Anyone who has seen a hit-and-run traffic accident probably knows the feeling of anger or, at the very least, outrage at the ease with which some motorists can blithely drive away following a potentially serious automobile crash. While many hit-and-run accidents involve simple property damage, some can and do result in serious and occasionally life-threatening bodily injury. As Maryland personal injury attorneys representing individual victims or their families, we can say that these kinds of roadway accidents can be expensive in both life and limb, as well as financially.
Not only can a hit-and-run driver face certain criminal charges if he or she is found guilty, the victims of such negligent actions can sometimes bring a civil suit against that individual and sue for damages as a result of the crash. These damages can include medical treatment for severe injuries like closed-head trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones and internal injuries; rehabilitation costs for those people who have lost the ability to walk on their own or sustained partial or permanent paralysis; not to mention lost wages due to being out of work for an extended period.
It’s important to remember that some families of victims killed by a hit-and-run driver may also file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party or parties. As is the case, many a hit-and-run accident occurs because the negligent individual may have been drunk behind the wheel of his vehicle at the time of the crash. Also, lack of automobile insurance can also drive a motorist to leave the scene of an accident, without concern for the ultimately more complicated situation that doing so can create.
It can be argued that a percentage of hit-and-run traffic accidents involve a pedestrian or a cyclist. While it is difficult to delve into the individual psychology behind these kinds of accidents, one can imagine that a driver who hits a relatively unprotected person on foot or on a bicycle may fear the ultimate consequences if the victim is killed or seriously injured. While most considerate drivers will typically “own up” to their mistake, others may only see the incident as it affects themselves, and so they flee the scene to avoid consequences. However, local police can usually track down these individuals, meaning those consequences are only increased by potential charges of hit-and-run.
As we mentioned, bicycle riders are often the subject of traffic accidents and a percentage of these cases may also involve the negligent party leaving the scene of the collision. While cyclists have every right to share the road with other motor vehicle traffic, except where prohibited by law, roadway collisions between bike and cars, or cyclists run over by a commercial delivery truck, can be serious enough to leave the victim in serious if not critical condition
Last month, a Maryland teenager was struck by an SUV while riding his bicycle on North Point Blvd. just a little after midnight on a Saturday. According to news reports, 15-year-old Jason Watson was riding with some friends southbound along a stretch of North Point Blvd not far from the Beltway exit. Police reports indicated that the teens were on the side of the road when the sport utility vehicle swerved toward the shoulder and hit young Mr. Watson, knocking off his bicycle and causing serious bodily injury.
Since the driver of the SUV apparently drove away after the collision, credit goes to Watson’s friends for calling for emergency help for their downed buddy. Responding to the scene, EMS crews transported the teen to shock trauma, where he was listed in critical condition. At the time of the news article, Baltimore County police were still looking for the driver of that white SUV; police were asking for any tips from citizens who may have seen the crash or know the whereabouts of the vehicle or its driver.
Hit and run leaves teen severely hurt, ABC2News.com, May 1, 2012