In January 2017, a car hit Michael Reid in South Tulsa, Oklahoma, while he attempted to cross the road and the driver fled the scene. Wearing bright colored clothing to alert drivers, Reid was out jogging when he was hit and announced dead when found. Despite the huge progress in making road and streets as pedestrian friendly as possible, the United States has some of the highest pedestrian hit and run collisions. Other than pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycle riders and vehicle drivers have been victims of hit and run incidents. In most cases, the reason the guilty driver flees the scene is out of fear. This fear could be because they are guilty of doing something at the time of the accident that is illegal, such as texting or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Moreover, uninsured drivers or those without a driver’s license can also be fearful of being questioned for not abiding by the law.
Under the Oklahoma law, anyone involved in a vehicle accident has a duty to help any person injured during the accident and to stay at the scene so that correct information about the person and incident can be recorded. This makes fleeing the scene of a hit and run illegal and heavily punishable by law. If you are a victim of a hit and run incident, treat it just like any vehicle accident and immediately seek medical help if you or someone with you is hurt. Informing the police about the incident as soon as possible is crucial so that the memory of the incident is fresh in your mind or for witnesses. If you think you will forget details, write them down or communicate them to someone that will remember. The car’s appearance, description of the driver and the fact that they fled the scene should be clearly communicated to the police so that they can identify the driver and the vehicle.
If a driver hits a parked car, it is the driver’s duty to leave his contact details and insurance information if the driver of the parked car is not present at the scene. In case of the driver fleeing in such a situation, the driver of the parked vehicle should immediately contact the police so that they can get any relevant CCTV footage from around the area. The sooner you report the more likely it is for the police to find the right clues. Your insurance provider should also be immediately informed about the incident so that you can work out how to cover damages under the given circumstances. If the driver found to be at-fault in the hit-and-run accident is arrested by law enforcement, then the victim or his family can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to hold the negligent driver financially responsible for the resulting injuries or fatality. If, however, the driver in a hit-and-run collision cannot be found or has no auto insurance, compensation may be available to the victim and his family through the uninsured motorist clause of the victim’s own car insurance policy.
Atkins & Markoff specializes in personal injury law and has vast experience in handling hit and run cases in Oklahoma. Our attorneys make sure that they establish a strong relationship with their client so that maximum compensation can be recovered. Call us to discuss your hit and run accident.