If you were in an accident with another car and the other driver leaves the scene of the collision without exchanging information with you, you must use your insurance policy to cover your damages. The only other option is to attempt to track down the other driver for compensation.
Unfortunately, such “hit-and-run” type collisions are quite common in Florida, and all over the country. In addition to the standard stress from a car accident, a hit-and-run crash can leave you anxious over how you will pay your medical bills or receive compensation for damages, given that the other driver is absent and difficult to impossible to track down.
If you sustained injuries in a hit-and-run accident, call one the lawyers at Anidjar & Levine today at 800-747-3733 for a no-cost consultation. We can go over your options and advise you how to proceed.
How Can I Recover Compensation?
How you recover compensation from a hit-and-run accident depends on whether there is a reasonable chance of ever tracking down the guilty party.
If the chance of this is little to none, then you will have to file a claim with your insurance company. Several policy previsions might come into play here, including:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Florida requires all drivers to carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. After an accident, regardless of who was at fault, your insurance company, not the other driver’s, pays for your personalinjury damages up to the limit of your PIP policy. So, the more PIP coverage you have, the more your insurance company will cover for injuries in a hit-and-run crash.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: These are optional add-on provisions that pay when the driver who hits you does not have car insuranceor lacks enough coverage to pay for all your damages. In some states, including Florida, you can also use UM/UIM to pay for damages from a hit-and-run driver.
If the police can track down the perpetrator from the information you provide, you can sue him or her in a private lawsuit for damages, and, based on the driver’s malicious conduct in leaving the scene, you might also be eligible for punitive damages.
What Should I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If your injuries are severe, you should first seek immediate medical attention, ideally calling for an ambulance to transport you to the nearest hospital. Err on the side of caution — it is better to seek help right away and find out you are uninjured than to avoid seeking help and turn out to have a serious injury.
If your injuries are minor, gather as much evidence as possible from the scene, including, if you are able, a description of the perpetrator’s vehicle and, the license plate number, if possible. Also, document everything you can about the scene, and if there were any witnesses, gather statements from them and get their contact information. File a police report right away, as this will create an official record of what happened.
Then, no matter how minor your injuries, or even if you do not believe you sustained any injuries at all, see a doctor for a medical exam. You do not want to ignore any potentially hidden injuries, and the sooner you seek medical attention after the crash, the easier it is for your lawyer to draw a link between the crash and your injuries.
What Constitutes a Hit-and-Run Accident?
In Florida, as well as most states, all drivers involved in an accident, whether at fault or not at fault, must stop at the scene. If there appear to be serious injuries, you must render aid if you are able. If there are any injuries at all, even minor ones, or there are appears to be property damage exceeding $500, then, by Florida law, you must contact law enforcement.
A hit-and-run is an accident in which one or more of the involved drivers do not abide by the above requirement. Most often, a hit-and-run driver never even leaves his or her car, opting instead to flee the scene before the other driver or drivers involved can even get their bearings down.
The term hit-and-run also applies to a situation in which a driver strikes an unoccupied vehicle, such as a car in a parking lot, and fails to report the accident or leave a note with his or her contact information.
Call the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine for Hit-and-Run Car Accident Help
Our legal team can help you build your claim for damages with your insurance company as well as help you track down the hit-and-run driver, if possible. Call our office at 800-747-3733 to set up a free consultation.