Can I get money if I was injured in a motorcycle accident by a Hit and Run Driver?
Yes. When a car hits your motorcycle and keeps going, you can still receive compensation for your injuries, even if you don’t know who hit you. Uninsured claims can usually be resolved in months rather than years.
When the identity of the car is unknown, you have a different type of claim called an uninsured claim. Uninsured claims in New York have a different set of rules and very short time deadlines. It’s best not to speak with your insurance company because, with a hit-and-run accident, your insurance company becomes an adversary instead of being on your side.
New York requires your motorcycle insurance policy to have uninsured coverage that will reimburse you for injuries caused by:
- a hit-and-run driver
- a car that was uninsured
- a stolen car, and other accidents where you cannot get money from the car which caused your accident.
How much money can I get in a Hit & Run accident?
You can get up to the limit of your uninsured coverage. For instance, if you have $300,000 uninsured coverage, you can not get more than $300,000. In most motorcycle accidents, we would be able to get you the maximum coverage amount.
Uninsured coverage is required under New York State law. Your motorcycle insurance policy must have a minimum coverage of $25,000. Hopefully, you purchased additional uninsured coverage, which is available with most insurance companies for up to $250,000; $300,000; $500,000, and much more with some other insurance companies. I have $1,000,000 uninsured coverage on my insurance policy. We will immediately find out how much uninsured coverage you have.
Should I report a Hit & Run accident to my insurance company?
A hit-and-run accident should be reported to your insurance company, but a motorcycle attorney in New York should do it for you because your insurance claim rep will try to get you to make a statement they can use to deny your claim. If you retain us as your motorcycle lawyers, we will report the hit-and-run accident for you.
Time deadline to report a Hit & Run accident to your insurance company
In New York State, a hit & run accident must be reported within 90 days of the date of your motorcycle accident or as soon as reasonably practicable.
A written claim letter should be filed by certified mail return receipt requested. If a hit-and-run accident is reported after 90 days of the date of your motorcycle accident, your claim will likely be denied.
Why you should not report a Hit & Run accident to your insurance company yourself
When you call your insurance company to report your motorcycle accident, you will speak with an insurance claims representative who will use a question guideline to ask you questions. The insurance claim rep has been trained to obtain answers which can be used to deny your claim.
One of the things your insurance company will look at is how you described your accident. The insurance claim rep will try to get you to say you were cut off by a car.
They will ask you if a car cut off your motorcycle, and they will try to gather evidence to show there was no contact between you and the car or truck. Just because you were cut off, that doesn’t mean there was no contact between the other vehicle and either your motorcycle or you.
It’s best to call an experienced motorcycle lawyer in New York before calling your insurance company. Call us before you speak with your insurance company. If you already spoke to your insurance company, don’t speak with them again.
What if a hit-and-run car cut off my motorcycle?
When a car cuts off your motorcycle, it can happen in different ways. To find out more about this, see our page about when a car cuts off your motorcycle.
Sometimes, a car cuts off your motorcycle and stops, but when there was no contact, the police will frequently let the driver go without taking the driver’s information.
If you have the plate number of the car, you still have a case against the driver.
If you don’t have the plate number, but if the car hit your motorcycle or your hand hit the car, the accident is the same as a hit-and-run.
The law requires contact in a hit-and-run accident, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get money for you.
We’re experienced with Hit and Run claims where there is no evidence of contact and have won these cases for our clients even when other lawyers did not want the case. If another attorney said you don’t have a case, call us now! Call 7 days / 7 nights 1-800-487-8911
A Police Officer Testified That the Motorcycle Accident Wasn’t a Hit-and-Run
We represented a motorcyclist who was on a curved exit ramp when her motorcycle went into a guard rail. She told us her motorcycle was hit in the rear. But the police officer wrote on the police accident report that she lost control of her motorcycle on sand and struck a guard rail. The police officer also wrote there was no indication of any other vehicle involved.
Nationwide Insurance refused to pay her claim and filed a petition in New York Supreme Court in Suffolk County requesting an order to permanently stop us from continuing with our claim at arbitration.
We opposed the petition and won the right to have a hearing in Supreme Court to determine if there was contact between the motorcyclist and another vehicle.
