Disturbingly, hit and run deaths have been climbing year after year, according to AAA and reported by ABC News. Over 2,000 people are killed in a hit and run collisions annually, with a 62 percent increase in less than the last decade alone. Fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle collision is a crime in Missouri, though that does not stop thousands of drivers from doing just that every month. Characteristics that contribute to hitting and runs include, though are not limited to, the following:
- Intoxicated driver;
- Drowsy driver;
- Much more damage is caused to the other vehicle than the fleeing driver’s vehicle;
- A driver without insurance;
- History of moving violations (the driver does not want more on their record); and
- The victim was a cyclist, pedestrian, or motorcyclist.
Vulnerable Road Users are the Most Likely Victims of Hit and Runs
65 percent of fatal hit and runs are pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, 20 percent of all pedestrian fatalities were caused by hit and run drivers. Because no or very little damage is caused to the driver’s vehicle, and the pedestrians or cyclists involved are unable to pursue the driver due to the severity of their injuries and lack of vehicle, drivers routinely flee the scene after they realize what they have done, believing that they have a good chance at getting away with their crime.
Is Proving Liability Necessary?
Typically, drivers who flee the scene are the ones who caused the collision. It will be very difficult for their insurance company to prove otherwise. Moreover, not only will they will be held liable for civil damages, they will be punished in criminal court as well. Victims can sue for punitive damages, unlike in most civil cases. Punitive damages can amount to a large sum because they are based on the corrupt morality of the crime, as well as what it would take to punish the offender. This may be a few thousand dollars for a low-income offender but could be hundreds of thousands if the offending driver was very wealthy.
What if the Driver is Never Found?
Unfortunately, only half of the hit and run drivers are ever identified, according to Street Blog. If you were hit by a driver who fled the scene, and you were unable to identify the vehicle, no witnesses were able to identify the vehicle, and the police were incapable of tracking down the driver, you can be compensated for your damages via uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. If you have such a policy, an attorney can help you maximize the compensation that your own insurance policy pays out for your pain and suffering, medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.
We Can Help You Recover From a Hit and Run Collision
Fleeing the scene of a crash that the driver caused is a morally depraved act. Because they left you to possibly die, such drivers need to be held accountable financially, as well as criminally. Whether the driver was found or you will be pursuing your uninsured motorist policy, the Kansas City personal injury lawyers at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm can help you today.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.