When a pedestrian is the victim of a hit and run driver, he or she should contact emergency services, collect information, and talk to witnesses at the scene. In circumstances where negligence caused the accident, victims can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
Surviving a Hit and Run Accident
In 2018, an alarming rise in pedestrian injuries was reported to traffic authorities. In Illinois, there were 60 pedestrian deaths in 2017 and 80 deaths in 2018. Accident statistics show the rise in pedestrian injuries and deaths is partly due to a rise in hit-and-run accidents.
According to the AAA Motor Club, a hit-and-run crash occurs every minute in the United States. While some crashes don’t have fatal outcomes, personal injury lawyers often see victims with severe physical injuries, long-term emotional problems, and permanent disabilities that impact their lifestyle and livelihood.
Illinois has strict hit-and-run laws that apply to any driver involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in injuries or property damages. The Illinois Vehicle Code states the following:
- Drivers must stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident
- Drivers must provide contact and insurance information to all parties involved in the accident
- Drivers must assist any injured parties at the accident scene
- Drivers must file a written report if the accident causes injury or death to another party
- Drivers must file a written report if property damages exceed $1,500
Vehicle accident reports are usually provided by police officers at the scene of the accident, but they can be obtained at any police station or sheriff’s office. According to law, accident reports must be filed by mail or online within 10 days of the accident date.
Hit and Run Penalties
Illinois hit and run accidents are classified as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances of the crash. When a driver crashes into another vehicle, person, or property and then flees the scene of the accident, the driver is subject to harsh penalties. Penalties range from steep monetary fines to lengthy prison sentences, or both.
Hit and run accidents that cause only property damages carry a maximum fine of $2,500 and a maximum prison term of 1 year. If a driver fails to stop, and someone is injured or killed, penalties include a maximum fine of $25,000, 1-3 years in prison, and license revocation. If a driver fails to file an accident report, the prison term jumps to 3-7 years for injuries and 4-15 years for fatalities.