Hit & Run: A Troubling Plague is Many Major Cities in the US
At about 7 PM of November 17, 2012, a Saturday, Miguel Mendez, an 18-year-old special needs student in Watts, was struck by a hit-and-run driver in a late-model, green Chrysler Town & Country minivan while he was crossing Broadway Avenue in Los Angeles. The unidentified driver failed to stop to render aid, which is required by law, leaving Mendez to die at the scene.
In 2010, hit-and-run accidents killed 147 individuals and injured another 19,009 in the state of California alone. Nationwide, record of fatal hit-and-run crashes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed 1,393 incidences.
Since 2005 there has been a continuous rise in the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes, majority of the victims being pedestrians and cyclists. Incidents wherein drivers leave their injured victims to just bleed or die after hitting them have increased in many major cities, making this type of accident a disturbing plague.
Hit-and-run, also called hit and skip or fleeing from/leaving the scene of an accident, is commonly defined as the act of leaving/fleeing from a scene of an accident to evade responsibility over anyone who may have been injured in such accident. Just about any car accident lawyer would say that under the law, it is the legal duty of drivers, especially the one liable for the accident, to stop and provide assistance to whoever has been injured or has lost consciousness. The conscious driver, if he or she can, is also required to contact traffic authorities and wait for them to arrive at the scene. If both drivers are unhurt, then the law requires them to exchange information, providing each other with their respective identification, insurance provider and contact details, while for accidents occurring in parking lots, the liable driver who damages the vehicle of another should leave a written notification of his/her identity and contact details if the owner of the vehicle that he or she has damaged is nowhere in sight.
For victims of hit-and-run, financial support is very important. They can file a claim with their state’s Office of Victim Services or Victims Compensation Services, or with their accident insurance provider, if they have one.