At the hearing, the insurance company had the police officer testify that the motorcyclist told him she lost control of her motorcycle on sand and gravel. We showed that the police officer didn’t like motorcyclists and that he screwed up his investigation of the accident. The judge ruled in our favor stating that he did not believe the police officer’s testimony. Nationwide was forced to pay the entire insurance policy to our client.
We also have many other uninsured claims where there was no evidence of contact or a hit-and-run accident, and we were successful in preventing the insurance company from being entitled to a hearing to determine contact, which means that the insurance company lost before they even got started.
A Tiny Streak of Paint on the Motorcycle Exhaust Proved a Hit-And-Run
In the image below, the only evidence of contact with another car that struck a motorcycle in this hit-and-run accident was a tiny streak of blue paint on the motorcycle exhaust. This was enough to successfully make a claim against the motorcyclist’s $300,000 uninsured insurance policy.
Even if you have already spoken with your insurance company, call us. Your insurance company will also look for information from many other sources that they can use to deny your claim. For instance, this information can come from hospital records, doctor records, MV-104, and other sources. We know how to combat evidence against you.
Your insurance company may require you to testify at an Examination Under Oath, at which you should absolutely be represented by a lawyer. Your testimony will be compared with the statement you gave by telephone and the statements you gave to the hospital and other doctors. Take a look at how we prepare you for your testimony.
We advise that you do not give any statements to your insurance company on the phone or written reports to your insurance company until you speak with us. However, don’t worry if you already did.
What Is Required to Make a Claim for a Hit & Run Accident?
- If possible, ask the driver to stay at the accident scene.
- Call the police immediately, within 24 hours of the accident, or at least within a reasonable period of time.
- Take steps to ascertain the identity of the driver of the car (your motorcycle lawyer will do that).
- Provide proper notice of the underinsured claim to the insurance company. You should not do this yourself (your motorcycle lawyer will file your underinsured claim)
How soon do you have to file a police report for a Hit & Run Accident?
ASAP. Just call 911 from the accident scene. If you didn’t, do it immediately!
In a hit-and-run accident, the accident must have been reported to the police within 24 hours of the accident or as soon as reasonably practicable. It’s always best to call the police from the accident scene. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, you may find out later that you have a serious injury.
In the case of Empire Mut. Ins. Co. v. Samya, 99 A.D.2d 973 (N.Y. App. Div. 1984), 472 N.Y.S.2d 666, the insurance company claimed the person who made the uninsured claim for a hit-and-run accident in Brooklyn had filed the police report too late. He was in the hospital for 5 days after the accident. Two days after leaving the hospital, he filed a police report. The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department wrote, “In view of the seemingly legitimate hospitalization, the report was made within a reasonable time.”
How do you file a police report when you didn’t call 911 from the accident scene?
In New York, if the police were not called to an accident scene, they will not take a police report later.
When the police will not take a police report, you can file an MV-104 form which is a driver’s accident report. See how to fill out and file an MV-104 in New York. If you were injured, you should not file an MV-104 yourself. Call a motorcycle lawyer to file an MV-104 for you.
Make sure to write in the description on the report where the car made contact with your motorcycle or your body. For instance, the car hit my front fender, the car sideswiped me, or my hand hit the car as I tried to push off the side of the car.
The day before writing this, we received a call from someone who reported the claim himself but didn’t properly give notice of the underinsured claim to the insurance company. It was now too late, and he lost his right to file a claim.
What if the Hit & Run driver left the car and fled on foot?
Another type of hit-and-run accident is where the car is left at the scene of an accident, and the driver flees on foot. An uninsured claim for injuries should also be filed for this type of accident.
If the driver flees the accident scene on foot, it’s because the car was inoperable after the accident, and likely one of the following reasons:
- The car was stolen.
- The driver was drunk or on drugs.
- The driver had a suspended or revoked license.
- The driver had an outstanding warrant for arrest.
An uninsured claim for injuries should be filed within 90 days of the date of your motorcycle accident or as soon as reasonably practicable. If you already waited too long, it may still be possible to file a claim. If you haven’t called us immediately after your accident, please don’t delay even one more day. Call us now, 7 days / 7 nights at 1-800-487-8911
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Motorcycle Attorney Phil Franckel talks about how motorcycle accidents are different
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles and content on this website, one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.
Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is a motorcycle accident lawyer and one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.