While everyone has a different preferred mode of transportation, there is one method that everyone shares – walking. At some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. Although the rates of car accidents are decreasing, the number of pedestrian accidents have increased. According to the National Highway Traffic Association, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured in a car accident about every 7 minutes in traffic crashes in 2014. In the United States, the total number of pedestrians killed rose from 4,884 in 2014 to 5,376 in 2015. An estimated 14% of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians.
According to Zavodnick, Zavodnick, & Lasky, 63.8% of all pedestrian injuries involving automobiles occurred in major cities, such as Philadelphia. Cities like Philadelphia are full of large and often dangerous intersections. With the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries on the rise, the US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx declared pedestrian and bicyclist safety among his top priorities while in office, with a focus on large city intersections.
If you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian, you should call the police immediately and remain at the scene. You may also want to gather names and contact information of any witnesses. Be sure to take photos of anything relevant to the accident, including the car, the location, license plates, and even yourself. If you are unable to complete any of the previous steps, ask a bystander or witness for help and be sure to jot down their contact information. After seeking medical attention, start an insurance claim and find a lawyer who ideally specializes in personal injury and pedestrian collisions. You may be able to recover damages from your injuries if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.
A hit-and-run auto accident is a crime anywhere in the US. Under the Tennessee Code, the statute (55-10-103) specifically requires that the driver who injures or causes the death of another person to remain at the scene of an accident to render aid and reasonable assistance or arrange for transportation of the injured person to a medical facility for emergency treatment.
Being involved in auto accidents is bad enough. Making a run for it just makes it that much worse for everyone involved, especially if it results in injury to another person who may then need assistance which would have mitigated the circumstances. Although the law punishes someone who leaves the scene of an accident more severely when it results in death, the knowledge of undue suffering of the injured person is more distressing especially for the family.
Failing to follow the law as stated in the Tennessee Code for auto accidents involving injury or death to a third party automatically subjects the at-fault driver to both criminal charges and civil litigation. According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, in Nashville, this type of negligence should be sanctioned to the fullest extent allowed under the law, and that includes a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
In Tennessee, a hit and run auto accident is a Class A misdemeanor unless it results in a death; in which case, it is a Class E felony. As a Class A misdemeanor, the driver may be subject to not more than 11 months 29 days in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500. As a Class E felony, the penalties may include jail time up to 6 years and a fine not to exceed $3,000. However, these sanctions may be superseded by circumstances that may call into action other statutes.
Being convicted in criminal court has no bearing on the at-fault driver’s civil liability. A plaintiff has the right to seek to recover damages sustained as a result of a hit-and-run car accident. An experienced lawyer in Tennessee should be engaged to negotiate a reasonable settlement, if possible, and to effectively bring the matter to civil court.