On New Year's Day, a woman standing on the sidewalk in a park was struck by an SUV when its driver failed to execute a turn properly. In fact, the driving conduct was so bad the SUV actually overturned and landed on its roof. The woman suffered substantial injuries and, despite life-saving efforts, she died from her injuries.
In Washington D.C., the law requires drivers involved in pedestrian accidents to stop at the scene and exchange pertinent information with the injured party, where practicable, or with police. They have a duty to call for help and, if help is unavailable, even transport the injured person to the hospital themselves. In this case, however, none of that happened. Instead, the driver left the scene of the accident without giving any information about his identity, his insurance coverage, or rendering aid to the victim.
Why Do People Leave the Scene of an Accident?
There is no legal reason to leave the scene of an accident. In fact, one can be charged with a crime for leaving the scene. However, in our experience, there are several reasons why people do leave. For example, in this case, where the SUV was abandoned, one might reasonably speculate the car was stolen. By running, they may think they will escape getting caught. (Although with the number of cameras in the area, the odds of that are relatively small.)
Alternatively, the driver may have been drunk or high. Even if it is their car, they may think they can buy a couple of hours to sober up before speaking with the police. In some cases, drivers report panicking and leaving the scene without really giving thought to their actions. Finally, as in the case of the wife of former football great Joe Sensor, Amy Sensor stated she didn't know she had hit a person.
Financial Recovery in Hit and Run Cases
When a person is injured through no fault of their own, they should not have to bear the brunt of the costs. These costs can include:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency Room care
- Ongoing medical treatment in or out of the hospital
- Physical Therapy
- Prescription costs
- And, in the case of a fatality, funeral expenses.
Additional compensation for lost wages, lost overtime, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium may also be available to an injured party.
What If I Don't Know Who Hit Me?
In a hit and run case, the identity of the driver may be a mystery at first. However, there are many ways a resourceful investigator may be able to discover the driver's identity. Thus, the driver can be held accountable. However, even if the driver is never identified, there are ways to recover financial resources. This is why it is a good idea to contact an attorney experienced in personal injury cases and hit and run cases.
The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC limit their practice to personal injury cases such as hit and run cases, as well as personal injury by medical malpractice. We have specialists available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your family is suffering because of a hit and run driver, contact our office for a free consultation at 800.529.6162