The 45 year old Vallejo motorcyclist killed earlier this month on Highway 80 near Hercules has been identified by the Contra Costa County Coroner’s office as Paris Williams. Williams, who was involved in a motorcycle-car collision just east of Willow Avenue, died immediately following his impact with the back of a gray BMW X3. Was Paris killed when he struck the rear of the BMW SUV? The evidence so far says no. Paris actually survived the crash with the BMW.
Although we still don’t know exactly what caused Williams’ initial impact with the BMW X3, the police believe that Williams had initially lost control of his bike after being clipped by another vehicle. This caused Williams to hit the BMW X3 and to fall to the ground. When Williams then tried to get up and walk to safety in the center divider, he was hit by a white SUV which did not stop at the scene, according to investigators. The driver of the X3 did stop, and has been cooperating with investigators.
Authorities are still searching for the white SUV, believed to be a Lexus RX, and are asking more witnesses to come forward as no description of the driver is known at this time.
I think there should be a special place in Hell for hit and run drivers who cause injury or death. It’s one thing to strike a car in a parking lot and drive away without leaving a note, which is bad enough. However, anyone who hits a person and injures them, whether that person is a pedestrian or is riding a bicycle or a motorcycle, or even if that other person is driving a car, the driver at fault needs to stop and to render some kind of aid. If someone involved in a collision with injuries leaves the scene, that person has potentially increased the risk of more severe injury or of death to the other person involved. An injuryHit and Run is a felony, and is absolutely inexcusable. As a personal injury bicycle and automobile accident attorney, I see hit and runs far too often, and I hope that anyone with information on this accident comes forward immediately. If you can provide any information to the authorities, please contact the Contra Costa CHP office at 925.646.4980.
So, how can I help the Williams family or at least provide my readers with some useful take-away from this post? Many people understand that if they are hit by an uninsured driver, the Uninsured provisions of the victim’s own policy will cover their loss up to the UM limits of the policy. Please know also that the Uninsured provisions in your own policy also cover you for hit and run, provided a police report is made and there is actual contact with a motor vehicle. Later, if you find the offending driver, you can always change the claim to their policy, but if you do not find the person at fault, and there has been actual contact and you do have a police report, your own insurance company should step into the shoes of the offending driver. For the Williams family above, if Mr. Williams had a motorcycle liability policy with Uninsured Motorist Coverage, then his family should be compensated up to the limits of Mr. Williams’ own policy. They should immediately contact a motorcycle accident attorney who knows how to present the Uninsured claim, and who will be able to help this family navigate the path to the greatest recovery.
Claude A. Wyle is a partner of Choulos Choulos, and Wyle, a San Francisco based law firm dedicated to representing clients who have been injured by the wrongful conduct of individuals, corporations, public entities, and businesses. Mr. Wyle also frequently sits as a Judge Pro Tem for the city and county of San Francisco.