How to Tackle Your California Bicycle Accident When the Driver Who Hit You Also Fled the Scene
Any time you're harmed due to the negligence of someone else on the road, there is stress. That stress, for many people, is amplified several times over when the person responsible was a hit-and-run driver. Fortunately, there are legal options to protect injured people, included people injured by hit-and-run drivers. With the aid of a knowledgeable San Mateo bicycle accident lawyer, you can still begin pursuing the compensation you deserve, even if you don't know the identity of the person who hit you.
R.H. was a Bay Area person whose life was prematurely ended in a hit-and-run accident
in Hayward last month, the Mercury News
reported. A little after 9:00 pm, an unknown driver struck R.H.'s bicycle and then fled the scene. By the time emergency responders got the bicyclist to a nearby hospital, he was dead.
The road where the bicyclist died was a four-lane divided thoroughfare with bicycle lanes in each direction. The only separation between the vehicle lanes and the bicycle lane is the paint on the road.
There are a few very vital things to know about a case like this. One is that you only have a limited time to bring a lawsuit based on the harm that this accident caused. For wrongful death actions and survival actions, that period is two years. Depending on the specifics of your family's case, you may not be entitled to an extension of that deadline even if the at-fault party was a hit-and-run driver who was never apprehended.
Therefore, if you are approaching the expiration of that two-year period, it may be in your interest to go ahead and file your lawsuit. You can include the hit-and-run driver, identifying that person as defendant "John Doe." If you have reason to believe that more than one person was culpable (such as a circumstance where the owner of the vehicle and the driver were two different people,) you can sue multiple "John Doe" defendants, identifying them as John Doe #1, John Doe #2, and so on.
Your experienced legal team can be integral in navigating this process of complying with the statute of limitations, and with the inclusion of John Doe defendants in your complaint.
The Hit-and-Run Driver May Not Be the Only One Who Is Liable to You
Another area where a knowledgeable legal advocate can be critical is the pre-trial investigation process. It may turn out that, after a careful and in-depth investigation, the hit-and-run driver was potentially not the only one to blame. The blog Streetsblog SF published a post that opined that the City of Hayward's bicycle lane design was "a deadly street design that facilitated" R.H.'s fatal crash. That allegedly deadly design was, according to the writer, not to build a protected bicycle lane but instead to paint a stripe down the road.
If R.H.'s family could prove that the failure to erect a protected bike lane constituted a dangerously defective design that was the result of negligent construction, installation, or maintenance, then the family could potentially win a claim against the entity (such as the city) responsible for that stretch of road.
Whether or not your injury accident involved a hit-and-run driver, it has probably left you with numerous questions. For knowledgeable answers to those questions, get in touch with the experienced San Mateo bicycle accident
attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to give your cause the legal representation needed for success. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.