In addition to giving immediate first aid or calling for emergency medical personnel, other actions police take in the immediate aftermath of a hit-and-run accident include:
- Conducting interviews with drivers, passengers, and witnesses to compile a description of the hit-and-run driver and vehicle
- Conducting a thorough search of the accident scene and surrounding area to locate the driver and vehicle
Police may also take other steps to pursue a hit-and-run driver, like securing video footage from traffic cameras. An attorney with our firm can explain what police may do in a hit-and-run accident investigation and how this investigation might impact your claim for financial recovery.
All Drivers Have a Duty to Share Information After an Accident
Police officers in Florida take hit-and-run accidents seriously. After a hit-and-run, police take many different actions to attempt to locate drivers who flee from the scene of a vehicle collision, which is dangerous and illegal.
Officers may ask questions regarding the make, model, and color of the vehicle that fled the scene. It is important you provide police with as much detail as possible, including anything you can remember about the driver, the car’s distinguishing features, or what may have led to the collision.
When car accidents occur, all drivers have a duty to give information and render aid, according to Florida Statutes § 316.062. Police will ask for personal information from you and any passengers with you, including:
- Phone numbers
- Insurance company contact information
Staying on the Scene After a Hit-and-Run Is Important
When drivers do not stay at the scene of an accident, Florida law defines this as a hit-and-run. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that the number of hit-and-run crashes across Florida remains steady.
Although property damage is the common outcome of these cases, hit-and-runs can be dangerous, causing costly injuries and people’s lives. The FLHSMV Crash Dashboard states that nearly 21,000 hit-and-run accidents involving injuries occurred in 2020. During that same year, 256 fatalities resulted from hit-and-runs.
To help prevent hit-and-runs, FLHSMV launched its “Stay at the Scene” campaign to encourage all drivers to do their part in keeping the roads safe. The effort also aims to teach motorists about the responsible thing to do should they find themselves in a hit-and-run accident.
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Hit-and-Run Drivers Face Severe Penalties in Florida
What police do in a hit-and-run accident may lead to the identification and capture of a driver who fled the scene. According to Florida Statutes § 316.027, when law enforcement identifies and charges a motorist, that driver can face penalties, imprisonment, and fines, including:
- Second-degree misdemeanor charges, 60 days of jail time, and $500 in fines for causing property damage during a hit-and-run accident
- Third-degree felony charges, loss of driving privileges, potentially five years of jail time, and $5,000 in fines when victims endure physical injuries
- First-degree felony charges, loss of driving privileges, between four and 30 years of jail time, and $10,000 in fines when the hit-and-run accident results in death
Legal action taken by the state is separate from any claims or lawsuits you initiate to secure compensation. Speak to an attorney from our firm to understand the next steps you can take to pursue awards from the hit-and-run driver who was responsible for your accident.
You Can Seek Compensation for a Hit-and-Run Accident
If police locate the driver who caused your crash, you may be able to seek compensation for your accident through their insurance provider. However, police cannot always find hit-and-run drivers, or sometimes drivers who flee the scene do not have insurance.
If law enforcement does not catch the at-fault driver, our firm can help you seek a settlement for your losses through your own insurance provider. In Florida, you can turn to your personal injury protection coverage (PIP) to pay for a portion of your medical treatment, regardless of who is liable for your crash. We can also help you seek awards via your own uninsured/underinsured motorist protection if you have an applicable policy.
What Damages Can You Pursue?
In general, Florida car accident victims can seek awards for:
- Past and future accident-related medical treatment, including emergency transportation and treatment, doctor and hospital bills, rehabilitation, long-term nursing care, medications, medical equipment, and medical procedures
- Lost wages, including tips, bonuses, and benefit
- Loss of future earning capacity if you can no longer work because of your injuries
- Personal property damages, including vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish, including awards for stress, depression, anxiety, and loss of a body part or bodily function
- The wrongful death of a loved one if your family member suffered a fatal injury, including medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and survivor’s pain and suffering
If necessary, our attorneys can take your case to civil court to get the compensation you need. However, keep in mind that while there is no time limit for reaching an insurance settlement, you have a set time window for taking legal action. According to Florida Statutes § 95.11, you have four years to file a personal injury case and two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
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Pedestrians Are Also at Risk for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Not all hit-and-run accidents involve cars; they also can involve people. Motor vehicles commonly strike pedestrians, so it can be risky for people who walk near the streets and roadways. If a motor vehicle did not stop after hitting you, call for prompt medical help, as well as law enforcement assistance
If you can, remember what the vehicle looked like or its license plate number. A police officer can run the vehicle’s plate number through the system to see if they can get a match on the car in the accident. Witnesses also may be able to help you with the details to give to the police officer for an official report.
You can also meet with an attorney from our team to see what your legal options are. If you have PIP or uninsured motorist coverage, your policies may be able to help you recover your medical bills and other losses in your pedestrian accident.
Discuss Your Hit-and-Run Accident Case With Our Legal Team
A car accident is a frightening and frustrating experience. Those feelings can lead to additional stress when the other driver leaves the scene since their flight can leave you believing you have no options for recovery. The critical things police do in a hit-and-run accident—and especially in its aftermath—can assist you and our attorneys in identifying the at-fault driver.
You deserve compensation for expenses related to your car accident and for the damage or loss of your vehicle. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine to discuss your case with a member of our team today. We can answer your questions, discuss your options, and provide you with a free, no-obligation case review.
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