Hit-and-run accidents frequently involve pedestrians

Florida pedestrians may want to take extra caution when crossing the street. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hit-and-run accidents have become more common in the last few years, and well over half of these accidents that lead to a fatality involve a pedestrian victim. Additionally, one out of every five drivers leave the scene of pedestrian accidents.

Part of why many legislators are so concerned about the rising rate of pedestrian hit-and-run accidents is because at the same time they are increasing, the overall number of traffic fatalities is dropping. From 2009 to 2011, the number of traffic accidents that lead to a death dropped by 4.5 percent, but hit-and-run accidents rose by nearly 14 percent in the same time frame.

In an effort to reduce the number of  pedestrian hit-and-runs, a number of states are increasing penalties for leaving the scene of an accident. Florida had almost 70,000 hit-and-run accidents in 2012 alone, and three out of five fatal accidents of this type involved a pedestrian being struck according to the State Patrol. Legislators are considering a bill that would mandate jail time for anyone convicted of leaving the scene. The base penalty would be a three-year sentence, a five-year sentence if there were severe injuries and a 10-year sentence if someone died.

The damage done by a car accident involving two vehicles can be immense, but those involving a pedestrian are often even worse for the person who was struck. Even if someone survives the accident, permanent disability may be a consequence. An individual who has been hit by another driver could have legal recourse and may be owed compensation for medical bills and lost wages. A motor vehicle accident attorney may be able to help someone in this scenario secure compensation.

Source: USA Today, “Fatal hit-and-run crashes on rise in U.S.“, Larry Copeland, November 10, 2013

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