence at the scene. Police are continuing their homicide investigation.
Why Drivers Flee the Scene
Most drivers respond appropriately at the scene of a crash and remain on site. Here are some common reasons why some drivers don’t:
- They’re drunk, drugged or both.
- They didn’t have a valid driver’s license.
- The driver had no insurance.
- The driver knew that he or she had outstanding warrants.
- The driver was fleeing from another accident or crime.
If the Driver Can’t Be Identified
The bicyclist’s estate must exercise due diligence in trying to ascertain the identity of the hit-and-run driver. If the driver can’t be identified, and the bicyclist was an insured person under a policy of uninsured motorist insurance, his estate might try to seek compensation for his death through that insurance company. Don’t think that the estate is going to be in good hands though. The fact that premiums were timely paid over a period of years doesn’t mean that the insurer is on decedent’s side. It’s now his estate’s opponent, and it will use every tactic legally possible to devalue or even deny the claim. It’s objective is to keep premium money, and invest it to make even more money. If it’s going to pay out on a claim, it will try to pay as little as possible.
If the Driver is Found
Assuming the hit-and-run driver is identified, located and placed under arrest, a claim can be brought by the cyclist’s estate against him or her. If the driver’s policy limits are insufficient, an underinsured motorist claim can be made with any uninsured motorist insurance that the decedent might have been an insured person under.
What To Do After a Bicycle Hit-And-Run
If you’re lucky enough to live through a bicycle hit-and-run, you’ll want to make sure that the crash is reported to the police. You’ll want police dispatched to the scene along with paramedics. The officer will conduct an investigation and write a report of the crash. The paramedics can treat you at the scene and transport you to an emergency room. Don’t fail to contact the police. It’s unlikely that your uninsured motorist insurer will give your claim any consideration at all without a police report.
Preservation of Evidence
For purposes of overcoming any defenses that your insurer might raise, you’ll want to preserve all evidence in connection with your case. That includes the bicycle itself, torn or bloody clothing, any photos of the bike before the crash, photos of your injuries and the location of the crash. Save each and every medical bill that you receive. If you have health insurance, submit copies of your bills for payment rather than the originals. Your insurer can verify them with the providers.
Contact a Lexington KY Bicycle Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a hit-and-run bicycle accident, or if you lost a family member in one anywhere in or around Lexington, contact us as soon as possible, and we can arrange for a free consultation and case review. There’s no obligation whatsoever.