The data is still coming in for 2021, and it appears to be another banner year for traffic fatalities in New York and across the country. While the events of 2020 that led to the disruptions of daily life created substantially less road traffic, this also fundamentally changed how people drive.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), speeding as well as aggressive and impaired driving increased dramatically during a time when there were fewer drivers on the road. With road traffic up significantly in 2021, these dangerous driving habits have caused traffic fatalities to go up even higher.
In Brooklyn and throughout New York City, traffic fatalities are going up in pedestrian, bicycle and passenger vehicle deaths. Sadly, victims of a hit-and-run accident must not only rely on witnesses and a police investigation to track down the perpetrator, they are also left worrying about how to pay for their injuries, lost work and medical expenses.
The motivation to run in hit-and-run crashes
Among the most common reasons a person may have to leave the scene of an accident are to avoid drunk driving or pending criminal charges, or a need for self-preservation that may be more urgent the more serious the accident. Studies suggest that such drivers are also more likely to be intoxicated at the time of the crash. Staying out of legal trouble, especially if the accident happened at night and there were few witnesses, as well as having impaired judgement, may motivate such a driver to run away.
Pedestrians make up the majority of the victims of such crashes, as nearly one in five pedestrian deaths occur in a hit-and-run. As fatal hit-and-runs occur more often on roads where the speed limit is lower, and in urban areas, the fear of driver identification may also motivate the driver to flee. About 50% of all hit-and-run drivers are eventually caught.
What to do if you were injured in a hit-and-run
There are a number of ways to identify and track down a driver who has fled the scene, who can be criminally charged for these actions. Law enforcement will investigate the accident as a crime and seek information, identification, or witnesses who may have caught the accident on a cell phone, or who may remember the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle and identifying features of the driver.
New York’s no-fault insurance offers benefits for a portion of hospital costs, lost wages and other expenses, and it is also possible to make an uninsured claim for pain and suffering. Above all, it is essential to find out how to receive damages for your immediate needs, and understand what your legal options are for recovering the full compensation that you deserve.