Fleeing the scene of an auto-pedestrian accident is more than just ethically wrong. It’s against the law in Illinois, and can carry a prison sentence of between three and fourteen years if the pedestrian dies. But this heinous act also does something else: it erodes the credibility of the individual who fled the scene.
This point can be illustrated in the tragic case of a hit-and-run accident in the Chicago suburb of Gurnee in Lake County. Early Saturday morning around 3:45am, a 31-year old man was reportedly chasing his dog near the interchange between Washington Street and southbound Skokie Highway (also known as Route 41). The man’s body was discovered next to that of his wounded dog (who later died as well). Right now, police do not have any idea about the identification of the driver or the vehicle that caused the hit-and-run accident.
Based on statistics, the chances are very good that authorities will discover who struck and killed the 31-year old man on that foggy morning. And here’s an important point: if the victim suddenly darted out of the fog in front of the vehicle and the driver couldn’t stop, it’s possible that the death would be ruled an accident and the driver would not be held responsible. But since the driver chose to flee the scene, it sheds doubt on his or her account of the events – even if they exonerate the driver.
This is relevant should the victim’s surviving relatives choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against whomever is discovered to be the driver. If a jury concludes that the driver was liable for the man’s death, they could order the defendant to pay monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care and companionship, reimbursement of burial expenses, and estimate future wages that the victim would have earned in his working lifetime.