There were 19 pedestrian fatalities in DeKalb County in 2012, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, and 16 fatalities in Fulton, the two counties in which Atlanta is located. Many others were injured in pedestrian accidents.
It’s absolutely mandatory to stop if you’ve been involved in a traffic accident whether it involved only vehicles or involved a pedestrian. Fleeing the scene is a crime, and there are stiff penalties for it. However, despite the tough laws against hit and run drivers, many still choose to leave. USA Today even calls hit and runs “a troubling plague.”
Read on for more information about hit and run pedestrian accidents and what options you might have if you were hit by a driver who fled the scene.
Risk Factors for Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide insight into the primary risk factors in pedestrian traffic accidents.
- Age: Older adults and children may be slightly more susceptible to injury and death in these accidents. Those 65 years and older accounted for almost 20 percent of pedestrian deaths, and over 20 percent of the kids who died in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all pedestrian traffic accidents. Intoxication of pedestrians and/or drivers may be to blame.
- Time of day: The highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities occurs at night; 8 p.m. to midnight is the most dangerous time period, making up 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities in 2012.
- Location: Almost 75 percent of pedestrian traffic accidents occurred in urban, rather than rural, settings in 2012; 70 percent occurred at non-intersections.
Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents Cause Serious Injuries
The fatality rates are quite high in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents, and the injuries sustained by the victims who do survive are often very severe or catastrophic.
Some of the injuries pedestrians often sustain are listed below.
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Other serious back and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
Forms of Recourse for Victims of Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accident victims with serious injuries – or their families, if they are incapacitated – will need to determine what kinds of options they have to pay for their damages.
Which party is responsible for paying for the damages in an accident is based on fault. If the driver of the car was responsible, the driver’s insurance company would need to pay for the pedestrian’s damages. But what do you do if the driver flees and cannot be found?
Pedestrians may need to use their own health insurance, car insurance, or disability insurance to pay for the damages. Health insurance requires meeting deductibles, though, and making co-pays.
The pedestrian’s own car insurance may cover him or her in the event of a pedestrian accident, provided the victim has the right coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can cover the policyholder even if he or she is a pedestrian.
This coverage applies if the at-fault driver has no insurance or flees the scene. Medical payments coverage can also apply; this is a no-fault coverage that pays for medical bills the policyholder suffers.
Pedestrians without car insurance may look to policies held by household and family members, as this may provide coverage as well. Further, pedestrians may explore disability policies from their employers or privately-obtained policies that may offer coverage in the event the hit and run pedestrian accident causes disability.
If the driver is located, the pedestrian can then file a claim or lawsuit against him or her.
Legal Help for Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents in Atlanta
Pedestrian hit and run accident victims and their families are encouraged to seek legal advice to help them explore solutions to recover damages. For help in the Atlanta area, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz for a consultation. We handle injury and wrongful death cases related to numerous kinds of accidents, including hit and run pedestrian accidents.
Contact our firm today at 404-474-0804 or head to our contact page to schedule your free case evaluation.