The investigation into a hit-and-run accident can take days, weeks, or even months based on the circumstances. In most cases, it takes law enforcement time to gather evidence to lead them to the driver that fled the scene or their vehicle. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime punishable by fines and jail time.
Hit-and-run accidents are common in Florida. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) statistics, nearly a quarter of all accidents involve a hit-and-run. If you have been injured or a loved one passed away as a result of a hit-and-run accident, you could still receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
There Are Stiff Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Florida
Hit-and-run accidents range from minor crashes with property damage to severe injuries and fatalities. As per state laws, leaving the scene of an accident is a punishable offense. Per the FLHSMV, a hit-and-run driver who flees the scene may face:
- A second-degree misdemeanor if the accident resulted in property damage (which may include up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine)
- A second or third-degree felony if the accident resulted in injuries (which may include up to five years in prison, a $5000 fine, and license revocation for up to three years)
- A first-degree felony if the accident resulted in a fatality (which could include a minimum of four years or up to 30 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and license revocation of three years)
Common Types of Hit-and-Run Accidents
Without both drivers on the scene, it may be difficult to determine why the hit-and-run accident occurred. Some of the most common types of these crashes may be:
- Another driver hits your vehicle as you’re driving
- Another driver hits your car in a parking lot while you’re inside or away
- A car hits you while you’re walking, jogging, running, or cycling
If any of these situations happened to you or a family member, and the driver fled, you do not have to suffer alone. It is possible to take legal action and pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses.
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What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Being involved in an accident can be unnerving, frustrating, and dangerous. Your first point of action is establishing whether you’re okay; look out for physical injury and that of your passengers. Then, call 911 and remain at the scene until the authorities arrive.
It is best to try and do the following after a hit-and-run accident:
- Document the accident and your vehicle
- Write down every possible detail of the runaway vehicle; license plate, make, model, and color
- Note the location, nearby streets, and the direction you were heading
- Write a description of the other driver and any passengers in the vehicle
- Jot down a detailed account of what transpired before you forget vital details
- See if there are any witnesses and get their contact information
- Collect any images or video footage of the crash from onlookers or nearby surveillance cameras
- File a police report
The police will launch a thorough investigation to understand what transpired before, during, and right after the accident. They’ll be on the lookout for the runaway driver using the information you shared and witness statements. If applicable, police will use traffic camera footage to see the accident and identify the runaway driver.
Hit-and-run cases are not easy to handle, and the investigation may take several days to weeks or even months, depending on the evidence. A personal injury attorney familiar with hit-and-run cases can handle every aspect of your case and work with police to ensure the culprit is apprehended. Your lawyer will negotiate a fair settlement with your insurance company that covers medical bills, lost wages, and future treatments.
What Should You Avoid Doing?
Never run after a reckless driver as it is highly dangerous, and you could face charges due to the following situations:
- You’re likely to violate traffic laws and get a ticket
- Speeding after a runaway motorist can cause another accident
- The fleeing driver could have a weapon or come after you
Instead of chasing after a reckless driver and exposing yourself and other motorists to harm, focus on understanding what happened so you can help track down the runaway driver.
What Happens If the Other Driver Is Never Apprehended?
Tireless efforts by the police notwithstanding, some hit-and-run cases remain unsolved because the culprits got away. Such outcomes are disheartening, but you can still recoup your damages for personal injury and property damage.
A legal team can help you determine if you have uninsured motorists coverage and report the medical bills to your insurance company. The insurance company may try to offer a meager settlement but don’t feel pressured to accept it. Your legal counsel will negotiate favorable terms so your financial recovery can cover your injuries and other damages.
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Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a Free Case Review
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident and need legal assistance, our team is here for you. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine is ready to answer all your questions and get to work on your case right away. Contact us at 1-800-747-3733 today for a free case review and more information on your legal options.
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