Hit-and-run drivers increase risk of serious or fatal injuries for victims of Chicago car accidents

The Chicago Daily Herald is calling for tougher punishment for those caught leaving the scene of a Chicago car accident.

The paper said it was raising the issue after two high-profile cases: The son of the Elk Grove Village mayor was fined $195 for leaving the scene after striking a parked car; and a DuPage County judge was fined $500 after leaving the scene of an accident involving a parked car in Glen Ellyn.

But hardly a week goes by that our Chicago car accident lawyers are not reporting serious or fatal injuries caused in a hit-and-run accident.

The newspaper questions whether the law is tough enough, since a driver is likely to suffer less punishment for leaving the scene of an accident than for DUI; and research suggests an offender convicted of DUI is much more likely to have their driver’s license suspended.

While the penalties are much more severe for leaving the scene of serious or fatal accidents, the media continues to report almost daily occurrences. Often a driver panics, but the decision can be life-threatening for a victim, especially in cases involving a cyclist or pedestrian who is left on the ground, often in the dark, usually with very serious injuries.

The law requires that you stop and offer assistance to an injury victim; that you trade basic information with other drivers involved; and that you notify authorities, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Those caught leaving the scene can be fined up to $2,500 and sentenced to up to one year in jail. If a driver fails to report a crash for over 30 minutes after it occurred, they may be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to up to three years in prison.

Common reasons that drivers do not stop at the scene of a crash include impaired driving, speeding, and driving without a license or proper insurance. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that 86 unlicensed drivers have been involved in the state’s 459 fatal crashes so far this year.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago injury attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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