Automobile Defects

Hit and Run Accidents

Posted By on Feb 16, 2016

It can be very confusing and difficult to deal with a hit and run incident, especially if you are the victim or the accident. Hit and run accident does raise a number of legal problems; potential civil and criminal cases for the runner who caused the accident, and the problems that the victim will face in order to get compensation. The legal consequences of a hit and run accident goes far beyond a simple traffic accident, as more likely the victim would have suffered serious injuries and feeling the scene of the accident makes the runner more blameworthy.

Laws regarding hit and run accidents require drivers to stop, give their identification and provide assistance to the victim or victims. This ensures that victims of auto accidents are given the necessary medical assistance for their injuries and property damage is covered by compensation. In statutes that do not specify hit and run should only occur in public roads, hit and run that occurred in private property can also be considered a violation of the law.

Just as with any personal injury claims, there are certain factors that should be present in order to make a hit and run viable. First, the driver should have knowledge of the accident, even if the evidence is circumstantial. Williams Kherkher is among the many personal injury lawyers who help represent victims of auto accident and hit and runs, and the responsibilities of the driver who hit the victim may vary depending on the state. Some states require drivers to stop, assist, and give their ID to the victim regardless of whether there is injury or property damage, while some states require drivers to be aware of the accident and resulting injuries and damages before stopping. Providing the necessary identification (name, address, and phone number) is generally enough for the requirement, and those who give out false information may risk criminal prosecution.

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Since the Volkswagen scandal became public, the future of the large German automotive company was unclear. Volkswagen admitted to installing “defeat devices” in over about 500,000 US vehicles and 11 million worldwide, which enabled their vehicles to detect when emission tests were being performed and reduce the amount of pollutants emitted during the test. However, when the cars were actually being driven on the road, the cars could emit up to 40 times the legal amount of pollutants.

Amid the scandal, Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn has already resigned and stock prices have plummeted 30 percent. In addition, although Volkswagen has already set aside $7.3 billion to alleviate the scandal, they may face more substantial fines. Since VW knowingly violated the Clean Air Act, they could face a fine of up to $37,500 for each of the 482,000 affected US vehicles—adding up to more than $18 billion. Volkswagen also faces countless lawsuits from furious owners of the affected vehicles, who bought the models specifically for their supposed friendly impact on the environment.

Investigations are still underway against Volkswagen. If it is revealed that company officials knew about or concealed the scandal, criminal charges may also be a possibility. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of the scandal is the large stake Volkswagen placed on their clean diesel vehicles to establish their brand. VW was one of the first companies to offer clean diesel vehicles that accounted for a large percentage of their sales in the past year. Owners of these vehicles are expressing their outrage publicly at the company and complaints against the company continue to pile up. Needless to say, VW’s future reputation and the impact of the scandal on their sales are unclear. Although dealers have been ordered to halt sales of affected vehicles, no official recall has been made yet.

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