Law enforcement officers are investigating a 6-year-old child’s death after he was struck by a car several weeks ago. He was struck by a car on his birthday as he attempted to cross the street in the 5300 block of Livingston Road, SE in D.C. at about 8:30 p.m. Friends and family at the birthday party called an ambulance right away. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead after resuscitation attempts failed.
Leaving after Colliding in Washington, D.C.
The driver initially fled the scene of the accident. This potentially criminal action is commonly called a hit-and-run accident. The driver didn’t automatically report the accident and he didn’t wait for D.C. police to arrive at the scene. Washington, D. C. law refers to the event as a “leaving after colliding” event. When this type of accident occurs, the driver must 1) stop to ensure that emergency assistance is called, as needed, and 2) identify himself or herself to law enforcement officers, as well as the injured person.
• In this example, if the driver is a first-time violator, he faces a maximum 180 days in jail, plus a maximum $1,000 fine.
• If he was involved in a leaving while colliding accident before, he’s subject to a maximum 12-month jail term plus $2,500 fine.
Considerations in the Example
In this example, the driver didn’t stop to contact emergency assistance, didn’t identify himself to witnesses, and didn’t wait for officers to arrive at the scene. Fortunately, witnesses of the accident were able to describe the vehicle to police. Several hours after the accident, the driver contacted police and admitted to the hit and run accident that killed the child. He later turned himself in to police in Prince George’s County.
Wrongful Death in Washington, D.C.
District of Columbia Code Section 16-2701 says wrongful death is an injury that leads to the death of an individual, caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. In D.C., the definition of wrongful death says that the action that caused death would have been the possible basis for a personal injury claim if the injured party had lived. Next of kin, such as parents in this example, may file a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver and his insurer. If the plaintiff is awarded damages, the insurer distributes them to the parent(s) or next of kin in a proportionate manner according to the loss suffered.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious bodily injury or wrongful death as a result of a negligent driver in Washington, D.C., contact an experienced, compassionate personal injury law firm now. Contact The Abelson Law Firm to discuss your case now.