Hit-And-Run Driver Kills Disabled Pedestrian
A woman in a wheelchair is dead after a speeding car ran her over as she crossed the street in a crosswalk.
The wreck happened at the intersection of Curtner Avenue and the Monterey Highway. A vehicle, identified only as a white, late-model Mercedes, struck the woman while she was crossing the highway. Emergency responders rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was later declared dead.
Investigators have few clues, except that the Mercedes probably has front-end damage.
Speed and Pedestrian Accidents
Many pedestrian accidents are rolling right turn accidents. When tortfeasors (negligent drivers) turn right on red, they usually look only to the left and rarely slow down. So, they may not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk to their right, who is crossing with the light, until the last second. At that point, it’s very difficult to avoid a crash.
Speeding drivers have less time to react to a suddenly changing situation, like a previously-unseen pedestrian in a crosswalk. The loss of reaction time also creates many out-of-control wrecks. Speeding drivers often oversteer into curves, and since they have less time to react , they are unable to straighten out before they leave the road.
Velocity also multiplies the force in a pedestrian accident, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Since disabled individuals have pre-existing physical conditions, they have a hard time surviving wrecks which might not kill other people.
Insurance companies cannot use a victim’s physical disability or other pre-existing condition as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation, according to the eggshell skull rule.
Holding Hit-and-Run Drivers Responsible for Damages
In many jurisdictions, authorities successfully prosecute very few hit-and-run drivers. That’s partially because investigators often have little evidence to go on, as is the case in the above story. Furthermore, such investigations divert necessary resources from other cases. Hit-and-run claims, which many police officers consider civil matters, are pretty much always on the lowest end of the totem pole.
The high burden of proof in criminal cases also comes into play. Investigators know that they usually need overwhelming evidence, like a corroborated confession, to obtain a guilty verdict.
The dynamics are much different for a San Jose personal injury attorney. Lawyers are committed to maximum compensation for victims. So, they are willing to go the extra mile and look for evidence in these cases. Such evidence includes:
- Body Shop Records: To stay off the radar, hit-and-run tortfeasors usually take damaged vehicles to underground body shops. Personal injury attorneys can get information from these owners, because the owners know they won’t face criminal prosecution.
- Additional Witness Statements: For multiple reasons, lots of people do not loiter at accident scenes so they can give statements to police officers. Attorneys know how to locate additional witnesses who may have seen something. Because of the low burden of proof, as discussed below, every bit of evidence counts.
- Stakeouts: Movies and TV shows often imply that stakeouts are exciting or dangerous. Usually, however, they are simply boring. But many tortfeasors often return to the scene of the accident, mostly because they live or work nearby.
The burden of proof in civil court is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Therefore, if an attorney identifies a vehicle’s owner, that might be enough. It’s more likely than not that the owner was also the driver at a given time.
Damages in a vehicle collision claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Count on a Dedicated Lawyer
Pedestrians risk serious injury simply when they cross the street. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose car accident attorney, contact Solution Now Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.