The state of Florida has some of the highest rates of hit and run accidents in the country. Since these types of accidents are so common, people need to understand what they are and who pays the damages of these types of accidents. When this type of accident occurs, the process can be complicated and confusing for those unfamiliar with these situations. A hit and run accident attorney can be beneficial in pursuing action for damages caused by a Florida hit and run accident.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
Florida law requires that anyone driving a motor vehicle that is involved in an accident is required to stop and provide their information to the others involved in the accident. This includes other drivers, pedestrians, or property owners. The driver involved in the accident should provide to all involved persons their name, address, vehicle information, and driver’s license.
The driver should also provide information to the police officer that is on the scene. The driver should also provide reasonable aid to anyone injured in the accident, including contacting emergency services or providing transportation to a hospital. A Florida hit and run accident occur when the driver leaves the scene of an accident without doing all these necessary things.
Penalty for a Hit and Run Accident
The laws regarding a Florida hit and run accident vary greatly depending on whether the accident caused only damage or if someone was injured or killed in the accident. A property damage hit and run case can include hitting a moving vehicle, a parked vehicle, or other private or public property. A person that is involved in an accident that only involves property faces a second-degree misdemeanor.
If the accident caused an injury, whether it be a moving vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist, the penalties are far more severe. In Florida, it can be considered a second or third-degree felony. The driver faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $5,000, and will have their driver’s license revoked for at least three years.
If the accident results in a death, the driver who left the scene can face very severe consequences. A fatal hit and run accident is considered a first-degree felony. In the state of Florida, the mandatory minimum sentence for this crime is four years in prison and a maximum of 30 years. They also face a $10,000 fine and loss of their license for three years or more.
What You Should Do if Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?
If you are involved in a Florida hit and run accident, the first thing you should do is take steps to ensure that you and your passengers are safe. Next, if you are able, move your vehicle to a safe location out of the flow of traffic. Then, you should contact the police. Do not attempt to follow or chase the driver that has left the scene of the accident.
You should, however, make a note of all the information you can about the accident. If you can remember the type of vehicle or any distinguishing marks about the vehicle, such as a bumper sticker or damage, write it down. If you managed to see the license plate, write down everything you remember. Even if you did not get the entire number, write down what you have or even the state where the license plate is from can be helpful.
If you did see the driver of the other vehicle, it could be very helpful in determining who the driver was during the crash. It is also important that you write down all the circumstances involving the accident. Other things that can help identify the other driver are pieces of their car left behind during the accident or security cameras from nearby businesses that may have captured the accident.
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and frustrating experience no matter the circumstances. When you are the subject of a hit and run accident, it can be even more frustrating and confusing. Figuring out who pays for damages when the other driver leaves the scene makes things more confusing. A hit and run accident attorney can help sort out many of these questions. They can also assist in finding the person responsible.
Unfortunately, finding the hit and run driver may take a lot of time or may not even be possible. This means that the damages to your property may often fall to you. However, you must examine your insurance policy. You may have additional coverages that can help with the damages to your vehicle or your property.
Collision coverage is one type of insurance that will help in this situation. You must check with your insurance agent to determine the amount of coverage you have and the amounts of your deductibles. This can help you get the repairs you need to get back to normal while you and your attorney attempt to find the person who left the accident.
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Coverage?
Another type of additional coverage that may help in a hit and run accident is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This optional insurance protects in accidents where the at-fault driver either has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover the damages and injuries that they caused.
Although a hit and run accident is not a typical no insurance situation, it still qualifies for the uninsured and underinsured type of insurance coverage. Since the driver is unknown, this coverage essential in helping you if the driver is never found. Contacting your insurance agent will help you find out the limits of your insurance and always get as much of this type of insurance as you can afford.
You must seek medical care immediately after an accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. Waiting to receive care may limit your ability to get proper coverage and may exacerbate your injuries. The PIP insurance will help cover the medical expenses and lost income from the accident.
Unfortunately, when a serious injury occurs, the costs of care and lost wages can add up quickly. This can often cause the costs to exceed the limits of your PIP. This can be very confusing and overwhelming when dealing with an injury. Fortunately, a hit and run attorney can help you navigate this process to utilize all the coverage you have available to you.
For more information about hit and run accidents and what you should do, contact The Bodden & Bennet Law Group. Our team can help provide valuable information about your case and even assist you in navigating this legal process.