Last night, a man was struck and killed by someone driving a blue Lincoln MKS. The pedestrian died at the scene, but the driver of the Lincoln appeared to limp away from the crash, according to Fox 32. As of yet, the identity of the victim is unknown, though police say the driver who hit him fled on foot and “was wearing a black and blue jacket with reflective letter.”
When we talk about hit and run accidents, we assume the standpoint that the driver “runs” away in his car. In this case, the driver literally ran away, which leaves us hopeful that he will be brought to justice. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and loved ones.
Deadly hit and run accidents are increasing in number
A quick scan online shows multiple fatal hit and run accidents, often in the Southside area of Chicago, over the past few months. Sadly, Chicago’s record of hit and runs tracks with a nationwide increase in fatal hit and run accidents. StreetsBlogUSA, using data from Outside Magazine’s 2020 Cycling Deaths project, reported “that more than a quarter (26.3 percent) of drivers who killed a cyclist last year fled the scene of the crime,” and believes that this data shows that “2020 may be among the worst years on record when it comes to dangerous drivers leaving their victims to die.”
In 2018, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that deadly hit and run crashes were increasing across the country: “There were an estimated 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in 2015 (NHTSA, 2016). This translates to a hit-and-run crash happening somewhere in the U.S. every 43 seconds. The 2,049 fatalities that resulted from hit-and-run crashes in 2016 were the highest number ever recorded (NHTSA, 2017).”
Why are there so many hit and run accidents?
It is easy to write off hit and runs as tragic events of circumstance: there are a lot of people on the road, and a lot of people on the streets, especially in a busy city like Chicago. But there are other factors at play. In 2020, research published in the journal Procedia Engineering looked at hit and run crash data supplied by police in Cook County, and identified six specific “improper driving behaviors” that are often investigated as a root cause for hit and runs. Those behaviors included:
- Disregarded road marking;
- Distracted by phone;
- Distracted by passenger;
Distracted by outside of vehicle (people, place or things of interest alongside the road);
- followed too close to the leading vehicle; and
- Improper overtaking/passing.
These behaviors – along with factors like time of day, type of road, presences of street signs vs. streetlights, etc. – allowed the researchers to develop a comprehensive understanding of what could lead to hit and runs, though they acknowledged that “occurrences of hit-and-run crashes could vary under different traffic and law-enforcing environments.” In other words, more research needs to be done, but the primary causes of hit and runs appeared to be failure to obey the rules of the road and distracted driving.
What happens if I’m hurt by a hit and run driver?
When you are injured in a car crash caused by someone else, we make a claim against the other driver’s car insurance to secure compensation for your injuries. In a hit and run accident, however, that may not be possible if the driver is never located. In this scenario, you can make a claim against your own insurance provided you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You should be able to use your MedPay coverage for your medical bills. In the event that your insurer tries to lowball or deny your claim, we have other options you can pursue to get you the compensation you need.
If the driver is caught, then we would proceed with a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If a loved one dies as a result of a hit and run, we can file a wrongful death lawsuit instead. Because the other driver fled the scene, you may even be entitled to punitive damages, which can be substantial.
In the end, though, the most important thing is that injury victims get the immediate medical attention they need. Once that is accomplished, our Chicago car accident attorneys can help you being the process of pursuing damages for your losses.
At Gainsberg Law, we believe that you deserve justice when a driver hits you and then flees the scene. Our Chicago hit-and-run attorneys can explain all of your options. Please call 312.600.9585 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation about your case.