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Arizona law changes to protect hit and run victims

Hit and run accidents are some of the most heartbreaking and tragic traffic accidents that happen in the state of Arizona, due to the very nature of hitting someone in a vehicle and fleeing the scene. Whilst any car accident is costly, causes painful injuries, and sometimes changes someone’s life forever, when a hit and run involves a pedestrian or cyclist vs. a car, sadly the outcome often means death. 

The law in America has always required any person involved in a car accident to remain at the scene, and leaving immediately means the driver is in breach of this legal requirement. But what is the punishment for breaking this law?  We explore what spurred on these changes and why penalties for hit and run accidents have only got tougher. 

Protecting hit and run victims with ‘Joeys Law’

In 2012, the state of Arizona changed its laws to help seek justice for the victims and ensure tougher punishment on drivers who cause the accidents. Protecting victims of hit-and-run accidents was a long time coming, as before changes in 2012 were introduced many drivers who were found guilty were receiving a range of punishment form suspended sentences to a maximum of 2 years in prison. So what prompted the changes in the law?

Tragically the revision to a law, named “Joey’s Law” came after an Arizona teenager, 18-year-old Joey Romero, lost his life in a hit-and-run accident. We previously covered this case that saw driver Laura Flanders was drowsy on medication when she hit Joey on a sidewalk and simply kept on driving.  She was found guilty of one count of manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident that saw her receive 6 years in prison. 

Whilst this was a tragic case, Joey’s family was pleased that state law now serves harsher punishment and jail time for those found guilty but in his particular case, felt her punishment wasn’t enough.

What can you do if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is often a stressful and traumatic time as the shock of someone fleeing the accident can be overwhelming. Our experienced attorneys have handled many cases like this and would recommend trying the following to help any future legal case you or your family will want to file;

  • Always call for help first– if you can. Having assistance on-scene will help your accident case, from paramedics to the police- having someone professional can help your case further down the line
  • Appeal to any witnesses from the scene– they may have made note of license plates or have a description of the vehicle that may prove helpful to the Police
  • Don’t let anyone try to chase or follow the vehicle in question– the Police will be able to offer assistance with that

If you need assistance with your own hit-and-run accident case or want to chat with our team today about any related legal matter, call us (480) 634-7480 today and find out just how we could help you.

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