Buffalo Car Accident Lawyer James E. Morris Comments on Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident

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Buffalo personal injury attorney James E. Morris discusses responsibility in response to a recent court ruling in a fatal hit-and-run pedestrian accident in Niagara Falls.

Leaving the scene of an accident and failing to render aid is not just a morally reprehensible decision, but it’s a crime.

Buffalo car accident attorney James E. Morris of the Law Offices of James E. Morris said today the recent sentencing of a man involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in Niagara Falls illustrates the serious consequences of fleeing the scene of an accident.

A Niagara County Court judge sentenced a 55-year-old Niagara Falls man to between 16 months and 4 years in prison for killing a 26-year-old woman in a hit-and-run accident, according to the Wall Street Journal on March 7.

“The law states that a driver must stop and render aid in an accident,” Morris said. “Leaving the scene of an accident and failing to render aid is not just a morally reprehensible decision, but it’s a crime. For the victim and the victim’s family, a hit-and-run accident is devastating.”

Nicole Rodriguez, the 26-year-old woman killed in the June 18, 2012, accident caused by Francis Maikranz, was crossing the street with her son when she was struck down, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper stated that her son was also hit, but he was treated and released from a hospital.

Morris said generally hit-and-run accidents may involve someone who flees the scene because the driver is wanted by law enforcement. In other cases, the driver might be intoxicated and flees to avoid being arrested for DWI.

Morris said anyone involved in a hit-and-run accident should first take stock of any injuries, then call 911 immediately. “To the best of your ability, describe all the details you can recollect about the driver and the driver’s vehicle. If you can, write down what you remember about the driver and the car. Take pictures of the accident scene,” Morris said. “If there are any witnesses, make sure their contact information is included in the police report.”

Morris said not to try to track down the hit-and-run driver on your own. “Leave that to the police, because that person might be dangerous,” Morris said.

A 2003 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that hit-and-run accidents account for 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities nationwide. Those figures are based on a study of pedestrian fatalities between 1998 and 2001. During those four years, 3,612 people to 4,003 people died each year in pedestrian accidents. According to the most recent statistics, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and 70,000 people were injured in pedestrian accidents nationwide in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“It’s critical to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer after a hit-and-run accident,” Morris said. “An attorney can help protect the rights of the injury victim and the victim’s family. The individual responsible for the accident needs to be held accountable not only to compensate the victim and the family, but to send a message that this type of behavior should not be tolerated.”

About the Law Offices of James E. Morris

James E. Morris is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University at Buffalo Law School. He has been practicing law in Western New York for more than 25 years. Morris has achieved the highest rating of "10.0 Superb" by national independent rating service Avvo and "AV Preeminent®" by Martindale-Hubbell. In 2004, he formed his practice, which is 100 percent devoted to personal injury and wrongful death litigation. The law firm does not charge any legal fees unless their client is victorious.

For more information about what to do after hit and run accident in New York and the legal options available to families, call (716) 855-1118 or toll-free at (800) 477-9044 for a free case evaluation, or complete the online contact form.

The Law Offices of James Morris is located at 350 Main Street, Suite 2405, Buffalo, New York 14202.

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