Tennessee Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer
Many drivers have experienced the frustration of finding their parked car with a dent or scratch, and with no note on the windshield from the driver who caused the damage. Hit-and-run accidents damage numerous cars every year. But of greater concern is the number of injuries and fatalities attributed to hit-and-run drivers.
In 2015, of the 5,376 pedestrians nationwide who died after being struck by a vehicle, 1,090 – 20 percent – were killed by drivers who fled the scene. Hit-and-run accidents also account for many serious and fatal injuries to bicyclists.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a hit-and-run accident, you need a personal injury attorney on your side to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family. John R. Colvin has represented many injury victims in the Tennessee Valley, helping them get compensation to cover their medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Request a free case consultation today by calling 1-931-962-1044.
A Wave of Tennessee Hit-and-run Cases
From the beginning of the year through mid-April, 14 Memphis pedestrians died after being struck by cars. Six of those crashes involved drivers who fled the scene.
Recent news indicates that hit-and-run crashes have continued to be a problem in Tennessee. Thankfully, police are usually able to find the drivers who cause these crashes, as noted in four instances that occurred within the month of July:
- Police arrested a man in Franklin for failing to stop after he struck a bicyclist on Natchez Trace Parkway in Williamson County. The victim, who survived, had been riding alongside a friend, whose GoPro camera captured footage of the accident and helped lead police to the suspect.
- Memphis police arrested the driver of a tractor-trailer who struck and killed a woman at 1 p.m. at an intersection. Police found the driver later that day.
- Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested a man who fled the scene after striking and killing a pedestrian in Coffee County. The 76-year-old victim was crossing the street to check his mailbox, when the driver struck him in front of his home.
- In eastern Davidson County, a driver struck two motorcyclists, killing one. Police found the man hours later at a relative’s home, and he appeared to be intoxicated.
The Risk to Elderly Pedestrians
In 2015, pedestrians older than 64 accounted for 19 percent of pedestrian deaths and 13 percent of pedestrian injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Compared to all other age groups, pedestrians older than 75 are twice as likely to suffer a fatal traffic injury.
Several factors increase the risk of traffic-related injury in older age groups, including limited mobility, poor vision and hearing, and traffic lights that don’t allow enough time for crossing the street. When those factors are combined with dangerous driving behaviors like speeding and inattention, elderly pedestrians are at heightened risk of being struck by a vehicle.
Why People Run
For the families of loved ones killed or gravely injured in hit-and-run crashes, it may be difficult to understand how someone could leave the scene of an accident, knowing someone is injured. A story in the Chicago Tribune explored that topic, following a hit-and-run crash that killed three children walking along a rural road.
A detective told the newspaper some drivers simply panic, and flee out of fear, but those people are likely to turn themselves in once they realize what they’ve done. The other type of driver that flees the scene is one who has something to hide, and who thinks they can avoid the consequences.
Hit-and-run drivers might be under the influence of drugs and alcohol, driving on a suspended license, or engaging in some other illegal behavior when they cause a crash. Their own fear of arrest and incarceration overrides their concern for victims and their families.
In Tennessee, fleeing the scene of a crash that causes injury or death is at least a Class A misdemeanor, as is a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. So the penalties are roughly the same.
Leaving the scene becomes a Class E felony if a driver “knew or should have known that death resulted from the accident.” Sometimes pedestrians who are struck by intoxicated drivers could have survived if the driver had stopped to render aid or called for help. When they are caught, these offending drivers who thought they could avoid the consequences of their actions face even longer sentences, if the victim died.
Help for Victims
When police catch drivers who injured or killed someone in a hit-and-run crash, they will face legal consequences. However, their prosecution and sentencing won’t help injury victims and their families.
An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to explore every option for getting compensation for hit-and-run victims. If a hit-and-run accident harmed you or an immediate family member, contact John R. Colvin – online, or at 1-931-962-1044 – to ask for your free case consultation.