Yesterday, an Illinois car accident attorney at our firm read an article posted by the Chicago Tribune that reported on a man charged in a fatal Chicago car accident. The 36-year-old man was charged with fleeing from an unrelated minor traffic accident, and causing a second accident that had left two children dead. Although there are not many details of the accident provided, after reading this article we decided that it would be beneficial to remind drivers of why they should never flee the scene of an auto accident. In this case, if the driver had not tried to flee the scene of the minor accident, two children would still be alive. Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident of any degree- from a minor fender bender to one that involves injuries- you have a duty to pull over to resolve the incident or take reasonable measures or help anyone who may be injured or harmed.
According to Illinois law, leaving the scene of an accident that involves the personal injury or death of another person is a felony offense. A main reason why the punishment for leaving the scene of an accident that involves injury or death is so severe is to deter these actions and also because someone who is injured might require immediate medical attention. If you fail to report a serious accident by calling 911 to get medical attention for injured parties can result in a punishment of one to seven years in prison. After being in an auto accident with another motorist, pedestrian, or bicyclist, motorists should first call police and then exchange information with all other parties involved, such as license plate number and insurance information. If there is a collision with someone else’s personal property, the driver should leave a written note with the same information.
Our Chicago car accident lawyers suggest that if you witness a hit and run accident, first check to see if anyone requires immediate medical help. Then, witnesses should try to take down as many descriptions of the other car as possible, such as color, make, model, year, and license plate number. If you are the victim of a hit and run, you should pull off of the road, call the police immediately, and seek witnesses and medical help if necessary.
We have seen the devastation of hit and run accidents and stress that the consequences for fleeing the scene are much worse than if you pull over and face the punishment of the initial accident. When hit and run drivers are identified, they can face serious criminal penalties for their actions, especially when someone is injured or killed as a result of their reckless behavior. Victims may also be able to take civil action to recover fair and reasonable compensation for the harms caused. Contact us to learn more about the rights of hit and run victims or to discuss a potential case with a Chicago accident attorney.