Feb 25, 2021
According to researchers from the American Automobile Association (AAA), hit-and-run accidents occurred at a rate of around one per minute in 2018. With over 600,000 hit-and-runs occurring every year, these dangerous accidents are trending up at an alarming rate. During a study conducted between 2009 and 2016, AAA found that hit-and-run deaths rose 60%. 65% of those fatalities were pedestrians and bicyclists, and almost 90% of these accidents resulted in neither criminal nor civil litigation.
California has the seventh-most hit-and-run accidents per capita in America, including 334 fatalities in 2016. The Los Angeles Times reported a worrying increase in hit-and-run accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists, and with 134 pedestrian deaths in 2017, L.A. doubled its total from just two years prior.
Three tragic hit-and-run accidents occurred this month, making nationwide headlines. A hit-and-run in Kansas City left a 5-year-old girl in critical condition. Singer Nicki Minaj’s father, Robert Maraj, was struck by an errant driver in Mineola, New York. And a reckless driver crashed into a home in South Los Angeles, causing significant structural damage. With these severe accidents occurring in the span of just a few days, drivers and pedestrians should take a moment to reflect on how to exercise greater care on the road.
Robert Maraj, the 64-year-old father of multi-platinum selling rapper Nicki Minaj, was struck by a hit-and-run driver on the evening of February 12. According to the Nassau County Police Department, the accident occurred at 6:15 p.m. Maraj was pronounced dead at a local hospital on the morning of February 13th.
Reports indicate that Maraj was crossing the street during the accident when the offending driver struck him and continued without stopping. Maraj recently became a grandfather when his daughter and her husband, Kenneth Petty, welcomed a baby boy in September 2020.
Having announced her retirement in July of 2020, Minaj has not yet made a public statement on her father’s death.
Britt Reid, the son of Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and former assistant coach for the team, struck two vehicles on the shoulder of a Missouri highway just two days before the Chiefs were to appear in the Super Bowl. Britt Reid did not attend the game.
Reid’s truck smashed into the vehicles while traveling southbound on Interstate 435 near Arrowhead Stadium. Local police note that a vehicle was stranded on the side of the road and a family member arrived in their own car to offer assistance. While the two vehicles sat on the shoulder, Reid’s pickup truck struck both, injuring a 4 and 5-year-old child.
The 5-year-old remained in a coma for several days until she awoke on February 16th. Her aunt, Tiffany Verhulst, announced on a GoFundMe page she established to pay for the child’s medical expenses that Ariel Young woke up from her coma but remains in critical condition. The 4-year-old involved in the accident suffered a broken nose and concussion.
Britt Reid suffered injuries and required surgery after the accident. He is no longer with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he remains under investigation by both the NFL and local police. While explaining the accident to the police, Reid said that he had “two or three” drinks, creating an unfavorable combination with his Adderall prescription. Medical experts note that mixing alcohol and Adderall can reduce inhibitions and impair reaction time.
The Los Angeles Police Department is searching for a driver who fled the scene of an accident in the Vermont-Slauson section of South Los Angeles. On the evening of February 15th, two vehicles crashed, forcing one to collide with the home of Martha Salazar. The accident was reported around midnight, and neighbors stated they had heard a car spin out at the time of the crash.
Police eliminated both street racing and “doing donuts” as possible causes of the accident. No other information is currently available on the driver, but a victim was seen receiving medical treatment at the scene. The LAPD is investigating the circumstances of the accident and how the offending vehicles are related to one another.
Hit-and-run accidents combine a factor of speed, the victim’s location, and the at-fault driver’s gross negligence. Between 2006 and 2017, the number for annual fatal hit-and-runs in the U.S. varied between 1,220 and 2,089, according to the AAA’s 2018 Hit-and-Run Crashes Research Brief and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Pedestrians or bicyclists who are without the protection of the body and chassis of a car are more likely to be seriously injured or killed.
Speed is the most important factor in any hit-and-run accident. Victims have a 90% survival rate if the offending vehicle is traveling 20 miles per hour or less. The survival rate plummets to 20% if the at-fault driver is traveling 40 miles per hour.
