An SUV was struck and on its side, injuring the driver and causing the small passenger dog to flee the scene of the accident, according to a recent Channel 13 WREX news report. The SUV was hit by a Dodge minivan that drove away right after the collision according to eyewitness accounts. The hit-and-run accident happened in the late afternoon on Broadway near 21st street.
Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law across our nation. Nevertheless, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that as much as 11 percent of all car accidents involve drivers who flee the scene. Estimates put together by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) are higher than the AAA’s report; indeed, the NHTSA claims that hit-and-run drivers cause more than 2,500 fatal traffic accidents annually.
Illinois law is clear on the issue. While most tickets issued by law enforcement for leaving the scene of an accident are considered a misdemeanor, if the accident involved injury or death, fleeing the scene is a felony. Moreover, state law mandates that an accident involving property damage less than $1,500 need not be reported to law enforcement. If any vehicle involved in the collision is uninsured and there is over $500 in property damage, the accident must be reported. Likewise, all drivers involved in an accident in Illinois must file a crash report at the nearest police station if there was a resulting death, bodily injury, or over $1,500 in property damage. A driver must report the accident regardless of who was at fault.
The public policy reasoning behind this law to ensure that all parties involved in the collision may provide specific information to law enforcement as well as the other parties. If the driver is in need of immediate emergency medical care, however, the law does not prohibit a person from leaving the scene.
It is not impossible to recover damages as a victim of a hit-and-run accident. This is because generally hit-and-run drivers leave valuable evidence behind at the scene of the accident. Some useful evidence may include car parts, paint scrapings, eyewitness accounts of neighbors or others who may see the damaged vehicle and called the police, eyewitness accounts of those who saw the accident, and surveillance video. Sometimes the driver has a change of heart and turns him or herself in to law enforcement. It is important to understand that even though the criminal statute of limitations in Illinois for prosecuting a hit-and-run driver was abolished in 2006, there are time limits to file a civil claim for damages.
Personal Injury Help in Illinois
If you or someone you love has been injured, or if someone you know or love has been killed, as a result of a hit-and-run acciden,t contact an experienced and aggressive Illinois auto accident attorney immediately. Don’t fall victim a second time. The longer you wait to seek legal representation, the higher the likelihood that key evidence may be destroyed or lost and witnesses may forget important details regarding the accident. Schedule your initial case evaluation today by clicking here or calling (815) 398-9700.