Los Angeles, CA August 26, 2014
On July 23, 2014, the Los Angeles Times published a story about a recent rally in which supporters enthusiastically endorsed a new program proposed to reduce the number of hit-and-runs in Los Angeles. In “Lawmakers, Activists Rally In Favor Of Hit-And-Run Alert System,” the CBS local television station in Los Angeles reports that the rally at City Hall brought together lawmakers, police officers and others who want to put an end to the cycle of hit-and-runs that cause so much pain and anguish throughout Los Angeles.
The author of legislation designed to fight hit-and-runs, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, was at the rally to support California Assembly Bill 47, which proposes using electronic traffic signs as a means for spreading information about suspected hit-and-run drivers. The alert system would distribute a description and, if available, the license plate number of the suspected hit-and-run vehicle. The alert would be very similar to the Amber Alert system which broadcasts similar information for vehicles that are driven by alleged perpetrators of child abductions.
The attorneys of Freeman & Freeman are strong supporters of the proposed legislation. Stan Freeman, a co-founder of the law firm, says, “We hope the effort to curb hit-and-runs in the city will be successful. The problem is so bad in Los Angeles that it has almost come to be an accepted fact of life in the city. This is unacceptable. One hit-and-run crash is too many, but in Los Angeles far too many drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and other people are injured or killed by hit-and-run drivers. We hope that AB-47 becomes law and that it puts an end to this epidemic.”
The epidemic that Freeman refers to has been well-documented. According to the same local CBS News story that detailed the recent rally and outlined AB 47, approximately “20,000 hit-and-runs are reported in L.A. every year, and less than 20 percent of the offenders are caught” (“Lawmakers, Activists Rally In Favor Of Hit-And-Run Alert System”).
In 2012, the LA Weekly’s Simone Wilson offered a detailed expose about the hit-and-run problem in Los Angeles that was published on December 6 of that year. “L.A.’s Bloody Hit-and-Run Epidemic” shared data indicating that in most large metropolitan areas, the percentage of car accidents that are hit-and-run hovers around 11%. In Los Angeles, nearly 48% of car crashes are hit-and-run.
“Clearly the status quo is not working,” says Steven Freeman, co-founder of Freeman & Freeman, LLP. “When the numbers are this high, action is required. We cannot simply hope that these types of incidents stop happening. If recent news is any indication, the problem is worse than ever before.”
He refers to the high number of hit-and-run crashes that have occurred recently in Los Angeles:
????August 19, 2014. CBS News Los Angeles reports on a fatal hit-and-run in Fullerton. “Man In Wheelchair Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver In Fullerton.”
????August 7, 2014. CBS News Los Angeles details a hit-and-run with injuries in West Hollywood. “4 Injured In WeHo After Assault, Hit-And-Run.”
????July 31, 2014. MyFOX LA reports a hit-and-run in North Hollywood. “Teen Killed, Brother Injured In Hit And Run Accident.”
????July 28, 2014. NBC 4 Southern California reports on a hit-and-run in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles. “Police Search for Hit-and-Run Driver in Fatal Collision With Pedestrians.”
“Every week there seems to be a new hit-and-run fatality. These are particularly common with pedestrians and bicyclists. But vehicle drivers are also struck quite often and the other driver flees the scene. All of these cases may become legally complex because when a driver flees the scene of a crash, the driver takes their insurance with them,” Steven Freeman explains. “At Freeman & Freeman, we represent clients in these situations especially when they must fight to get compensation from their own insurer. When the other driver flees, the victims own insurance is supposed to be enough. Often it is not. This is when we have to advocate for our injured client especially when their own insurance company denies or endlessly delays their claim.”
Stan Freeman adds that “we have handled many cases like this and are prepared to handle many more. But our sincere hope is that the new system and other community efforts will significantly reduce the high number of hit-and-runs that occur in LA. There is no doubt that the current situation represents a significant threat to public safety.”