A bill making its way through the California state legislature would extend the time limit that authorities have to prosecute hit-and-run drivers. A California assemblyman representing Los Angeles sponsored the legislation, known as AB 184. Its goal is to help law-enforcement investigating hit-and-run to prosecute more offenders. The proposed law would allow prosecution for such offenses under either the existing three-year statute of limitations or for one year after police identify a suspect, whichever is later.

Under existing law, drivers who leave accident scenes after injuring or killing someone can avoid criminal liability if the time to prosecute expires before law enforcement identifies them. The assemblyman remarked that thousands of individuals suffer serious personal injuries from hit-and-run accidents annually and that allowing perpetrators to evade prosecution “adds insult to injuries.” The Senate Public Safety Committee passed the bill by a 7-0 vote on June 25. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee will consider it next.

Only a month after introduction of the legislation, a bicyclist in Los Angeles was struck by a mini-van on Interstate 5, and the vehicle reportedly dragged him more than a quarter of a mile down the road before the driver sped away. He suffered many broken bones, and doctors also had to amputate one leg. A spokesman for the local bicycle coalition stated that it is “hard to encourage people” to cycle when the streets are so dangerous and so many hit-and-run drivers can evade prosecution for the personal injuries that they cause others.

Many car accidents can cause life-threatening or other serious harm, including head injuries, back and neck injuries, fractures or loss of a limb. Even more moderate personal injuries also often result in pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. After an accident, a personal injury lawyer might be able to help determine that the other driver was negligent in some way and assist clients in receiving compensation.

Source: California Newswire, “,” Christopher Simmons, June 25, 2013

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