Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) data shows that one out of four crashes statewide involves a hit and run driver. While many hit and run accidents cause property damage that a victim can typically repair, others cause injuries and fatalities that one cannot ignore. Drivers can face serious consequences for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident in Florida, but the threat of such penalties does not always prevent perpetrators from fleeing.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a hit and run accident, you can review your case with a Fort Lauderdale hit and run accident lawyer. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can work to hold liable parties accountable and seek compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (800) 598-7557 for a free case review.
About Hit and Run Accidents in Florida
In many hit and run accidents, the victim is not even a driver. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that pedestrians and bicyclists make up about 65 percent of hit and run fatalities.
Florida Statutes § 316.027 creates the duty for all drivers to stop and remain at the scene of an injury crash. It also defines Vulnerable Road Users (VRU), including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders, although it does not create harsher penalties for hit and run accidents involving VRUs.
People who flee the scene of accidents act negligently, leaving many questions and opportunities for recovery unanswered for victims. Fortunately, victims of hit and run accidents can work with a lawyer to build a case when hope has seemingly vanished.
Why Hit and Run Drivers Flee
The reasons why drivers flee the scene of an accident vary for each person. At the moment, the driver sees fleeing from the scene as their way to escape investigation. However, if police apprehend them, they not only remain accountable for the injuries and damage they caught, but they also face penalties in criminal court.
Drivers who admitted to fleeing the scene of an accident reported some of the following reasons:
- Outstanding warrants: People who flee the scene to avoid warrants may fear arrest for a worse crime upon being identified.
- Criminal behavior: They wanted to hide acts like driving without a valid license or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Unaware of damage: Some drivers reported they did not realize that any damage or injuries had occurred. However, not fully realizing the extent of the damage is not a valid excuse to flee the accident scene. Even when damage is not severe, Florida Statutes § 316.061 requires all liable parties to stop and exchange information.
Although drivers who cause a hit and run accident may use any of the above reasons for fleeing, it does not undo the injuries and losses that victims might suffer. You can work with a Fort Lauderdale hit and run accident lawyer to build a case against the at-fault driver. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today to get started.
Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents
In Florida, when a driver becomes involved in an accident—knowingly or unknowingly—and leaves the scene, they broke the law. That means local law enforcement will handle all hit and run accident cases. The possible consequences that a hit and run driver faces can include:
- Prison time
- Financial penalties
- Community service
- Revoked license
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Fort Lauderdale, call (800) 598-7557
Legal Help for Hit and Run Accident Victims
You may feel powerless at the time of the accident, but cooperation with law enforcement and telling your side of the story can work in your favor. Even after the initial accident, you have a certain amount of time to discover and report on any injuries or losses you suffered.
A lawyer can advise you on all your options for seeking fair compensation. With Florida being a no-fault state, even hit and run accident victims must first file a claim against their personal injury protection (PIP) policy before pursuing other compensation. Because police do not catch every hit and run driver, having this backup at least offers you some protection.
For help with arresting your hit and run driver, consult officials who receive anonymous tips from witnesses who may have witnessed the accident. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles encourages eyewitnesses to report accidents by dialing *347 or using Broward County’s Crime Stoppers anonymous crime reporting tool. Finally, a Fort Lauderdale hit and run accident lawyer typically has resources they can use to investigate your accident and identify the at-fault driver.
Seeking Financial Relief From Hit and Run Accidents
You might find that a hit and run accident lawyer can help you navigate the tricky insurance claim and litigation process. Seeking financial help for your medical and repair bills after an accident should be your priority. A personal injury lawyer can assist with filing an insurance claim through your PIP policy that accounts for the full scope of your injuries and losses. In cases where an insurance company unfairly denies your claim, a car accident attorney can negotiate on your behalf to fix the situation.
Fort Lauderdale Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
Hit and Run Accident Lawyers by Your Side
Although it seems easier to give up on your recovery claims than to pursue a case against negligent hit and run drivers, a Fort Lauderdale hit and run accident lawyer might make the process less challenging. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can work to identify the driver who fled the scene and fight to hold them accountable for damages that exceed your PIP coverage. Call us today at (800) 598-7557 for your free, no-obligation consultation.