Another Hit-and-Run Marks Chicago’s 4th Fatality This Year
On Tuesday, January 10th, a black sedan was traveling westbound in East Garfield Park around 10:45 p.m. when they hit a pedestrian attempting to cross the street. This area of West Lake Street is known for their “L” shaped pillars. However, those famous pillars are also known to cause decreased visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. After striking the victim, the driver of the black sedan fled the scene. The victim was later identified as Anthony Harvey, 33, who lived only a couple miles away from the scene.
This is not the first accident to happen in Chicago, either. Just a week prior, a 79-year-old man was the victim of another attempted hit-and-run after a driver blew through a red light. The driver and several of their passengers all fled on foot but were caught soon after. Crashes involving pedestrians in Chicago are becoming increasingly more common, as proven by Harvey becoming the fourth fatality just a few weeks into the New Year.
Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in Chicago
Our city data makes it easy for us to see how many crimes were committed, what the charges were, and if the victim sustained injuries for almost any date range within the last 10 years. The Chicago Data Portal shows that there were 2,711 vehicle crashes involving pedestrians in 2022—an increase in comparison to the 2,478 in 2021. Plus, those crashes resulted in more than 2,300 injuries in 2022 over the 2,100 injuries in 2021.
If that does not strike a nerve, there have already been 180 pedestrians involved in crashes with 150 of them resulting in injuries so far this year. And February just started! Anthony Harvey marking our city’s fourth pedestrian fatality this year just really hits home how big of a problem this has become.
What to do after a hit-and-run accident in Chicago
While you may think that this would never happen to you because you are always careful, no one can predict the actions of others. It is best to be prepared if you do ever become the victim of a hit and run.
- Call the police - The dispatcher will ask if you are injured or need medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you should still call the police to file a report as well as get necessary medical attention. Police will help document the scene of the crime and gather as much evidence as possible in order to track down the car that fled.
- Document any evidence yourself - The authorities will do this on their end, but you should take pictures of your injuries and the scene of the accident for your own personal records. You can also ask any witnesses for their names and contact information so they can be reached again later to recount what they saw.
- Seek medical attention - Do not refuse medical attention even if you think you are fine. Experienced physicians will document even minor injuries you sustained after getting hit by a vehicle. This will all help your case if you choose to pursue legal action.
- Contact an attorney - After an accident like this on busy Chicago streets, it is important to reach out to an experienced hit-and-run attorney. They will guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your physical and emotional injuries as well as any financial burdens the accident has cost you. It is not an easy case to fight alone, especially if the driver has not been caught.
Drivers can face serious charges for leaving the scene
After an accident, leaving the scene that caused an injury or death is considered to be a felony in the state of Illinois. Since charges for hit-and-runs that only cause property damage are considered misdemeanors, charges for those that result in injury or death are much more extreme.
After an accent that caused injuries
If a driver hits either another car or a pedestrian and flees the scene, then they will face hefty charges. They may potentially receive a penalty like up to a $25,000 fine, revocation of their license, and three to seven years in prison.
After an accident that caused death
If a driver fails to stop after hitting another car or pedestrian and it leads to a fatality, then they will also be facing up to a $25,000 fine, revocation of their license, and one to three years in prison. However, if the driver did not report the accident to police, then that prison time gets bumped up to four to 15 years.
Of course, these penalties can only be charged if the driver is caught. While we always look on the bright side and try to help investigate as much as possible, unfortunately not all negligent drivers are able to be brought to justice.
Pedestrians should be as cautious as possible
Not every hit-and-run accident happens because the pedestrian was being irresponsible. Often, distracted or careless drivers are the ones to blame. However, all pedestrians should stay as vigilant as possible while walking the streets of Chicago to lower any chance of becoming the next victim.
In order to help prevent further accidents, pedestrians should:
- Obey all signs and signals
- Always walk on sidewalks
- Walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks
- Avoid distractions like headphones or cell phones
- Stay aware of nearby cars, bicyclists, and runners
- Wear reflective clothing, especially at night
If you have been injured in a Cook County hit-and-run car accident, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Struggling with painful injuries as a result of an accident in Chicago can be devastating, and you may feel like you have nowhere to turn. But our experienced injury attorneys at Gainsberg Law, P.C. can help. Call our office, or complete our contact form today. Our consultations are always free.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More