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Hit-and-Runs and Motorcyclists: What Should Victims Do?

Many motorcyclists speak passionately about the joy of riding. There is a sense of exhilaration associated with the feel of the wind and the closeness to nature that cannot be experienced in a car. Motorcycle riders cite freedom, speed, stress release, fun, and improved mental and physical health as some of the reasons they ride.

But motorcycle riders also know there is often increased danger associated with riding. When everyone follows the rules of the road, these dangers can be reduced. When people do not drive reasonably, on the other hand, the resulting accidents can cause serious personal injury and death to motorcycle riders.

Unfortunately, some people who cause crashes seek to avoid their responsibilities by leaving the scene of the accident. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the steps a motorcycle rider should take who is the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

Motorcycle Riders Face Great Perils

In August 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued key findings concerning motorcycles. According to NHTSA, 5,172 motorcyclists died in 2017, which represented a 3 percent decrease from the prior year. When measured by miles driven, motorcyclists died in traffic crashes 27 times more frequently than car occupants.

But those numbers only speak to deaths. What about those who survive motorcycle accidents but still suffer personal injury? According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 8,715,204 registered motorcycles in the United States in 2017, and riders suffered approximately 89,000 personal injuries.

Because these statistics represent the entire country, it’s reasonable to wonder where Oregon stands. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), 2018 was Oregon’s deadliest year for motorcycle fatalities, with 78 deaths. ODOT reports that fatal motorcycle accidents increased a whopping 144 percent from 2013 to 2018.

Steps to Take in the Event of a Hit-and-Run

Hit-and-run accidents involving motorcycles definitely occur in Oregon. Below are some prudent steps to take if you are ever involved in one.

  • Call for medical assistance – If you are injured, call for immediate medical assistance.
  • Identify the offending vehicle – If your physical condition permits you to do so, observe and record anything you can about the vehicle that strikes you or runs you off the road. Of course, you should obtain a tag number if you can. Even if you cannot, note the make, model, and color of the offending vehicle. Observe the driver and note any characteristics that might later assist with identification. Note the direction the car travels and the number of occupants.
  • Call law enforcement – Contact law enforcement immediately and report the accident. Let them know that a hit-and-run is involved and provide a description of the car, driver, and/or the vehicle’s direction of travel. They may have success in locating the vehicle.
  • Investigate the scene – Again, if your health permits, take photographs of the scene, your motorcycle, and your injuries. Look for anything that might help identify the vehicle that fled the accident. Get the names and addresses of any witnesses. Ask if they have information on the vehicle that fled.
  • Follow through with suggested medical treatment – Depending on the types of injuries you receive, a great deal of emergency medical care may be required. Afterward, pursue all recommended follow-up treatment. If long-term critical care is not required, evaluations in an ambulance and emergency room will still likely result in recommendations for follow-up care. Make sure to follow the recommendations. After all, your long-term health is the most important consideration.
  • Contact an attorney – Call an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you deal with insurance companies and maximize your recovery. If you cannot locate the hit-and-run driver, you may have the right to collect under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy. An experienced attorney can assist you.
  • Notify your insurance company – Under the terms of your insurance policy, you must notify your insurer. It’s best if you have your own attorney before giving any statements to anyone.

Call with Questions

Having a motorcycle accident that results in personal injury is bad enough. It only makes matters worse when it involves a hit-and-run driver who will not take responsibility for his or her actions. At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we take pride in helping Oregon personal injury victims hold wrongdoers accountable. We believe it’s an important step in making our roads safer for everyone. Please call us with any questions and we will be happy to answer them.