Hit and Run Wrongful Death

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gilbert June 2, 2021

Who Is at Fault in This Georgia Hit and Run Accident?

A Mississippi man is facing serious felony hit and run charges after causing the death of a pedestrian in Douglas County, Georgia. The driver, Joshua Walker, 21, was returning home from work at 1 a.m. with his brother when he struck twenty-seven-year-old Luther Daron Wortham, Jr., who had also been working that night at a nearby apartment complex. According to the police report, Walker then left the scene, only to return a short time later, hitting Wortham a second time before leaving again.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 40-6-270 (2013) is very clear that drivers must stop/return/remain at the accident scene and summon emergency and law enforcement services. Failure to do so results in a felony prison sentence of not less than one year and not more than five years when a fatality occurs.

The circumstances of the case should lead to an interesting ruling, since both parties may be found to be partially at fault. Surely Mr. Walker was in the wrong for leaving the scene. He expresses regret and blames panic and did turn himself into the Douglas County Sheriff’s office approximately three hours later. Mr. Walker may also point to some of Mr. Wortham’s actions as mitigating factors. Luther Wortham wasn’t a very visible pedestrian that night, since he was walking in the road with the flow of traffic rather than against it, dressed in dark clothing. Insurers may try to use the age of the victim and/or his actions as a reason to reduce the payout.

Walker’s bail was set at $20,000 (in addition to orders for psychological counseling because of Mr. Walker’s emotional state), despite the objections of the victim’s sister, who expressed concern that Mr. Walker would be a flight risk.

Seeking Compensation for Atlanta Wrongful Death

Families and loved ones with legitimate claims as beneficiaries to the deceased’s estate have every right to be concerned. They certainly want to see justice meted out for the wrongful death of the person who died. But they also need to be compensated for their losses, including medical expenses incurred before dying as well as the pain and suffering the victim experienced before death. An Atlanta wrongful death attorney will also seek recovery for lost wages, future earnings, and loss of consortium and household services. Further, the decisions set forth in Battle v. Kilcrease, 54. Ga. App. 808, 810, 189 S.E. 573 (1936) and Keenan v. Hill, 190 Ga. App. 108, 109, 378 S.E. 2d (1989) establish that hit and run drivers may also be subject to punitive damages sought by the deceased’s loved ones’ civil action because of the conscious and indifferent behavior of the at-fault driver.

Don’t become a statistic that results in unnecessary expense and suffering. Whether walking or driving after hours, it is important to always remain on alert and prepared for unexpected road conditions. And if the unthinkable happens, don’t magnify the suffering and increase your punishment by fleeing the scene. Instead, do all you can to mitigate the damage by summoning help and providing your name, address, driver’s license, and insurance information.