With over 26 million registered drivers in California, it is no surprise to learn that there are a lot of car accidents. However, there is an alarming number of hit-and-run collisions occurring annually, baffling the minds of state officials and responsible drivers who want safe driving practices to be the norm.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the city sees nearly 20,000 hit-and-run collisions per year. While the majority of these collisions produce only minor property damage, city officials report that 144 people were severely injured and 27 people were killed in hit-and-run accidents in 2014.
Simple Approaches to Help Curb Hit-and-Run Collisions
The most effective tactic California officials have to combat the rising number of hit-and-run accidents is to increase the visibility of accident information. The LAPD has learned that publicizing the make, model, color, and license plate number of an automobile strengthens the likelihood that a witness to the accident will come forward with helpful information.
By sending alerts through social media, communicating with other government agencies, and utilizing the Transportation Department’s extensive network, the police department is expecting to see an increase in the number of solved hit-and-run cases.
Another simple change helping to curb hit-and-run accidents involves giving illegal immigrants the ability to obtain a driver’s license. Since Assembly Bill 60 took effect in 2015, over 850,000 people have gotten driver’s licenses, and a Stanford study, published in April 2017, reports that there was a 7% decrease in hit-and-run collisions in 2015 compared to 2014.
Los Angeles Police Captain Andrew Neiman understands that while a single digit decrease in hit-and-run accidents hints that there is more work to be done, he is confident that “teaching people about the rules of the road and providing them with a test” is a step in the right direction for safe driving in the city.
The Difficulty in Solving Hit-and-Run Cases
Although it is easy to spot when a hit-and-run has taken place, uncovering the identity of the responsible party is not always a straightforward task. The LAPD solved only one in five hit-and-run cases from 2008-2012 (the most recent data available). Of the solved cases, only 50% were closed through an arrest, meaning that the majority of victims suffer without seeing any justice.
The police’s inability to solve hit-and-run cases makes it difficult for an injured person to file a suit against the reckless driver. It also means that a person’s attorney will have to do an extensive amount of research to identify the target of the suit. This is why standing rewards, for giving information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a hit-and-run driver, are important and can greatly help out the driving victims. The Los Angeles City Hall offers $50,000 for crashes where someone was killed, $25,000 if a person was severely injured, $5,000 if a person suffered an injury, and $1,000 if a person’s property was damaged during the accident.
Helping Severely Injured Hit-and-Run Accident Victims
While hit-and-run cases are notoriously difficult to solve, an experienced attorney will know how to navigate any tricky circumstances and help his or her client receive a reasonable financial settlement. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury because of a hit-and-run accident, and are located in Pasadena, California or the surrounding area, you should contact Strassburg, Gilmore, & Wei, Attorneys at Law and discuss the legal options available to you during this burdensome time.