Hit-and-run car accidents in Chicago are more common than you probably think.
In fact, the number of hit-and-run accidents is on the rise across the country, leading to new legislation in some states. Sadly, most hit and run crashes involve bicyclists and pedestrians, who are vulnerable to injury and fatality when struck by a motor vehicle. Chicago Hit-and-Run accident lawyer has some interesting facts to share.
The staggering Hit & Run statistics
In Chicago, between 2005 and 2014, two out of every five pedestrian fatalities were a result of hit-and-run accidents. Although this is not the highest rate in the nation, it is higher than that of many cities, including New York City. Moreover, according to Illinois Department of Transportation crash data, nearly two percent of fatal bike crashes were hit-and-run crashes. In 2015, fifty three bike fatalities were reported by the Chicago Police department, and of these, fifteen were hit-and-run accidents.
Why you should never leave the scene of accident
Any accident that involves injury or fatality is tragic, but the situation becomes even more complicated when a driver flees the scene of the accident. It difficult for the victims to get timely medical care, and take proper legal action.
Most drivers who leave the scene of accident think that this will prevent them from being charged with the crime. Some drivers who are under influence, have suspended licenses, outstanding warrants, or are living in the country illegally, flee the crash scene hoping that they can get away. However, in most cases, the driver is tracked down with the help of witnesses and traffic cams.
Illinois law on Hit-and-Run Accidents
Leaving the crash scene is against Illinois law, and those who do it face liability claims and criminal charges. A driver involved in an accident that results in injury or fatality is required to stop the vehicle, and remain on the accident scene until authorities allow them to leave. Under Illinois law, leaving the accident scene where injury or death has occurred is considered a felony. If the accident just involved property damage, the driver still may be charged with a misdemeanor.
A hit-and-run accident that results in significant property damage is considered a Class 4 Felony, resulting in a fine of up to $25,000 and a possible jail time of 3 years. However, when someone is injured, it is considered a Class 2 Felony, which can lead to a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. In case the accident results in death, it becomes a Class 1 Felony, can lead to a jail time of 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000. Hit and run cases may also involve additional charges, such as DUI charges.
Seeking compensation for hit-and-run accidents can be particularly difficult because there are obvious complications involved in tracking down the at-fault driver. It’s important that you consult a competent Chicago Hit & Run Accident Lawyer, who can help recover appropriate damages.