Most anyone who has been following the news over the past few months likely could not help but notice the spate of hit-and-run motor vehicle accidents involving cars, pedestrians and bicyclists throughout parts of Maryland. Of all the different kinds of roadway collisions that can occur, pedestrian accidents are among the most likely to cause serious bodily harm and even death.
People on foot or riding their bikes who are hit by a passenger car, motor scooter or commercial delivery truck can be thrown to the ground with tragic results. While the lucky ones may only receive bumps and bruises, other injuries, such as cuts and lacerations, broken bones and contusions, as well as head and back injuries can also occur.
Closed-head trauma (or traumatic brain injuries) are not uncommon and can place the life of the victim in jeopardy depending on the severity of the impact and the extent of the damage inflicted to the individual’s brain. Partial or complete paralysis, trouble with motor function and cognitive ability and other life-threatening conditions can result from a blow to the head or injury to a person’s spinal cord.
A recent news article made clear the concern that Maryland residents are feeling in the wake of recent hit-and-run accidents around the state. As Maryland auto injury attorneys and Washington, D.C., personal injury lawyers, we too are shocked by the apparent heartless, thoughtless and callous actions of those few individuals who leave the scene of an injury accident without so much as a thought for fellow human beings who may be hurt or critically injured in the wake of a roadway accident.
According to reports, Anne Arundel County police released a surveillance photo of a vehicle that allegedly struck and killed 38-year-old James Schreiber, Jr., just one of many people killed or injured by careless individuals plying Maryland’s roadways. In the Schreiber case, police believe that the vehicle which killed the man had a temporary dealership or vehicle transporter tag affixed to the tailgate on the driver’s side tailgate, just below the rear window.
While police investigators suggest that this upswing in hit-and-runs is simply an anomaly, the observation is little comfort to the victims of these potentially deadly collisions. Crashes like the one that sent a 20-year-old Bulgarian university student to the hospital with a broken clavicle after he was hit by an unidentified vehicle on August 23 while bicycling with friends along a stretch of Forest Drive.
In that instance, the victim was left at the roadside while the motorist who allegedly hit the cyclist drove of without stopping to check on the man or offering assistance of any kind. In a 10-week period that ended in September, Anne Arundel County alone saw two fatal hit-and-runs and four serious injury accidents caused by hit-and-run drivers.
While police as yet have not been able to pinpoint any specific cause for the rise in these hit-and-run incidents, they speculate that it may be due to the poor economy in that more motorists are driving with improper vehicle registrations or not carrying the correct automobile insurance.
As an uninsured or under-insured driver who causes and accident of this nature, it is possible that the person would be less likely to expose themselves to potential fines and legal action. Of course, this is hardly a valid excuse, if only on moral grounds; the legal penalties for those found responsible for serious or fatal hit-and-run accidents can be many times greater than the consequences if one simply stopped at the scene and took responsibility for his or her actions.
No answers in surge of hit-and-run incidents, HometownAnnapolis.com, September 29, 2011