Hit & Run Accidents
A "Hit & Run" accident happens when a driver flees the scene of an accident. These "Hit & Run" accidents can happen in many ways. For instance, a car may leave the accident scene after hitting another car. As well, a car or other vehicle may flee the accident scene after hitting a person, whether that person is walking, riding a bicycle, or riding a motorcycle.
While there are many reasons a driver may elect to leave the accident scene, two prominent reasons are that the driver is impaired, or for some other reason the driver does not want to take responsibility if the accident was their fault.
A driver may be impaired either because of alcohol consumption and/or because of drug use. If the driver hits another vehicle or pedestrian, the driver may seek to avoid being blamed for the accident. Some of these impaired drivers will elect to leave the accident scene so that they aren't blamed for the accident due to their impairment.
As well, a driver may be driving in an irresponsible or reckless manner prior to crashing. In these instances, the driver may wish to flee the accident scene due to his or her obvious fault. For instance, the driver may be driving at excessive speed before the crash. Driving at excessive speed is often a cause of crashing due to loss of vehicle control.
Other "Hit & Run" accidents involve a driver who for another reason seeks to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. For instance, the driver may be driving a stolen vehicle, or may for another reason may want to avoid contact with police.
In Illinois - as well as every other state - it is illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee the accident scene.
Statistics indicate that, on a national scale, "Hit & Run" victims were often bicyclists and pedestrians. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety noted, in an April 2018 report, that "nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists."
Other factors may contribute to the increasing number of drivers who choose to leave the accident scene. For instance, the increase in distracted driving has been a major contributor to all crashes. As well, if a driver thinks that fleeing the accident scene can be done with little risk of penalty, the driver may be more inclined to flee.
One example of a Chicago "Hit & Run" accident is described in the "Pedestrian Struck While Walking In Brighton Park Crosswalk" post of December 30, 2019. As seen in that post, a man was struck by a vehicle as the man attempted to cross the street in a crosswalk. The vehicle then left the accident scene. The accident victim was identified as a 73-year-old man. The man suffered various serious injuries, including head injuries. Among the head injuries was a fractured skull.
Another Chicago-area "Hit & Run" crash resulted in a fatality. In that December 4, 2019 Orland Park accident, two women were struck from behind by a vehicle that then left the accident scene. That fatal Orland Park crash is discussed in the December 6, 2019 "Fatal “Hit & Run” Accident In Orland Park" post.
As illustrated by the two accidents above, as well as many others, serious accident injuries often occur before the driver leaves the accident scene. As mentioned above, most victims of "Hit & Run" drivers are bicyclists or pedestrians. When someone is hit by a vehicle when they are walking or bicycling, a wide range of injuries can result. As well, these injuries can be of varying degrees of severity. It is common for such walkers or bikers who are hit to be seriously injured. Among the most frequent injuries are bruises, bone fractures, and harm to the legs and arms. In some cases there are injuries to the chest and other thoracic region trauma as well soft-tissue damages. Head injuries are among the most serious injuries that occur when a person is hit by a vehicle.
If you are the victim of a "Hit & Run" accident, please contact our office so we can help you determine if you can get injury compensation. As we work entirely on a "contingency" basis, there is never a charge for our services unless and until we secure you a monetary award.