Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are a persistent problem in Florida. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that there were more than 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida in 2015, with 186 of these accidents resulting in fatalities. This means that hit-and-run drivers in Florida killed someone roughly every other day.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a hit-and-run accident, you are probably concerned about how you can recover compensation for your losses. The good news is that you have a few potential options available.
Options for Securing Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Filing a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim Against the Driver
In many cases, it is possible to identify the driver in a hit-and-run accident. If you remember any details about the vehicle that hit you, you should provide this information to the police. Leaving the scene of a serious accident is a felony in Florida, and the police may investigate your hit-and-run as a criminal case. Witnesses may be able to provide details as well, and it is even possible that the accident was caught on camera. A private investigator may also be able to locate the driver so that you can pursue a claim.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Florida law requires all auto insurance policies to include personal injury protection (PIP) to cover the policyholder’s (and his or her relatives’) accident-related injuries. The minimum coverage requirements are $10,000 for medical and disability benefits and $5,000 for loss of life.
Personal injury protection is “no-fault” insurance. This means that you are entitled to PIP benefits under your policy regardless of who caused the accident. As a result, you can use PIP to help cover your losses in a hit-and-run.
Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorist Coverage
Finally, while not required by law in Florida, many drivers choose to purchase insurance for injuries and damage caused by uninsured and under-insured motorists. In an uninsured or under-insured motorist claim, your insurance company essentially “stands in the shoes” of the uninsured driver (or, in this case, the unknown hit-and-run driver) – and will only provide coverage if the hit-and-run driver was negligent in the accident.
This means that, unfortunately, recovering compensation under your uninsured and under-insured motorist policy can often be a challenge. Some insurance companies even make it difficult for their policyholders to secure benefits under PIP. To make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, it is generally best to hire an auto accident attorney to assist with your claim.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Florida
To help maximize your chances of securing compensation after a hit-and-run accident, you should:
- Call 911 from the scene of the accident
- Remain at the scene until the police and EMTs arrive (never chase after a hit-and-run driver)
- Write down everything you remember about the vehicle that hit you
- Ask any witnesses for their contact information
- Report the accident to your insurance company (but do not give a recorded statement)
- Seek medical attention and follow your doctor’s advice
- Speak with an experienced auto accident attorney about your case
Speak with a Crestview Auto Accident Attorney at Powell, Powell & Powell, P.A.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run accident in the Crestview area, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. To discuss your options with one of our experienced attorneys, call (850) 682-2757 or contact us online today.