Typically, when a driver is involved in a crash, they will stop or pull over as soon as they realize what has occurred. After ensuring everyone in their vehicle is safe, they will speak with the other involved parties and exchange pertinent details, including contact and insurance information. This is not always the case, though. Some drivers flee the scene, often because of fear of repercussions. Colloquially known as a hit and run, this is illegal. If identified, the perpetrator may have to face legal consequences for their actions. They may also be liable for the harm they’ve caused victims.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a hit and run accident in Melbourne, a lawyer may be able to provide support. Car crashes can have devastating, sometimes life-altering or even fatal consequences. In the days, weeks, and months following a crash, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious as you juggle recovery with mounting medical bills and the strain of lost wages. You do not have to go through this difficult period alone.
The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help. Seeking compensation for car accident losses can be difficult even when the perpetrator is known. It is even more challenging when the responsible driver has fled the scene. Fortunately, the lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC do not shy away from tough cases. Call the office at (800) 598-7557 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.
What Constitutes a Hit & Run
In Florida, like most states, drivers are expected to take responsibility for their actions. This means, after a crash, involved parties should provide reasonable assistance to those who need it. Specifically, drivers should do the following:
- Stop at the scene or pull over and stop as close as possible to the scene.
- Render aid to victims and/or call for emergency assistance.
- Exchange information with the other parties involved, including contact and insurance details.
By fleeing the scene, whether they know it or not, a hit and run driver has broken the law. If they merely damaged property by scratching or denting the side of another vehicle in a lot, for instance, it may only be a misdemeanor offense. However, if the driver injures or kills another person or causes significant property damage, it may be a felony. In addition to criminal charges, perpetrators may be held accountable in civil court if a victim brings a personal injury suit against them.
Sometimes, drivers do not realize they have hit anyone. This typically occurs in parking lots, where a driver may nick the side or bumper of another vehicle while pulling in or backing out of a parking spot.
However, most hit and run drivers know what they are doing. Often, they flee because they are already engaging in unlawful behavior and fear getting apprehended. This can include driving without a valid license or adequate insurance, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers may also hit and run if they have road rage or have previous convictions and are afraid of going to jail.
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Melbourne, call (800) 598-7557
Types of Damages Associated with Hit and Run Crashes
Car crashes can cause a range of injuries varying in type and severity from lacerations and bruises to broken bones, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). For some, recovery takes weeks, while for others, it may be a lifelong process. For example, grievous injuries such as paralysis or significant brain trauma may impact all aspects of a person’s life, inhibiting their mobility or cognition and ability to work and engage in previously-enjoyed activities. Tragically, more than 32,000 people die every year in car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For survivors, life may never be the same. Because car crash injuries can vary so widely from one incident and individual to another, so, too, can the damages associated with hit and run personal injury cases. However, these are some of the most commonly-sought:
- Current and reasonably anticipated medical bills
- Lost wages for time you have missed as a result of incapacitation or medical appointments associated with your injuries
- Cost to care for your financial dependents if you are no longer able to provide for your family
- Reduced earning capacity if you cannot return to your previous position because of a grievous injury
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial or cremation costs (if a loved one died as a result of their injuries)
This list is not comprehensive. If you suffered injuries in a hit and run or lost a loved one in a crash, a Melbourne hit and run accident lawyer can help you calculate the scope of your losses and pursue reasonable compensation.
Melbourne Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
Statute of Limitations
You do not have unlimited time to pursue justice for your hit and run accident. Every state has a statute of limitations, or a time limit defining how long victims have to bring a suit against another party. According to Florida Statute § 95.11, plaintiffs have four years from the date of an incident to file a claim. There are some exceptions. For instance, if you did not realize you were injured until months after the crash (due to internal damage, for example), a judge may grant an extension to your filing window. With hit and run accidents, identifying and locating the defendant may take weeks or months. A Melbourne hit and run accident lawyer can ensure you file your suit before the deadline by helping you track down the responsible party as soon as possible.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Seeking compensation for car crash injuries can be challenging, particularly when the assailant is not immediately identifiable. A lawyer can help by launching an independent investigation to identify the perpetrator. They may do this by obtaining security footage from the scene, if available, interviewing eyewitnesses if there were any, and reviewing the police report. If they can identify the perpetrator, a lawyer can seek compensation from them or their insurance company on your behalf. If necessary, they can build a personal injury case and represent you against the defendant in civil court.
If they cannot identify the assailant, you may not be out of luck. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, this insurance policy may protect you in a hit and run accident. A lawyer can assist you in filing an insurance claim and negotiating with the insurance provider to seek a fair settlement.
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Ben Crump Law, PLLC Can Support You
It is important that hit and run drivers are held accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one suffered as a result of another party’s negligence or recklessness, turn to the office of Ben Crump Law, PLLC for support. Call the office at (800) 598-7557 for a free consultation to go over your case.