Hit-and-run drivers will be charged with a crime because leaving the scene of an accident and ignoring injured victims leaves them vulnerable, in some cases ensuring their death. When drivers stop after an accident, they can do the right thing, call 911, and possibly save a life.
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
Victims impacted most by hit-and-run accidents are pedestrians, bicyclists, children, and the elderly. A car will suffer minimal damage after striking a person or bicycle, reducing the likelihood that the driver can be identified or tied to the accident. Children and the elderly are typically the most vulnerable victims in hit-and-run accidents because they do not have quick reflexes, may not understand when a deadly situation is unfolding, or simply do not have a complete understanding of how to stay safe on busy roads.
The Centers for Disease Control notes that pedestrians over age 65 represent 20% of fatalities and 10% of total injuries. Sadly, 20% of those under the age of 15 who lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents were pedestrians. Aside from the shocking number of hit-and-run deaths, the CDC estimate that around 137,000 pedestrians received emergency treatment for nonfatal injuries in 2017 alone. With the number of hit-and-run accidents on the rise, pedestrians are 50% more likely to be killed than passengers in offending vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that 79% of bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban locations, similar to those transpiring throughout the Los Angeles area. CDC researchers found that most pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas or locations with inadequate lighting.
Urban sprawl in Los Angeles contributes to these accidents. Neighborhoods expand with intersections at the corner of every block and drivers pack the roads daily. 12 million people live in the metro area, bringing with them speeding vehicles, intoxication, distractions, and hit-and-run deaths.
Bicyclists and pedestrians in the poorest urban areas occupy empty streets where speeding drivers travel recklessly with abandon. A recent report from Patch.com quotes Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are For Everyone, identifying unique accident statistics in Los Angeles. Traffic crashes are down 38%, but traffic deaths are up 15% across the city. Even more shocking is that pedestrian deaths are up 33% as streets are relatively empty during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a May 2020 press conference, LAPD Officer Tony Im stated, “We want people to get the message that they need to slow down and be aware of their surroundings. They are seeing less traffic, and they are driving too fast. And they may not even be aware of how fast they are going.”
California Vehicle Codes § 20001 and 20002 govern hit and run accidents. Under California Vehicle Code § 20002, hit-and-run drivers causing property damage and minor injuries can face six months in jail, a fine of up to $1000, and three years probation. Under the felony Vehicle Code § 20001, those convicted of causing severe damage and major injuries can face one to three years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
While a hit-and-run driver is liable under the law for the accident, that does not preclude victims from filing a civil suit with the assistance of Dordulian Law Group to recover damages.
Led by former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Samuel Dordulian, Dordulian Law Group offers over 40 years of combined experience in all types of personal injury cases ranging from hit-and-run car accidents to wrongful death and sexual abuse claims. Having recovered over $100 million for clients in settlements and verdicts, DLG has a success rate or more than 98% that gives clients peace of mind, knowing their case is in the right hands.
With a free consultation, clients can bring their cases forward to understand the merits and discuss next steps. There are never any upfront fees, and DLG is not paid until we recover financial compensation for you.
DLG’s car accident cases are overseen by a litigator and chief investigator, both with decades of experience in their respective fields.
Samuel Dordulian has handled over 100 jury trials, using his expertise as a criminal prosecutor to fight for the rights of those who have been injured through no fault of their own. A graduate of the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Dordulian also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.
Moses Castillo is the Chief Investigator at DLG. Mr. Castillo has 30 years of investigative experience as a decorated officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. Ending his career in the Central Traffic Division, Moses spent many years investigating hit-and-run crashes, vehicular fatalities, and other severe accidents. His understanding of police reporting procedures and ability to collect evidence helps the firm successfully close cases every day.
Contact DLG today for more information on recovering compensation for injuries suffered after a hit-and-run accident. Call 818-322-4056 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to schedule a free consultation or ask one of our dedicated professionals a question.
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