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Rhode Island pedestrian killed in hit and run tragedy

Karns & Kerrison

Hit and run accidents that involve a pedestrian often inflict irreversible damage and leave a victim and/or their family with deep emotional turmoil. A Rhode Island driver that hurts someone with their car and tries to escape for fear of being caught drinking and driving, or for some other reason, may face serious criminal consequences. A man walking along a roadway in Newport recently lost his life in a hit and run car accident after the driver left him on the side of the road without rendering care or otherwise contacting the authorities.

The late night tragedy took place on a local roadway near an overpass when a pedestrian was reportedly walking with difficulty along the side of the road. As the man purportedly stumbled along, an oncoming vehicle ran into him. The driver made the decision to take off after the collision. A driver that leaves the scene of a Rhode Island motor vehicle accident involving personal injury or death may be charged with a felony offense.

Authorities believe that the impact from the crash took the man’s life. It is unclear if he may have survived had emergency workers been contacted immediately after the crash. After a seven hour absence, the car driver apparently went to the police station and turned herself in. It is unclear if a blood draw and/or breath test was administered at that time.

Police arrested the New York woman for her involvement in the death of the pedestrian, but they did not disclose the charges anticipated against her. This case underscores an important legal principle regarding hit and run accidents. In Rhode Island, the doctrine of comparative negligence permits recovery in a personal injury or wrongful death claim even if the victim was more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Thus, if a jury determined that the victim was 80 percent negligent by -- for instance -- walking drunk along a roadway, and the driver was found to be 20 percent negligent, the deceased victim's estate would still be entitled to recover 20 percent of the monetary damages sustained. In this case, if the woman is convicted in criminal court, proof of it may advance the cause of the victim's surviving family in a related civil court proceeding.

Source:, "Man killed in hit-and-run accident in Newport", Barbara Polichetti, Aug. 3, 2014


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