A motorist hit a teenage boy who became lodged in the vehicle and dragged for four blocks before getting free. The motorist stopped, which dislodged the teen, and then took off again. According to an officer at the scene, when police arrived on the scene, the teen was lying in the road. They found the vehicle abandoned and are looking for the driver and a passenger. They have urged both of them to turn themselves in.
The accident happened near the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland along the 1100 block of 35th Avenue. The teen was rushed to a nearby hospital and is listed in critical condition. Police are encouraging anyone who witnessed the accident or has information to come forward and call them at (510) 777-8750. They are offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
A hit-and-run is especially heinous as the victim feels twice victimized, first by the accident and then by the driver leaving the scene. Although in some hit-and-run accidents, the driver is truly unaware that they hit the person, that is rare. In many cases, the person would not be in trouble for the accident, but once they flee the scene, then they can be charged with a crime. California law allows for a felony in cases where the victim dies or is seriously injured.
When a person is dragged by a vehicle, their injuries are typically more severe and their chance of death increases greatly. The victim is injured by the initial impact and then from being dragged thus both adding injuries and making them more severe. Injures from being dragged can be deep lacerations, grinding injuries, skin abrasions and hemorrhaging. In many cases, the loss of blood can be significant, so getting help quickly is vital.
Dragging Injuries and Bike Helmet
A helmet can save lives in any accident, and this is especially true in a dragging accident as parts of the head can be protected from both the impact and being dragged on the street. Potholes and debris such as rocks and chunk of asphalt can cause serious or grave injury when one’s head is exposed and in contact with the street.
In California, anyone under 18 must be wearing a helmet if they are riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or wearing roller skates. This is especially important in a hit-and-run because the chances are greater for a more serious injury when the driver flees. This is because the victim is often delayed in getting medical help which can cause more severe injuries. In many crashes, the non-injured driver will call for help, but if that driver has fled, then the victim might be laying on the street for a time without help.
Helmet Laws and Dragging Injuries
Starting January 1, 2019, a new law went into effect that changes the way helmet tickets will be processed. Under the old law, when a child wasn’t wearing a helmet while riding, the parent could get a ticket that could be $25 to $200. Changes to the law allow the parent to avoid the fine if they prove to the court that they have provided a bike helmet to the child and the child has completed an approved bicycle safety course.
The hope is that this will increase helmet usage as parents will have the incentive to avoid the fine by getting a helmet and taking their child to a safety class. In 1993, when the law allowed for parents to get fined went into effect, helmet usage went from 10 percent to 60 percent in a few years. Advocates for the new law are hoping for similar results with the new law.
What if my Child is Injured and not Wearing a Helmet?
Many people feel that if they or their child is not wearing a helmet when injured in an accident, they can’t be compensated for their injuries from the at-fault person. This is not the law. Although the law does require a child to wear a helmet, this is criminal law and does not affect a person’s civil claim under personal injury law.
Many times, an insurance agent will tell someone that since they broke the law—such as helmet or seatbelt—they can’t collect an insurance payment. Don’t let them talk you out of compensation or into a lower settlement. Talk to an attorney who knows the law and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
The attorneys at Bay Area Bike Law have the knowledge and experience to help you in these cases. They are the only firm in North California that deals exclusively with bicycle law, and they have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and their lawyers. Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.
Please be aware that these case results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and case values turn on small facts and differences. Thus, the results achieved on one case do not necessarily mean the attorney will achieve the same result, or a similar result, even for a case which may have some similarities.