Hit and run accidents involving pedestrians are a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. These accidents occur when a driver involved in a collision with a pedestrian flees the scene without stopping to provide assistance or exchange information. According to statistics, hit and run accidents involving pedestrians are on the rise, posing a significant threat to public safety.
In the United States, hit and run accidents account for a significant portion of all traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 2,000 fatal hit and run accidents in 2019, with pedestrians accounting for a large percentage of the victims. These accidents not only result in physical injuries but also emotional trauma for the victims and their families.
Under the law, hit and run is defined as leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to provide assistance or exchanging information with the other party involved. The specific elements of a hit and run offense may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally, it involves the following:
1. Involvement in an accident: The driver must be involved in a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property.
2. Failure to stop: The driver must fail to stop at the scene of the accident.
3. Failure to provide information: The driver must fail to provide their name, contact information, and insurance details to the other party involved in the accident.
Hit and run accidents are considered serious offenses and can result in criminal charges. The specific charges and penalties may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the accident. In general, hit and run offenses can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies.
Misdemeanor hit and run offenses typically involve accidents with minor injuries or property damage. The penalties for misdemeanor hit and run can include fines, probation, community service, and a suspension of the driver’s license. In some cases, the driver may also be required to attend traffic school or defensive driving courses.
Felony hit and run offenses typically involve accidents with serious injuries or fatalities. The penalties for felony hit and run can include significant fines, imprisonment, and a revocation of the driver’s license. The driver may also be required to pay restitution to the victims or their families.
In addition to facing criminal charges, drivers involved in hit and run accidents can also be held civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused. Civil liability refers to the legal responsibility of a person to compensate the victim for their losses.
In hit and run cases, the injured pedestrian or their family can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. If the driver is identified, their insurance company may also be held liable for the damages.
However, in cases where the driver cannot be identified or does not have insurance, the victim may still be able to seek compensation through their own insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage can provide financial protection for hit and run accidents where the driver is unknown or uninsured.
Reporting hit and run accidents ensures that the victim receives the necessary medical attention and support. In many cases, injuries sustained in hit and run accidents may not be immediately apparent, and delayed treatment can worsen the condition. By reporting the accident, the victim can receive timely medical care and document their injuries for legal purposes.
Additionally, reporting hit and run accidents helps to raise awareness about the issue and encourages others to come forward with information. This can lead to a higher likelihood of identifying the responsible party and holding them accountable for their actions.
To report a hit and run accident, individuals should contact the local law enforcement agency or emergency services immediately. They should provide as much information as possible, including a description of the vehicle, license plate number (if available), and any other relevant details.
Witnesses play a big role in hit and run cases. Their testimony and observations can provide valuable information that can help law enforcement authorities identify the responsible party and build a strong case against them.
In hit and run cases, witnesses can provide details about the accident, such as the make and model of the vehicle involved, the license plate number, and the direction in which the vehicle fled. They can also provide descriptions of the driver, if possible.
Witnesses can also help in hit and run investigations by providing statements and testifying in court. Their testimony can corroborate the victim’s account of the accident and strengthen the case against the responsible party.
Hit and run accidents can have significant implications for insurance coverage. In most cases, insurance policies require drivers to report any accidents they are involved in, regardless of fault. However, hit and run accidents present a unique challenge because the responsible party is unknown.
If you are involved in a hit and run accident as a pedestrian, you may be able to seek compensation through your own insurance policy. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or medical payments coverage can help cover your medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it can also provide financial protection in hit and run accidents where the responsible party is unknown or uninsured. This coverage can help compensate you for your injuries and damages.
Review your insurance policy and understand the coverage options available to you. Contact your insurance provider to report the hit and run accident and initiate the claims process. They can guide you through the necessary steps and help you understand your rights and options.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident as a pedestrian, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Reach out to our office today with your hit and run accident case at 505-404-9640