For the past 10 years, continued increases in the yearly number of hit-and-run cases have been a major concern, especially for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Based on NHTSA records, reports of hit-and-run cases from 2009 to 2011 have risen from 1,274 to 1,449, respectively.
Hit-and-run, also called skipping and fleeing an accident scene, leaving the scene or hit and skip, is a guilty driver’s act of speeding away from the scene of an accident without leaving any clues regarding his or her identification, so as to avoid responsibility over anyone he/she has injured or any property he/she has damaged.
Certain studies show that pedestrian accidents are usually the fault of the pedestrian and not the driver; however, leaving the scene without rendering aid to the injured and not accepting responsibility for the accident will render the fleeing driver guilty of crime, which can be as serious as felony hit-and-run.
In accidents where properties get damaged or individuals are injured or killed, state traffic laws require that the involved drivers stop and exchange identification and contact details (in the event that the accident is fatal then the other driver involved will need to contact authorities and wait for them to arrive at the scene).
Driving away from an accident scene can result in the following legal consequences:
- Suspension or cancellation of driver’s license (the permanent cancellation of license is imposed in some states)
- Imprisonment and costly fines
- Voiding of the offender’s insurance policy (by his or her insurance provider)
Filing a tort lawsuit against the guilty driver (for the purpose of pursuing justice and, possibly, compensation), will definitely be hard due to the lack of identification of the guilty party. Besides, statute of limitation imposed by states in the filing of cases is usually two years (there have been cases, however, wherein the 2-year statute of limitation was overlooked due to the act of the guilty driver in hiding or disposing of any sign of evidence that will trace the accident to him/her).
Seeking the help of highly-skilled hit-and-run accident lawyers will definitely help the victim and his/her family in pursuing the case and fighting for the victim’s rights. Legal assistance can also help the victim seek the compensation needed from his/her insurance provider.