Dealing with a Wisconsin motorcycle collision is challenging enough, but it's an outrage when the incident is a hit-and-run accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-runs are a significant portion of all vehicle collisions; a survey a decade ago estimated that 3.8 percent of all fatal motor accidents were caused by drivers who did not stop. Informal reports from large metropolitan areas suggest that the rate of hit-and-run incidents has been increasing steadily since 2003.
Your initial response to a hit-and-run accident involving your motorcycle will be much the same as you would act following any accident:
- Call for medical help if you or anyone else has been injured. If you cannot make a telephone call, ask a bystander to do so for you.
- Call for police. You will want to make a complete police report to expedite the process of finding the person who hit you. Any information you can provide the police to identify the car will be helpful.
- The make, model, and color of the car
- The car's direction of travel
- A description, if possible, of the driver
- A partial license plate number
- Contact your insurance agent. Do this at your earliest convenience. Often, hit-and-run drivers have no insurance coverage, or inadequate insurance. Depending on your own insurance coverage and the state in which your policy was issued, you may be eligible for compensation from your own insurer if the hit-and-run driver cannot be found or cannot pay for the damage he caused.
- If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. Use your cell phone, if necessary. Get a picture of your motorcycle and the damage it sustained. Pictures will help your insurance adjuster — and your motorcycle collision lawyer, if you hire one — better assess the property damage and personal injuries that occurred during the collision. Get a picture of your motorcycle and the damage it sustained.
Wisconsin hit-and-run laws are harsh
Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin code (subchapter XI) was amended in 2003 to significantly strengthen the laws against hit-and-run drivers. The law now imposes the following obligations on a driver who hits a person or a vehicle carrying a person:
- Immediately stop at the scene or as close as possible.
- Give name, address and the registration number of the vehicle to all other parties.
- Give operator’s license to other parties if requested.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured.
Criminal charges can be brought against a hit-and-run driver, in addition to civil personal injury lawsuits. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident, even if nobody was injured, the penalty can range up to $1,000 in misdemeanor fines and up to six months in jail. If any injury occurred, the fine can be up to $10,000 and a prison term of 42 months. Penalties are even more severe if serious or fatal injuries resulted.
Obtaining further legal advice
If you have more questions about dealing with the aftermath of a Wisconsin hit-and-run accident, contact an Appleton motorcycle accident lawyer at the Hupy and Abraham law firm. Our staff and attorneys are committed to getting the best compensation available for our clients, whether from the legally liable driver or the insurance company. You can reach us locally at 920-882-8382 (or toll-free at 800-800-5678) to schedule a free consultation and get your FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.