Any time you are on foot and you are near vehicular traffic, you're at risk of being hit by one of those vehicles. Given the immutable realities of physiology and physics, any pedestrian crash is likely to cause severe or fatal harm to the pedestrian. If that's happened to you or a loved one, the law in California allows you to seek compensation. When it comes time to pursue this vital compensation, a knowledgeable Santa Barbara pedestrian lawyer can be essential to getting everything the law says you deserve.
The brutal reality is that this sort of accident happens far too often. In 2022, 144 pedestrians and an additional 50 bicyclists lost their lives in hit-and-run accidents. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, data from 2020 showed that nearly 1/4 (23%) of all pedestrians killed in crashes were the victims of hit-and-run drivers. Additionally, more than 1/4 (25.6%) of all traffic fatalities in this state were pedestrians. That means that, out of all the people killed on California's highways and roads, nearly 6% were pedestrians run down by hit-and-run drivers.
In one Santa Barbara County pedestrian accident, a 45-year-old woman was walking along a road near Highway 154 north of Goleta when a vehicle struck her and fled the scene. By the time emergency responders arrived, the pedestrian was dead.
The police soon found the driver and he was eventually charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Sadly, in many hit-and-run accidents, the police never discover who the at-fault driver was.
What to Do If the Hit-and-Run Driver Isn't Found
Even if the hit-and-run driver who hit your loved one is never found, you may still have options for obtaining much-needed financial compensation for your family. One option lies in your (or your loved one's) auto insurance policy. All auto insurance policies automatically include coverage for harm caused by uninsured/underinsured motorists (called "UIM" or "UM" coverage.)
This coverage can potentially allow substantial recoveries. Last year, a Bay Area woman and her mother were struck by an SUV while exiting a hospital on foot, killing the mother. The woman filed a UIM claim and, after battling her insurer in an arbitration hearing, recovered the policy limit of $1 million for the severe emotional harm she suffered.
Additionally, there may be options involving the civil justice system. These potentially could include bringing a lawsuit where one or more unknown defendants are identified solely as "John Doe" or "Does." Alternately, it's possible the hit-and-run driver wasn't the only one to blame. Perhaps the roadway area where the crash occurred had excessively poor visibility, an unreasonably faded-out crosswalk, or other significant safety hazards. If that's the situation, then it's possible that you can seek compensation from the city, county, or other governmental entity that was responsible for ensuring the maintenance, repair, and safety of the roadway in question.
Whether it's an at-fault driver, their insurance company, or your insurance company, entities with liability obligations often fight having to pay. When it comes to battling for what you're owed, the skillful Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to help you get the restorative justice you deserve. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.