HIT AND RUN CASE IN INDIA BY: RACHITA MATHUR

Hit-and-run cases in India are covered under Motor Vehicles Act, 2019. This act explains the laws which are imposed on the driver or on an individual involved in hit-and-run accidents. Due to lack of evidence it becomes difficult for the police to investigate the matter. Sometimes due to the speeding vehicles and rush it also becomes difficult for the eyewitnesses to see how exactly the accident took place due to which they aren’t able to help with the investigation. The police left with no option have to rely on the indirect piece of evidence in such cases. It becomes very hard to identify and punish these culprits as the reason earlier mentioned that there is a lack of evidence and witnesses. However there are many instances when the law has convicted them as well. According to the data of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the accidents which take place between vehicles and pedestrians cause one death every 1.6 hours on roads and highways. There are a number of Civil and Criminal consequences which drivers have to face if he/she is at fault.

Criminal consequence

According to section 279 of motor vehicle Act (MTA) when a driver accidentally strikes a pedestrian and after the accident he/ she stops there at the scene where the accident took place then the driver might face personal injury lawsuits and a higher car insurance premium but in case if a driver flees from the accident spot than he or she might get arrest or a potential prison sentence. The section futher states that  it is stated that any person who drives vehicles rashly on a public road will be guilty under this section. Persons found guilty under this section have to face imprisonment for 6 months, fine of Rs 1000/- or both can be imposed on a driver. The offence committed under this section is bailable and is cognizable by the district magistrate.

According to section 304 A After a vehicle-pedestrian accident if it is proved that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs then he/she might get a DUI convict or arrest. Under this the driver will have to face higher fines, jail or harsh driver’s license penalties. It is stated that if a driver is not intoxicated but leads to the death of a person in the accident then he/she will be liable under this section. The driver may face imprisonment of year which may extend up to 2 years with a fine of more than Rs 1000/- or both. The offence committed under this section is a non-bailable offence.

According to Section 302 if a vehicle is operated by driver in a very reckless manner. The essential element under this section is a driver’s reckless disregard of the substantial risk caused by his or her driving. The offence of murder, Driver booked under this section might face imprisonment for life or death penalty.  Whereas in case of the accident by the minor then the act imposes the 3 years of the jail to the parents along with heavy fines.

 

Civil Consequence

Personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim:

In order to file a personal injury lawsuit or to get an insurance claim then it has to be proven that the driver was at fault. This can be done by taking statements from the witness, the parties involved in the accident and examining any police report which is made after the crash. The injured person might ask for compensation from the driver for all the injuries and the damages which are associated with the accident. Their compensation might include payment for medical expenses, time missed at workplace, pain and suffering caused by accident etc.

Wrongful death lawsuit:

The surviving member of deceased persons is to bring a lawsuit against the person who is responsible for causing death. In order to get this kind of claim, one has to prove that there is negligence on the part of the driver which caused the accident and then ask for compensation for the survivor’s losses. This compensation might include expenses incurred for the funeral, loss of deceased support.

Case law

Mercedes case:

In this case the accused was a teenager at the time of the accident that allegedly ran over 32 years old Siddharth Sharma with his father’s Mercedes. According to the police the incident took place at night. In this case the juvenile was kept in custody for over 8 hours and later he was released on bail.

Reliance lawyer case:

In this case Janhavi Gadkar, who was 35 years old at that time, was a vice president with a legal team at Reliance Industries Limited. In this case she was booked under culpable homicide not amounting to murder along with rash driving charges.

Conclusion

At the end I want to conclude that the usual reason found behind hit-and-run cases are rash driving, drink and drive etc and the Compensation given to victims is very low.

 

 

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