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Case studies – Hit and run accident claims

Because of the nature of the offence, hit and run drivers, receive a lot of media attention especially those who have killed or severely injured someone.

A recent cases this year described how a hit and run driver was handed a nine-year sentence for killing a 70-year-old woman driving at 70mph in a 30mph zone. Salim Chand admitted causing death by dangerous driving, perverting the course of justice and driving without a licence.

An uninsured driver who killed a baby in a hit and run crash has been jailed for four and a half years after an accident which happened last November. Kabir Khan, driving a customised Mitsubishi Evolution, was driving at 92mph in a 30mph zone when he was in collision with the vehicle in which the baby was travelling. The baby’s parents and grandparents, who were also in the vehicle, were all badly injured in the crash. Khan admitted causing death by careless driving along with charges of driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop, failing to report an accident and driving with no insurance.

In another case a pharmacist, Afzaal Khan, was sentenced to two and a half years in jail after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. He was speeding through the streets of Bury, Greater Manchester, when he overtook a car in the wrong lane and jumped a red light before running down 63-year-old David Bennett. He stopped momentarily at the scene before driving off but later handed himself into the police.

Finally a 28-year-old woman was detained indefinitely in a secure hospital after knocking down and killing an 11-year-old boy. Hannah Saaf was high on cannabis and driving at twice the 30mph limit when she hit Sam Riddall in Bristol. She drove away from the scene and was finally captured by police after a nine-day hunt. She pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Sadly the list of hit and run cases, in the first few months of 2011 alone is a long one and there are calls from various bodies for stricter sentences when dealing with incidents where the guilty driver flees the scene.

In 2009 a judge voiced his frustrations at being forced to impose a sentence of just two years after an uninsured hit and run driver left his victim, a 21-year-old, bedridden and unable to talk or move properly unaided. The court heard that the driver had a previous conviction for the same offence and had failed to stop, abandoning the vehicle before it was found the next day.

Judge Metcalf told the court that dangerous driving carried a “ridiculous level of sentence. The offence of causing death by careless driving, which has a maximum sentence of five years, was introduced in 2007 to provide an alternative to the offences of careless driving which did not lead to a jail term and causing death by dangerous driving, which had a maximum sentence of 14 years. However, because the driver was charged with dangerous driving he only faced a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment. Of course if the victim had died the sentence could have been more severe.

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