This past August, within 24 hours, two separate incidents of Atlanta hit and run took the lives of two south Fulton County residents. Atlanta area residents were stunned by these stories, one of which involved a victim who was simply waiting for a bus. Similar tragedies around the country are on the rise. The hit and run phenomenon seems to have coincided with increased distracted driving, DUI and perhaps some other troubling aspects of modern life that have led to a lack of care or concern about others. Few stories of hit and run have shaken a community more than a tragedy recently occurred on the streets of Chester, South Carolina.
As reported in the Huffington Post, two siblings ages 11 and seven, were waiting at a bus stop when a car came towards them. The seven-year old a little girl was saved when her 11 year old brother saw the oncoming vehicle and pushed her out of harm’s way. In doing this, he himself was struck, sustaining catastrophic injuries. He was put on life support. After it was clear that there was no hope for him regaining consciousness or brain function, his mother made the painful decision to take her son off life support. She also made an incredibly generous and important decision to donate his organs so that someone else could live and to make this generosity a part of her boy’s legacy.
After she struck the boy, the driver of the car left the scene. She has now been charged with a crime similar to one that would be charged in Georgia. Fatal hit and run is, under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-270, a felony. Georgia law requires a driver not only to stop, but if circumstances warrant it, to contact emergency medical help or provide transportation to such help. Penalties for failing to do this include imprisonment. As the woman who drove the vehicle not only struck a child and killed him, the community will undoubtedly follow her case with great interest. One would hope that the criminal aspect to this case would deter others from leaving the scene of an accident they have caused.
There is another aspect of this from a legal standpoint. That is, the boy’s parents are likely in a position to sue the woman for wrongful death of their son in a civil court action. When a person is killed due to the negligence of another person, the surviving close relatives and others in close circumstances, such as a guardian, can file a wrongful death action. These actions are an important way for the family of the deceased person can recover for lost income and other damages due to the loss of their loved one. We do not know whether the boy’s family will file a wrongful death action against the driver. We do know that the young boy is being mourned. He is also being celebrated for the hero he was. A boy who worked hard in school and loved his sports teams will be missed by so many in his community. His story has touched many across the country. His bravery in saving his sister, is remarkable. His instinct to protect her demonstrates love and courage that all parents would be grateful to see in their children.
When a family member loses his or life in an accident due to the negligence or intentional conduct of another person, Scholle Law handles these cases with legal skill, care and compassion. Please contact our law offices to discuss your situation in a confidential conversation with one of our experienced lawyers. Regardless of whether you decide to pursue such an action, you will know your rights and can perhaps more easily come to terms with your loss. We know families suffer greatly during these traumatic times and we extend our skill and compassion as we take the burden off of families and represent their interests in the Georgia courts.