Hit-and-Run Accidents: a Deadly Trend in Philadelphia
March 12, 2021
According to police, there were more hit-and-run accidents in Philadelphia last year than there were in the previous decade. This deadly trend is not the only thing local residents need to worry about: an Action News Investigation also uncovered information showing that police investigate less than 5% of all cases, leaving injured victims and grieving family members without justice. Just last month, the Philadelphia City Council held hearings on hit-and-run accidents. Some members proposed harsher penalties like increased jail time and penalties, while others recommended putting more officers on the streets. While the city has not made any formal changes yet, they must continue to address this critical issue and come up with effective solutions to keep Philadelphians safe.
What is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
When a car accident happens, drivers must identify themselves and provide contact information to any other party involved in the incident. Hit-and-run accidents happen when a driver flees the scene and fails to give his or her information after being involved in a collision with another human being, vehicle, or property. No matter how scary and overwhelming it may be to get into a car accident, it is not only immoral to leave the scene, but it is also against the law.
Hit-and-Runs are Endangering Philadelphia Residents
One in every four accidents in Philadelphia is a hit-and-run and more than 16,000 of these incidents occur annually. While some city council members and local police warn that it will take time to make a positive impact on crash rates, residents are sustaining injuries each day. Numerous citizens testified during the City Council’s hearing, with some residents complaining about police failures to make arrests after deadly hit-and-run incidents despite having vehicle and vehicle owner information on file.
It is not only Philadelphia drivers that are at risk for serious or deadly injuries associated with hit-and-run collisions, but also pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. According to federal data, individuals who travel by foot, bicycle, or motorcycle face disproportionately high hit-and-run risks as compared to drivers. For reference, the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia (BCP) reported 120 traffic fatalities in 2020, representing a 60% surge from the year before. The number of bicyclists who were fatally injured doubled (and the number of fatally injured pedestrians nearly doubled, too). Similarly, motorcycle crash deaths increased by 75%. By the time the BCP filed its year-end traffic fatality report, the number of hit-and-runs had grown by more than 200% since 2019.
Common Hit-and-Run Accident Injuries
The force of impact from an accident can cause a variety of injuries. Some injuries are minor whereas others are lethal. The National Law Review (NLR) reports that some of the most common injuries that individuals sustain in collisions include:
- Internal bleeding
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
Victims of hit-and-run accidents can also experience limb loss and amputation, paralysis, broken bones, herniated discs, disfiguring facial wounds and permanent scarring, and numerous other injuries. Not only do these injuries often result in expensive medical bills and time away from work, but they can also cause permanent physically disabilities and compromise a victim’s overall quality of life.
What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run?
All car accidents are scary and stressful, but they become even more complicated when the at-fault party leaves the scene before exchanging information with the other parties involved in the incident. If you are an involved in a hit-and-run crash, take the following steps:
- Call 9-1-1 and seek necessary medical treatment. Even if you do not feel injured, call the police for assistance and inform your medical provider that you were in an automobile accident
- Gather as much information as you can. While the details are still fresh in your mind, write down any relevant information you were able to catch. This includes vehicle make, model, and color, the driver’s direction of travel, license plate number, and what the driver looked like
- Write down the name(s) and address(es) of any witnesses to the accident
- Take pictures of damages to all the vehicles involved in the crash
- Notify your insurance company about the accident
What Results have Attorneys at Galfand Berger Achieved for Hit-and-Run Victims?
Car crash victims are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damages, and for the pain and suffering that the collision caused. Pursuing a claim for compensation after a hit-and-run is a complicated legal process, especially if it is not possible to identify the at-fault driver. This is why it is advisable to contact an experienced car accident attorney, like a member of our team at Galfand Berger.
Galfand Berger, LLP has represented hit-and-run victims. In one case, our client suffered a debilitating neck injury that rendered him unable to work for a full year and left him with residual neck and arm pain after he was struck by a motorist while working in a designated work zone on I-95. Even though the motorist fled the scene of the accident, the driver’s insurance company refused to make a reasonable offer of settlement. Instead, they tried to claim that the crash did not cause our client’s injuries. We tried the case and obtained a verdict of $250,000 for our injured client. To learn more about filing a personal injury claim after being involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact a representative who can help online now.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Car Accident Victims Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.