Unfortunately, drivers who strike and kill pedestrians and cyclists rarely face any criminal charges, according to newspaper investigative reports around the country. Whether in the D.C. area, Georgia, the Midwest, Florida, or California, drivers get let off the hook if they give a good enough excuse as to why they “accidentally” killed a pedestrian or bicyclist. While both of those vulnerable users (pedestrians and cyclists) have many of the same rights to the road, and in many cases when cyclists are even treated like a vehicle, law enforcement does not press charges against the driver who hit them. In fact, an investigation in Minneapolis found that the majority of fatal collisions with pedestrians did not lead to criminal charges. Those who were charged were given traffic citations or misdemeanor offenses, such as careless driving or speeding.
Drivers Are Only Charged with a Crime After DUI Homicides and Hit and Run Fatalities
The only time that a driver can expect any criminal charges for taking a vulnerable road user’s life, or causing serious bodily injury, is when the driver either flees the scene or was driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI homicide). However, if the driver was drunk when they hit the pedestrian or cyclist, fleeing the scene is often used as a tactically wise, though incredibly immoral, decision on the driver’s behalf, because a hit and run fatality is typically not penalized as heavily as DUI homicide. When it comes down to it, the transportation system and the laws are stacked against pedestrians and bicyclists in many ways.
Gathering Evidence for Civil Justice
While laws simply do not protect vulnerable road users to the degree that drivers are protected, if you lost a loved one or were seriously injured as a cyclist or pedestrian, you can take some degree of solace by winning reasonable compensation in civil court. An attorney can help you maximize this compensation by showing that your loved one, or you, were not at fault to any degree. Police reports are often biased against pedestrians and cyclists, as are juries, which is why it is always necessary to prove with ample evidence, forensics, and crash scene reconstructionists that the victim was fully in the right. Any percentage that the victim is found to be at fault subtracts that percentage from the driver’s financial liability. Only an experienced Philadelphia attorney can make this possible.
Call a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Today
We understand that no financial award or settlement will bring back your loved one or right the physical and emotional wrongs that were dealt to you. Careless, reckless, drunk, and drowsy drivers take thousands of innocent lives every year, and pedestrians are seemingly roadkill in the eyes of how Pennsylvania law is written. For financial justice, call van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin today at (215) 486-0123.