When a motorist flees an accident after hitting another vehicle, bicyclists or pedestrian, the victim and their families can be left feeling as though they have been victimized twice. It is a truly cowardly act, to knowingly do damage to another and not take ownership for the action. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents happen more often then many would think and in many cases, they end in fatalities.
Florida Triathlete Killed In Hit And Run Accident
Aaron Cohen was a 35-year old husband and father of two that was an avid athlete and cyclist when his life was cut short in February 2012. The triathlete was riding his bicycle on an early morning ride in Florida when a driver hit him and his bicycling partner. The driver did not stop and did not call 911, leaving Aaron and his friend injured. Both were transported to the hospital, where Aaron died from his injuries a day later.
The driver was a 26-old student, who was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. However, since he did not give himself over to authorities until the next day, there was no longer any proof of whether he was intoxicated or not. After almost a year after the sentence, the driver was given a light sentence of 364 days in jail and two years of home monitoring. Although the young man admits his guilt and apologized in court for his actions, they are of little consolation to Aaron’s family.
Prevalence Of Hit And Run Accidents
There are many pedestrians and bicyclists that are fatally injured every year by drivers who not only cause the injury but also do not stop to help them or admit their part in the accident. In a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on pedestrian fatalities in 2003, it is estimated that almost 20% of all pedestrian deaths are caused by hit and run drivers.
These accidents, both those that kill pedestrians and cyclists with fatal injuries and those that just injure them, are a horrendous burden on the victim and their families. Not only do they have to live with the loss or injury, they are also left to pay for the medical bills and other financial costs. It is a vicious crime and one that deserves a higher penalty then a slight slap on the wrist by the courts, as is often the case.
Although many are fighting for tougher hit and run laws that have stiffer penalties for these crimes, victims do have some other options. They can file a civil suit against the driver if they are found. Even if the driver is never caught, they can at least use uninsured motorist insurance in most cases to cover the financial loss. It is of little consolation to those like Aaron’s family that has lost a loved one, but it can at least reduce the financial burden of the accident.