Hit-and-run accidents have been a serious problem in DuPage County, Cook County, and throughout the Chicago area for quite some time now. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, the problem may be getting worse.
Indeed, a new study highlights that deadly hit-and-run crashes are at a historical high. For Chicagoland residents, that news is particularly devastating given the recent string of hit-and-run collisions that have injured and killed motorists and pedestrians alike. For example, last summer a police officer and a civilian suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, and a pedestrian was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while attempting to cross the street last month.
What should pedestrians and motorists alike know about the rising rates of hit-and-run crashes?
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Disproportionately Affected By Hit-and-Run Collisions
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted the national study on hit-and-run crashes. It found that many hit-and-run victims are bicyclists or pedestrians and the number has risen significantly in the last eight years. Since 2009, the rate of deadly hit-and-run collisions has risen by about 60 percent. While Illinois does not have the highest rates of hit-and-run accidents in the country, there are still far too many hit-and-run accidents on record. In 2016, there were 69 hit-and-run accidents in Illinois and at least one fatality. That figure represents a significant increase from the previous year, which saw 47 hit-and-run crashes.
Generally speaking, all fatal pedestrian accidents, including those involving a hit-and-run crash, have risen in years, likely in part because more individuals are out on the streets, opting to bicycle or take public transportation to work. According to AAA, motorists who strike a pedestrian or a bicyclist, as opposed to another vehicle, are more likely to flee the scene of the accident.
Hit-and-Run Law in Illinois
Under Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/11-402), it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident in which there is significant property damage, or in which a person is injured or killed. Depending upon the specific facts of the case, a motorist who is liable in a hit-and-run collision could face anything from misdemeanor charges all the way up to serious felony charges. For example, if a person is found guilty of a hit-and-run accident in which no one is injured but there is substantial property damage, he or she may be found guilty of a class 4 felony offense, which can result in a prison term and a fine of up to $25,000. The penalties are much worse in a hit-and-run case where the driver causes bodily injury or even death. These cases can result in class 1 felony charges that can carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years in addition to a significant fine.
While personal injury cases involving car accident injuries are civil (and not criminal), it is important to keep in mind how seriously Illinois takes hit-and-run cases.
Contact a DuPage County Auto Accident Lawyer
Were you injured in a hit-and-run accident in Lombard or elsewhere in DuPage County? An experienced DuPage County auto accident attorney can help with your case. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC to learn more about the services we provide to personal injury victims.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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