20,000.

Incredibly, that is the number of hit-and-run crashes that occur in Los Angeles in a single year. Those hit-and-runs vary in severity — from simple fender-benders to multiple fatality accidents. According to L.A. Weekly, the national average for hit-and-run crashes is about 11 percent. Amazingly, in 2009 that rate was 48 percent in Los Angeles. Of those, 4,000 hit-and-runs within L.A. city limits resulted in injuries or deaths.

And the hit-and-run rate in Los Angeles has hovered near the 50 percent rate since 2001.

One man, whose 16-year-old son was killed by a hit-and run driver while he was jogging in the San Fernando Valley two years ago, told the Weekly “it’s like a war zone out there.” The 18-year-old driver who hit his son eventually turned herself in and did no jail time.

Safety experts surmise there are many reasons why people hit-and run: they may be drunk; they might not have insurance; they might not have a driver’s license; or they might simply think that dealing with an injury or fatality accident is going to cost too much. Regardless of the reasoning, hit-and-run drivers leave a long trail of pain, loss and suffering in their wake.

The Weekly focused on a young woman who was struck in a crosswalk so hard that her bottom teeth were knocked out, her kneecaps were shattered and her legs were broken into pieces. She currently has $10,000 in medical bills, with the likelihood that total will at least double.

The driver of the car still hasn’t been found.

To anonymously report a hit-and-run, you can call WeTip at (800) 644-8678. Or you can make a report directly on their website at wetip.com.

If you have any questions about your legal options after you have been injured in a pedestrian or automobile accident, contact The Law Office of Renée J. Nordstrand. We will fight to protect your rights. Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530. We can also be contacted online. Your consultation will be free and confidential.