Many pedestrians and bicyclists are injured in hit and run accidents in the Bay Area each year. For example, this week, a man was critically injured by a hit and run driver while walking in a crosswalk at Lombard and Steiner Streets in the Marina District of San Francisco. Most people think that, if the driver or owner of the car at fault is not identified or found, there is no source of insurance compensation for their injuries other than their own medical insurance. However, this is not the case where the pedestrian or bicyclist has uninsured motorist coverage under an auto insurance policy. Yes, that’s right, uninsured motorist coverage (which includes UNDERinsured motorist coverage) covers you as a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorist, sitting in a lawn chair, jumping on a pogo stick, whatever, if you are injured by a motorist.
As a lawyer who represents injured pedestrians and injured bicyclists throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, I lecture and write on this topic in an effort to spread the word, not only to benefit those who have already been injured, but also to encourage people to increase their uninsured motorist coverage in case they or a family member are ever in such an accident. I explain how it all works in an article I have written on the subject. I encourage all to re-examine their auto or motorcycle insurance coverage in this light, and am happy to answer (free of charge) questions you may have.
It is important to keep in mind that most Uninsured Motorist Insurance polices have strict accident reporting requirements. Typically, one involved in such accident must report it to the police within 24 hours (call the police from the scene and file a written report) and report it to their insurance company within 30 days (I recommend reporting to the insurance company IMMEDIATELY). Failure to do any of the above may result in the denial of your claim. Also, you will need to provide your insurance company with evidence of the collision, so do not repair your own vehicle until your insurance company has been given an opportunity to inspect it. Also, provide as much information as you can regarding the offending vehicle as well as the contact info for any witnesses. Look around for video surveillance cameras which may have captured the incident. Call an attorney for advice ASAP.
Update: On 9/3/14, a 20-year-old bicyclist was injured by a it and run driver at Oak and Stanyan Streets in SF near Golden Gate Park.
Update: A bicyclist was killed by a hit and run driver on June 17, 2013 in San Jose. The bicyclist, 55-year-old Glenn Arnold Earnest, was hit from behind along the Taylor Street over-crossing of Highway 87. Although the police have a general description of the vehicle, as of 6/26/13 the driver had yet to be identified.
Update: A 63-year-old pedestrian was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver in Gilroy on 6/21/13, and as of 6/26/13 the identity of the driver remains unknown.
Update: The entire Bay Area saw a marked increase in hit and run accidents in the last half of 2013 causing death and serious injuries to bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. In many of these cases the identity of the offending motorist has not been determined, further underscoring the need for everyone to carry high limits of uninsured motorist coverage.
Update: Police arrested a man in a hit and run accident seriously injuring a pedestrian on January 17, 2014 at the intersection of Trousdale and Martinez drives.
Update: A man was very seriously injured on February 5, 2014 by a hit-and-run driver at Van Ness and Grove in San Francisco.
Update: On 2/16/14, a male pedestrian was killed by a hit-and-run driver near The Woods Drive and Snell Avenue in San Jose.
Update: On 5/6/14, a pedestrian and car occupant were injured in San Francisco’s Marina District when the driver of a stolen car crashed into them and a building and then fled on foot.
Update: On 10/19/14, a hit-and-run driver injured two pedestrians, a 50-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman, at Turk and Mason Streets in San Francisco.