Each year in Florida, there are approximately 100,000 hit-and-run accidents. Along with New Mexico and Louisiana, Florida has the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes. Nearly 25 percent of all crashes here involve a hit and run. As Crestview personal injury attorneys, we are experienced in helping our clients to maximize their recovery following an auto accident. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled money damages even if the driver who caused the crash has left the scene. Moreover, Florida’s Stay at the Scene campaign aims to reduce the number of hit and run crashes by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the serious consequences they face if they choose to leave the scene.
“Stay at the Scene” Requirements
Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property which results in property damage, injury, or death. About 85% of hit-and-run crashes only cause property crime. However, it is still a crime to leave the scene. When only property damage is involved, leaving a crash scene in a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
As of the July 1, 2014 Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, the penalties for leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death or physical injury, have increased. Where there are injuries, leaving the scene is a third degree felony, with penalties ranging from a three-year license suspension to up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine. Drivers leaving the scene of a crash with a fatality is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, plus a $10,000 fine. Notably, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.
What Do You Do After a Hit and Run Accident? Speak to Our Crestview Personal Injury Attorneys.
While you are likely to be highly stressed if you are the victim of a hit and run in Crestview or elsewhere, it will be helpful to stay as calm as possible and to gather as much information as you can. This will increase the chances that the police will catch the driver who hit you and helps your car insurance company to make decisions about your claim.
- First, get as much information as you can about the car that hit you (model, make, license plate number.
- Then, look around for any possible witnesses to the accident, and ask for their names and contact information.
- Finally, before leaving the scene yourself, write down the time and location of the accident, take pictures of your car, especially if another car’s paint is visible on it.
- If the hit and run occurred when you were away from your parked car, write down as much information as you can (time, location, damage).
Will I Be Able to Recover Money Damages if The Driver is Unidentified?
Often, uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) from your own car insurance covers hit and run accidents. In Florida, UMC is an optional coverage you can purchase. If you have UMC, you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
Let Our Crestview Personal Injury Attorneys Help You
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a hit and run accident, we welcome you to contact our personal injury lawyers in Crestview, either by email or phone (850) 682-2757, for a free, no-obligation consultation.