California bill addresses increase in hit-and-run accidents

California bill addresses increase in hit-and-run accidents

Hit-and-run accidents are all too familiar in Southern California. Hit-and-run accidents resulting in serious or fatal injuries have increased in the state during the last year, leaving many people to wonder why drivers would leave the scene of an accident if someone is laying in the road fighting for his or her life. 

The tragic rise in hit-and-run accidents that cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities has led to a proposed bill that would increase the penalties for hit-and-run offenders. Specifically, the bill would make misdemeanor hit-and-run violations, or hit-and-run crashes that may only result in minor injuries, result in a six-month sentence in county jail or a maximum fine of $1,000. In some cases, offenders may be required to go to jail and pay a fine. Convicted offenders would also have their driver's licenses suspended for six months. The bill still needs to be passed by the several committees as well as the state Senate before it can be sent to the governor. 

The bill was proposed in response to the growing number of injuries and fatalities caused by hit-and-run accidents. Hit-and-run accidents can be very devastating for families. One family in California endured two tragedies due to the reckless actions of drivers who left the scene after an accident. A teenage boy was paralyzed after he was hit by a vehicle while riding his skateboard. While the teen was recovering in the hospital, his mother was killed in a hit-and-run accident when she was riding her bike. Neither of the drivers involved in the accidents have been caught. 

With hit-and-run accidents being so common in the state, what can you do if you or a loved one has been injured in a hit-and-run accident? In addition to the criminal charges and penalties drivers can face, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver to receive compensation for your injuries. Compensation can help pay for medical expenses and punitive damages that can make life a little easier after being involved in such a horrible accident. 

Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Push For Change After Skateboarder Paralyzed in Hit-and-Run," Sean Fitz-Gerald, April 17, 2014

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