A Queens man faces multiple charges after he allegedly caused a fatal car crash and did not remain at the scene.
Police state that 23-year-old Duke Obule, of Cambria Heights, slammed into a taxi with his BMW in Franklin Square. According to witnesses, the BMW pushed the cab across two lanes of traffic, up over the sidewalk, and pinned it against a utility pole. The cab driver – a 47-year-old Elmont resident whose name was not released – was declared dead at the scene; the taxi passenger – a 20-year-old woman – was rushed to the local hospital with a serious leg fracture, but doctors are optimistic that she will walk again.
Mr. Obule, who may have been speeding, was apprehended about an hour after the crash.
Hit and Run Accidents
About fifty percent of drivers that leave the scene of a collision are successfully prosecuted in criminal court. The proportion of drivers that are held liable in civil court may be somewhat higher, because of the lower standard of proof in civil court. The vast majority of hit and run drivers flee the scene because they have something to hide. Commonly, they are either uninsured or underinsured.
To find drivers, an attorney often partners with a private investigator, who does certain things that first responders may not have done, including:
- Inquiring at local body shops,
- Staking out the area to see if the vehicle returns, and
- Canvassing the neighborhood to search for additional witnesses.
If the vehicle’s owner is identified, that relationship is normally sufficient to establish liability in civil court. In such situations, punitive damages are sometimes available, because leaving the scene of an injury collision is considered by many to be serious misconduct.
Even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is never identified, there may still be compensation available. Most victims can file claims against their own insurance companies for damages; since the insurance company does not want to lose a customer, these matters often settle fairly quickly. If a settlement is not reached, the case will probably go to arbitration instead of trial, because most policyholders cannot sue their own insurance companies.
“Hit and run” does not mean “no compensation is available.” For a free consultation with attorneys who are committed to maximum recovery, contact Proner & Proner. Our main office is conveniently located near Grand Central Terminal.