When a driver causes an accident and leaves the scene without identifying themselves to others involved, it is called a hit and run. Depending on the specific details of the incident, hit-and-run accidents can result in different consequences.
Experiencing fear, anger, or confusion is typical in the aftermath of a car accident. However, these feelings can be more heightened in the event of a hit and run, which unfortunately occurs quite frequently in Florida.
In Florida, hit-and-run accidents make up approximately 25% of all accidents. To ensure accountability of the at-fault party, the state legislature has introduced laws regarding hit-and-run accidents. It’s important to note that hit-and-run accidents can involve not only vehicles, but also pedestrians, bicyclists, or property. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a hit-and-run accident, consider contacting a Port Charlotte hit-and-run lawyer for assistance in seeking justice.
To reduce the stress associated with hit-and-run incidents in Florida, it is important to know the proper steps to take. Check out the following helpful tips for what to do after experiencing a hit-and-run.
Hit And Run Accidents In Port Charlotte And The State Of Florida
According to Florida law, someone has committed a hit and run if they:
- Leave the accident scene before exchanging identification with other involved parties.
- Fail to render appropriate medical aid to anyone injured in the accident.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety (FLHSMV) has reported that more than 300 individuals died in hit-and-run accidents on Florida roadways in 2021. Despite the severe penalties imposed on hit-and-run drivers, such accidents are becoming more frequent in Florida.
Common Reasons For Hit And Run Accidents In Port Charlotte And The State Of Florida
Drivers who cause accidents and injury or death often flee the scene to avoid legal consequences, which is why hit-and-run incidents are common. There could be various reasons for the driver to flee, such as:
- Outstanding arrest warrants
- Drunk or intoxicated driving
- Driving without a license
- Auto theft
When the driver responsible for the collision thinks that staying at the scene will cause more issues, they may choose to flee. The lack of insurance is often the main reason why drivers leave the accident site.
This year, it has been reported that around 20% of drivers in Florida do not have auto insurance. Additionally, Florida is ranked as the sixth state with a high number of uninsured motorists.
State Laws And Penalties Involved In Hit And Run Accidents
The Florida hit-and-run law was made stricter in 2014 after a cyclist and father of two was killed by a hit-and-run driver. This was defined by the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (Section 316.027 of the Florida Statutes).
The penalties for hit-and-run accidents in Florida are determined by the severity of the accident and can vary significantly.:
- Hit and runs that cause property damage only: This is a second-degree misdemeanor that can lead to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
- Hit and runs that involve injuries: These are second or third-degree crimes punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and the suspension of driving privileges for at least three years.
- Hit and runs that cause fatality: Leaving the scene of an accident when someone was killed is a first-degree felony punishable by a fine of $10,000 and jail time of four to thirty years.
If the driver who caused the hit-and-run cannot be identified, you may still be financially protected through your insurance. However, the fines that can be imposed on the hit-and-run diver are only applicable if they are successfully identified.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in Florida, you can still receive compensation through the state’s no-fault insurance statute.
If you own a vehicle and register it in a state, you must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your private auto insurance policy. However, if you are visiting from a state where PIP coverage is not mandatory, you may encounter difficulties claiming financial compensation if you sustain injuries while visiting.
The minimum PIP limit set by the state is only $10,000, which can be used up fast due to medical bills and lost income. If the court decides not to pursue the hit-and-run driver for extra compensation, PIP payments could be the sole option available.
What To Do After A Hit And Run Accident In Port Charlotte Florida
If a driver hits you with their car while you are walking, biking, or driving and then leaves the scene, you are a victim of a hit and run. This can cause severe injuries, high medical bills, time off from work, and other damages even if the driver is caught and punished by the authorities.
To have a better chance of receiving fair compensation following an accident, there are a few steps you can take which are outlined below:
Get To A Safe Place And Call The Authorities
In case of an accident, make sure you assess your injuries – if you are able to move without causing more injury to yourself or others then move to a secure location as soon as possible, then dial 911 to report what took place. The sooner you are able to alert the police the better, they will be able to get you medical attention and it will increase the chances of finding the person responsible. While you wait for help to arrive, capture pictures of the incident, your injuries, and any property damage. If you do not have a camera or smartphone, request someone’s assistance.
Gather Evidence And Witness Contact Information
In case of any witnesses to the accidents, their statements would be helpful for your claim. Only communicate with the police or witnesses and avoid discussing with insurance adjusters. Refrain from signing any documents beyond what the police require and do not accept liability for the collision.
Immediately Seek Medical Evaluation And Treatment
It is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor soon after the accident, even if you were not taken to the hospital by the police or paramedics. Remember, some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
It is important to be aware of the possibility of internal injuries that may not show up right away after an injury. Keeping track of your expenses, work absence, and physical and emotional pain is crucial.
Contact FGB Law Firm As Soon As Possible
In Florida, you have four years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim. However, it is recommended to begin the process as soon as possible to improve your chances of success. If the responsible driver cannot be identified, there may still be compensation options available.
In order to get the justice you deserve in a hit-and-run accident it’s important to report it immediately, seek medical attention promptly, and hire an experienced Port Charlotte hit-and-run accident attorney.
Contact a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer in Port Charlotte
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident and have questions, reach out to our law firm. Our experienced attorneys can provide answers and support. At FGB Law Firm, we are committed to helping you receive the compensation you deserve and will work to build a strong case for your claim.
Call 941-979-9010 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free case evaluation, we’re ready to help you get the justice you deserve.