Earlier last month, two teens were hit by a truck while riding a Moped scooter in Kokomo. The driver of the truck did not stop, but instead fled the scene. Both the driver and the passenger of the Moped were taken to the hospital. The 13-year-old driver sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
For over a week, police searched for the driver of the truck. On September 21, police responded to a call from a man who had attempted suicide but changed his mind and had called the police for assistance. According to a report by WISHTV.com, while police were investigating the attempted suicide, they discovered a note confessing to the hit-and-run accident. The driver’s note explained that he has poor vision and did not see the teens and that he was nervous so he hid the truck in his garage.
Prosecutors have charged the driver with reckless homicide and two counts of fleeing the scene of an accident that resulted in death.
Hit-and-Run Statistics in Indiana
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon across the country, including in Indiana. For example, in 2011, there were 1,853 hit and run accidents resulting in either bodily injury or death in Indiana alone. During that same period there were over 20,000 hit-and-run accidents across the state that resulted in property damage.
About 85% of those killed in hit-and-run accidents are non-occupants, meaning that the victim is not in an automobile at the time of the accident. Most often these victims are either pedestrians or bicyclists.
Hit-and-Run Drivers Can Be Held Liable By Their Victims
Like any other driver who causes an accident, a hit-and-run driver can be held liable by their victim for the death, injury, or property damage resulting from the accident. To recover from a hit-and-run driver, an accident victim usually must show that the driver was at fault and that the driver was also negligent in causing the accident and/or in fleeing the scene.
As one might imagine, identifying the driver is often quite difficult and is best left to the police. However, once the driver is identified, proving negligence in a hit-and-run case can be easier than in other cases because the fact that the driver fled shows the driver’s “consciousness of guilt.”
In other words, a juror might consider the fact that the driver fled when determining who was at fault and whether the hit-and-run driver was negligent. Whether or not the accident was the driver’s fault, a duty to stop and render aid arises and fleeing can, in and of itself, be considered negligence under the law.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
We all know what to do when we are involved in an accident. But some people choose to disregard the hit-and-run accident victim, fearing the consequences of being identified. In these cases, the law will usually catch up to the driver. When it does, the driver should be held responsible for the harm they caused.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. An experienced Indiana accident attorney can explain what options you have as an accident victim and what course of action might be best given the specific facts of your case. Click here, or call (888) 532-7766 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Two Women in Custody for Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident in Indianapolis, Indiana Accident Attorneys, September 30, 2013.
Two Motorcyclists Killed in Possible Alcohol-Related Crash, Indiana Accident Attorneys, September 23, 2013.