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Protecting Your Rights as a Victim of a South Dakota Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports nearly 700,000 hit and run accidents have occurred annually in the U.S. since 2006. That’s more than one hit and run per minute for the past 15 years.

In South Dakota, a driver involved in a crash causing injury or death to anyone is required to stop, report the accident to the police, exchange contact/insurance info with the other driver(s), and assist injured victims if possible. Failure to do so is a Class 6 felony punishable by fines and incarceration. Nonetheless, hit and run accidents continue to occur.

Why Drivers Leave the Scene After a Motorcycle Accident

Hit and run drivers generally leave the scene of an accident because they fear police contact for various reasons:

  • No car insurance
  • No driver’s license/suspended license
  • Stolen vehicle
  • Stolen goods/illegal drugs in the vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol
  • Outstanding warrants/parole violation
  • Commission of a crime

Hit and Run Motorcycle Crash Injuries

The injuries sustained in a hit and run accident are likely to be catastrophic or fatal if the victim happens to be riding a motorcycle, which:

  • Provides the rider no physical protection
  • Is smaller than a car and harder to see
  • Is lighter than other vehicles on the road
  • Is less stable and more easily flipped over than a car is

If you’re fortunate enough to survive a hit and run crash on your motorcycle, you could suffer one or more severe injuries:

  • Cuts/lacerations
  • Scarring/facial disfigurement
  • Road rash
  • Nerve damage
  • Broken, fractured, or crushed bones/joints
  • Concussions or traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal damage
  • Amputations

Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Damages

Under normal circumstances, if your motorcycle accident was caused by someone else, you’d file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your damages:

  • All medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

If you’re the victim of a hit and run, though, you don’t know who the at-fault driver or the responsible insurance company is. Your situation is similar to that of a motorist injured by an uninsured driver. In such a case, unless or until the at-fault driver is apprehended, you might be able to seek compensation from your own auto insurance company through one or more of the following:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Uninsured motorist coverage (UM)
  • Collision coverage

It’s important to remember, however, that your own insurance company could very well become your adversary under these circumstances. Like every other insurance company, it’s in business to stay profitable and earn money for its shareholders. It does so by paying out as little as possible in accident claims.

The Importance of Having an Attorney After a Motorcycle Accident

Any one of the motorcycle crash injuries listed above can result in astronomical medical expenses, a prolonged recovery period, months or even years of lost wages, long-term disability, and/or excruciating pain and suffering—all of which can cost your insurance company a great deal of money. Its adjusters and attorneys are well trained and well paid to dispute, devalue, and deny as many expensive claims as possible. They’re likely to:

  • Contact you before you’re fully recovered, when you’re still upset and/or on medication
  • Offer you a quick, low settlement before you really know how much medical care you’re going to need in the future
  • Pressure you to accept the settlement before you’ve consulted an attorney

They know you’re unlikely to sue them without legal representation because you’d be no match for them in court. If you’re still recovering from severe injuries, they’re not going to take you seriously. If, however, you do have a lawyer, your insurance company’s representatives are apt to show you more respect. They know your attorney will:

  • Present evidence convincingly
  • Put a monetary value on your pain and suffering to evaluate your claim
  • Investigate your accident to show you were not at fault
  • Overcome biker bias on the part of the insurance company or the court
  • File a suit and take your case to court if necessary

Are You the Victim in a South Dakota Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident? Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you seek fair compensation for damages. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 605-644-5003 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.