Another pedestrian has been killed on Saturday in a San Francisco hit-and-run fatality when a minivan hit a 40-50-year-old man. The pedestrian was left on the street suffering from severe trauma and he later died from his injuries.
This type of conduct angers me greatly. I understand motorists making mistakes and being negligent. They still need to be made accountable, however that conduct is not necessarily reprehensible. However, when a motorist runs over a pedestrian and leaves them to suffer in the street, this becomes far worse than mere negligence. This becomes intentional conduct and should be treated as such. The volume, mix and pace of Bay Area traffic can be a problem for anyone operating any vehicle, however pedestrians and bicycle riders are especially vulnerable to hit-and-run drivers.
People walking in crosswalks, standing on sidewalks or jogging roadside in San Francisco are victimized too frequently, as are bicycle riders. Serious, life-changing injuries almost always result when a car, truck, bus or other vehicle hits a pedestrian or a bicyclist and then drives away. Car accidents can produce horrific injuries however, a pedestrian is all the more vulnerable to being struck a second time or to being the victim of some other secondary event. Even the elements can worsen the injuries if a person is left injured on the road. Many times, quick medical care could save the victim.
When we go for a walk on a sidewalk in the San Francisco Bay Area, we should feel confident that we will not be harmed, especially by a motorist on the sidewalk. Needless to say, we expect to return home at night. A hit-and-run such as this shakes all of our confidence. We have a right to assume the proper conduct of others sharing the streets with us. And the only way we can navigate the streets without suffering from crippling paranoia is by assuming that most other people on the road will obey the rules of the road.
From a legal perspective, even if the hit-and-run driver is not found, the surviving family of the pedestrian who was killed can make a claim for wrongful death damages under the Uninsured Motorist coverage in their own automobile insurance policy, or the policy of the decedent, and if any health insurance paid medical bills before the pedestrian succumbed to his injuries, that health insurance would not have to be paid back.
About the author:
Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area pedestrians and bicyclists. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a San Francisco pedestrian accident attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured pedestrians throughout his legal career.
Claude A. Wyle is a partner of Choulos Choulos, and Wyle, a San Francisco based law firm dedicated to representing clients who have been injured by the wrongful conduct of individuals, corporations, public entities, and businesses. Mr. Wyle also frequently sits as a Judge Pro Tem for the city and county of San Francisco.