Accident left biker in critical condition
After a crash that left a 62-year-old motorcyclist critically injured, Seal Beach police are looking for a driver who was seen leaving the area of the accident.
On Sunday, April 24 at 9:37 PM, a Garden Grove man was injured after crashing on Seal Beach Boulevard just before the northbound I-405 on-ramp. A dark-colored pickup truck, which may or may not have been involved in the accident, was seen leaving the area.
Paramedics from the Orange County Fire Authority treated the injured biker at the scene, and he was then transported to the UCI Trauma Center in critical condition.
Unfortunately, injuries of that scale are all too common in motorcycle accidents. Without the enclosed body of a vehicle protecting them, motorcycle riders are some of the most vulnerable people on the road - and because many motorists do not appropriately share the road, crashes are fairly common.
Crash raises legal questions about hit-and-run accidents
In California, leaving the scene of an accident causing injury or death is a crime. That law applies regardless of fault for the accident. California law provides only one exception: it is legal for a driver to leave the scene of an accident in a bona fide emergency to seek necessary medical attention.
However, it is fairly common for motorists to leave the scene for less legitimate reasons. Drunk drivers, for instance, are often at fault in hit-and-run crashes. A motorist may be driving a stolen vehicle, engaged in some other criminal activity or already have a warrant out for his or her arrest at the time of the accident.
When motorcyclists are involved, hit and run also becomes a factor in no-contact accidents. In cases where a larger vehicle forces a motorcycle off the road, the driver may not even know that an accident happened - and thus see no need to stop.
In the case of the Seal Beach accident, it's not even clear whether the pickup truck that left the scene was involved in the accident, let alone whether its driver was at fault. However, motorcyclists who are injured in these types of collisions can face an uphill legal battle.
Usually, accidents caused by hit-and-run drivers are covered under the injured party's uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage when the hit-and-run driver cannot be located. After all, a driver who cannot be found is considered uninsured by default. However, establishing the facts of what happened in the accident can be difficult when one of the drivers leaves the scene.
Even if you're only dealing with your own insurance, filing an uninsured motorist claim after a hit-and-run accident can be very difficult. That's why it's so important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.