Quite frankly, the statistics are shocking. New research performed by the AAA Foundation for Public Safety shows that more than one hit-and-run accident occurs on the country’s roadways every single minute. On average, there are more than 680,000 hit-and-run crashes each year. These accidents often result in serious injuries and, sadly, many deaths. According to the research, hit-and-run crashes were responsible for nearly 2,049 deaths in 2016. This number of deaths due to hit and runs is the highest ever recorded.
Further data from AAA shows that:
- Pedestrians and bicyclists were the most often killed in hit and runs—they accounted for 65 percent of the deaths.
- Hit-and-run deaths have increased more than 7 percent every year since 2009.
- New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of hit-and-run fatalities per capita.
Fleeing Is Wrong and Illegal
Fleeing from an accident, especially when someone has been injured, is not only morally wrong, it is illegal in every state in the country. If someone is injured, it is a driver’s responsibility to call 911 for emergency responders.
In New York State, it is the legal duty of drivers involved in crashes to stay on the scene, provide contact and insurance information to others involved and notify police. Leaving an accident if there is damage or injuries can result in jail time and fines.
What to Do if You Are a Victim
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, don’t wait to report it to the police. By reporting it, depending upon how much information you have about the driver that hit you, that driver may be caught and held responsible for their actions. And having the accident documented in a police report will help you in a possible compensation claim against the other driver if you suffered an injury or property damage.
Here are some other important “do’s” if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident:
- Do report the accident to your insurance provider.
- Do seek medical attention right away. Even if you feel fine, injuries can show up later. Should you bring a lawsuit, your doctor reports will be important evidence.
- Do consider hiring an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve if you were injured or had property damage. It is also important to not accept any insurance settlements until you have spoken with an attorney. New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that the injured party receives compensation based on how much responsibility they had for causing the accident. Typically, if someone has hit and run, they are 100 percent responsible. However, as an example, if a pedestrian negligently stepped out into the road in front of an oncoming car that had no way of stopping and the pedestrian was hit, even if the driver fled, the driver’s insurance adjustor or attorney may try to argue that the pedestrian shares some of the blame. This is why having an experienced attorney on your side is important.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run or other car accident and need the services of an experienced attorney, the professionals at Kaplan Lawyers PC are available for you to contact 24/7.