Recent reports indicate that hit-and-run accidents have reached alarming highs across the state of Kansas. This data raises serious questions of safety on roads all over the state. Additionally, pedestrians and bicyclists are the most affected, accounting for roughly 65 percent of hit-and-run accidents.
The Data on Hit-and-Run Accidents in Kansas
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports on data released by AAA Kansas. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety had found that hit-and-run accidents increased by 60 percent nationwide between 2009 and 2016. AAA Kansas reports that more than one hit-and-run crash per minute occurs in the United States.
Here in Kansas, 2016 saw 365 crashes involving pedestrians and 324 crashes involving bicyclists. These accidents resulted in 23 pedestrian fatalities and three bicyclist fatalities. The Kansas Department of Transportation also reports that 371 injuries occurred as a result of these accidents.
When accidents do occur, it is important for drivers to follow through on their legal obligations to stay on the scene. Every state has made it illegal to leave the scene of an accident. The Kansas law is found at Section 8-1604 of the Kansas Statutes. This law requires any driver involved in an accident resulting in property damage, injury or death to provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number.
What accident victims can do after a hit-and-run accident
In a perfect world, the driver who caused your accident would stick around and follow all of the appropriate procedures. Unfortunately some drivers will flee the scene of a crash. After a conventional traffic accident, you would receive compensation from the negligent party's insurance company. However, Kansas law requires all drivers to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This not only covers your medical expenses and lost wages if you have been involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, it also covers losses accrued in hit-and-run accidents.
The only downside to uninsured motorist coverage is that your compensation can be reduced depending on how much fault you contributed to the accident. If you're a pedestrian or bicyclist who caries uninsured motorist coverage, your policy will also apply if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Our Kansas car accident attorneys have seen the devastating damage victims and their families must suffer as the result of another driver's negligence. Drivers who fail to meet their legal obligations to drive with due care must be held accountable for their negligence. By filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit, an injury victim is both asserting his or her own legal rights, and also protecting other potential victims from similar injuries in the future.