Hit-and-Run Crash in Riviera Beach Seriously Injures Pedestrian
Authorities quickly tracked down a driver who fled the scene after striking a pedestrian who was trying to cross the street. But what happens if police do not catch the bad guy?
This time, onlookers flagged down responding officers and directed them to the responsible driver, who was a short distance away. Few other details were available, except that emergency responders rushed the seriously-injured pedestrian to a nearby hospital.
Speed is usually the most important factor in pedestrian injuries. At impact speeds under 20mph, the pedestrian death rate is only about 5 percent. At impact speeds of greater than 40mph, the fatality rate is a staggering 85 percent.
Most pedestrian accidents are high speed wrecks. Generally, these collisions occur outside marked crosswalks and on major streets with high speed limits. Some of the serious injuries in these cases include:
- Head Injuries: Pedestrians have no crash helmets, airbags, or seat belts to protect their heads. Therefore, when they hit their heads on the ground, the damage is often extensive. Head injuries are treatable, but they are not curable.
- Broken Bones: These same forces often shatter bones instead of merely breaking them. As a result, doctors must use metal pins or screws to set the shattered bones. Then, the victims must undergo long-term physical therapy to regain lost functions.
- Exsanguination: Blood loss is usually the official cause of death in these situations. Since many pedestrian accidents occur on semi-rural roads, victims often bleed profusely before help arrives.
In serious injury cases, medical bills often exceed $100,000. A Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney usually arranges for providers to defer billing until the case is resolved. In other words, victims pay nothing upfront for top-quality, injury-related medical care.
Because damages in pedestrian accidents are often so high, many insurance company lawyers try their best to reduce or deny compensation. Frequently, these efforts involve the sudden emergency defense. This legal loophole excuses negligent conduct if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):
- Reasonably reacted to
- A sudden emergency.
Neither of these elements usually applies to hit-and-run pedestrian accidents. Fleeing the scene of a crash is clearly not a reasonable reaction. Furthermore, a jaywalking pedestrian is usually not a “sudden emergency.” These events are limited to hood fly-ups, lightning strikes, and other completely unexpected situations.
Tracking Down Hit-and-Run Drivers
Unless the tortfeasor was apprehended at or near the scene, or voluntarily surrenders later, police officers rarely close these cases. Frankly, even if the victim was seriously injured, police officers often quit. They frequently see car accidents as civil disputes which do not merit law enforcement attention.
An attorney, often working in partnership with a private investigator, knows how to track down tortfeasors. Some common tactics include:
- Additional Witness Statements: For various reasons, many witnesses do not loiter at accident scenes so they can talk to police officers. Attorneys know how to locate these individuals.
- Video Evidence: Cameras of one kind or another cover almost every intersection in the Treasure Coast. Even if the camera was several blocks away from the accident scene, the footage could still be very valuable in court.
The low burden of proof often comes into play here. Victim/plaintiffs must only prove facts by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, a little evidence goes a long way.
Contact a Tenacious Lawyer
Car wrecks often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.