Hit and run accidents are a never ending plague on American roads. Despite stiff criminal penalties, many drivers flee the scene of an accident in the hopes of avoiding responsibility for their actions. If it is only property that is damaged in a crash, the individual might get away with a misdemeanor. However, if an individual is injured in the accident, they will be faced with felony hit and run charges.
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In 2011, there were 1,449 fatal hit and run accidents in the United States. This represented a nearly 14% increase over the previous five years. Alarmed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended state and local police agencies initiate crackdowns to curb the problem.
“The crackdowns worked for a while. More arrests were made, and fewer drivers fled the scene of accidents. However, these efforts didn’t eliminate the issue of hit and run injuries and fatalities. In fact, roughly 1 in 10 accidents is classified as a hit and run. Just this past month, 26-year old Izah Malik was killed when a driver struck her vehicle in Cook County,” lamented Lake County car accident lawyer Bogie Martinovich.
In addition to criminal penalties that may be imposed by the authorities, Malik’s family may have a wrongful death claim. Police are currently investigating the accident to determine the chain of events that led to this young woman’s death.
“Illinois is a fault based state in regard to auto accidents. This means that the driver who causes an accident is responsible. This responsibility extends to the owner of a vehicle even if they are not driving it at the time of the accident. Thus, when the vehicle is located, the owner, the driver, and their insurance companies are liable for damage to property, personal injuries, and any wrongful deaths that the accident caused,” “Additionally there are often claims that can be brought against one’s own insurance company if the car and at fault driver cannot be found ” commented Lake County car accident lawyer Bogie Martinovich.