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Hit-and-run accidents rising, even as other accidents decline

Although overall traffic accidents are in decline, hit-and-run crashes have been on the rise, federal data shows.
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    January 07, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Hit-and-run fatalities are on the rise nationwide, recent data shows, and pedestrians are often the ones suffering the consequences.

According to federal crash data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, fatal hit-and-run traffic accidents spiked nearly 14 percent from 2009 to 2011. The trend is all the more troubling when considering that overall traffic deaths decreased by nearly 5 percent during that same time period.

In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, there were a total of 1,449 fatal hit-and-run crashes nationwide. Of the 32,367 total fatal crashes that occurred in the U.S. that year, about one in every 22 involved a driver who fled the scene. Among pedestrian fatalities, the hit-and-run rate is far higher still, at about one in five.

Officials say that alcohol is often a factor in hit-and-run crashes. Not only are intoxicated drivers more likely to be involved in accidents, but experts say they may also be more likely to flee the scene when accidents do occur because they know they have broken the law and hope to avoid being caught. Of course, fleeing the scene of accident -- particularly a fatal one -- only makes things worse for these drivers when they are ultimately apprehended by the authorities.

Georgia hit-and-run law

In response to the rising rate of hit-and-run crashes in the U.S., many states have passed laws specifically designed to crack down on hit-and-run drivers.

In Georgia, for instance, state law requires that a driver who has been involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of another person, or in damage to another vehicle, must immediately stop to exchange contact information and provide reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured.

For accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Georgia drivers who fail to remain at the scene of the crash can be charged with a felony and imprisoned for up to five years, in addition to any other legal consequences they may be facing.

Civil liability for Georgia traffic accidents

Along with potential criminal charges, Georgia drivers can also face civil liability when they cause accidents that kill or injure other people. This type of liability may apply regardless of whether or not the at-fault driver is ever charged or convicted of a crime.

Depending on the circumstances, injured accident victims in Georgia may be able to receive financial compensation for their injuries and related expenses, including lost income and medical bills. For more information about the options that may be available if you or a loved one has been hurt in a traffic accident, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Article provided by McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham, LLP
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