Suffering a hit and run accident is a horrific event for a driver or pedestrian. Unlike common negligence cases, unanswered questions and the potential anonymity of the reckless driver add layers of complexity.
If you or your loved one was a pedestrian, driver or passenger in a car struck by a hit and run driver, you do not have to feel alone and powerless. Contact a hit and run accident & injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL today.
Identifying Perpetrators in Hit and Run Accidents
The Florida legislature has steadily increased criminal penalties for hit and run accidents. Despite these legislative efforts, however, The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) estimates that nearly 25 percent of all vehicle accidents are hit and run crashes. Sadly, this alarming trend shows no sign of slowing down.
State or local law enforcement personnel may already be at work tracing the driver who is hiding to avoid liability. Police may rely on evidence at the scene, eyewitness information, and surveillance or traffic cameras to identify the hit and run driver.
Once the police identify the hit and run driver, victims of the accident may pursue compensation from them. However, in some cases, the police never identify the driver. In that case, the victim may rely on their own insurance to cover their damages.
Anidjar & Levine can review your insurance coverage to identify options to recover compensation. Call us at 1-800-747-3733 to set up a consultation with a hit and run accident lawyer.
Criminally Prosecuting the Hit and Run Driver: Does It Help the Victim?
A driver must stop any time there is a crash — even a property-damage-only accident — to exchange information with the other driver(s), pedestrians, or both.
When a crash results in injury or death to another person, Florida law specifically requires a driver to do the following:
- Stop at the scene or as close to it as possible.
- Provide his/her name, address, and vehicle registration number.
- Provide information from his/her driver’s license if requested.
- Cooperate with any investigating law enforcement agents.
- Render “reasonable assistance” to the injured victims, including calling 911 or otherwise arranging for medical care.
If the injured parties are unable to receive information due to incapacitating injury, a non-injured driver must report the crash to the nearest police authority.
So, the driver who struck you will face criminal penalties if caught, including jail time, fines, and license suspension. But these criminal penalties do not compensate victims for their damages.
To get financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, the victim must pursue a civil action.
Compensation for Victims of Hit and Run Accidents
Florida maintains a compensation fund for victims of crimes. There are, however, restrictions on this fund. The fund may also place limitations on specific categories of damages. (Visit Florida’s Crime Victims Services for more information.)
In most cases, victims of hit and run accidents will rely on insurance claims or a lawsuit to get compensation for their injuries. But the legal action we take depends on whether police identify the hit and run driver.
The following explains available coverage in two scenarios: hit and run driver located vs. never located.
Hit and Run Driver Located
If the perpetrator is identified, then we will pursue a lawsuit against the negligent driver. Our job is to get you maximum compensation for your injuries. We do this by looking at:
- Medical bills for care you received from the moment of the crash
- Your diagnoses, prognoses, medical charts, etc.
- Your medical history
- Need for future treatment, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty
- Total lost wages
- Loss of future earnings and wealth accumulation potential
- Pain and suffering
- Damages to a spouse because of your injuries
- Emotional distress (from scarring disfigurement, or post-traumatic stress syndrome)
- Final expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering on behalf of a decent (in fatal accident cases)
- Loss of guidance, financial support, and emotional support, and pain and suffering on behalf of surviving family members
Hit and Run Driver Never Located
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it can cover your injury-related expenses, including those listed above. Uninsured motorist coverage applies if the other driver has no insurance, but also applies in cases of hit and run accidents. It essentially replaces the other driver’s liability coverage.
Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage also provides coverage. This is a no-fault coverage that covers medical expenses and some lost wages, but usually maxes out at $10,000.
If you have collision coverage, it can cover your property damage, but usually comes with a deductible.
To go over the details of your hit and run accident and for help evaluating your legal options, please contact us today at 1-800-747-3733.
Get Started With Anidjar & Levine Today
Do not miss critical deadlines. Talk to us at no charge by calling 1-800-747-3733 to schedule your free-of-charge initial appointment.