As reported by ABC News and other news media, three bicyclists and two cars, one parked, were struck by a Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV being wildly and recklessly driven by an unidentified hit-and-run driver. The collisions occurred on 4/2/15 in San Francisco, first on Fell Street (car rear-ended) and then three bicyclists were hit on Scott Street while the SUV was driving on the wrong side of the road. One of the bicyclists is reported to be in critical condition. The SUV has since been found but the driver not yet publicly identified.
As a lawyer who specializes in the representation of injured bicyclists, I have written extensively in the past on the fact that bicyclists and pedestrians can recover compensation for their injuries (or death) even if both the driver and the motor vehicle that caused the injuries were never identified. If the hit-and-run driver is identified, the injured bicyclists can also recover punitive damages based on the driver’s felony hit-and-run violations. However, punitive damages are not payable by the driver’s or car owner’s auto insurance, but rather from the driver’s personal assets. And, of course, the bicyclists can recover from the driver’s and car owner’s auto insurance for all of their compensatory damages, including economic, bodily, and psychological injuries. If there is inadequate insurance available, injured parties may also receive some compensation from the public Victims Compensation Fund as well as restitution paid by the driver as part of the criminal proceedings.
Update 4/29/15: The driver, Bianca Lopez of Fremont, age 25, has been arrested and charged with felony hit and run.