fleeing the scene in south florida

In the event of a traffic accident, most of us would like to believe that both drivers would do the right thing and remain on the scene. Not only to share insurance information and file a police report, but most importantly to make sure that everyone involved is alright. Sadly, there are still a significant percentage of people who will flee after being in an accident. This is what we call a hit and run.

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, each year Florida experiences a consistent amount of hit and run crashes across the state. Still, data shows that nearly 25% of all crashes involving a hit and run. Thankfully, the majority of hit and run accidents on the road only result in property damage. However, these kinds of collisions can cause severe injury, and even be deadly. If you or someone you love is the victim of a hit and run collision, there is a good chance you are entitled to compensation.

penalty changes for hit and run accidents

As of July 1, 2014, there are new updates to the penalties for hit and run drivers. Florida law was changed due to the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act. This legislation imposes a mandatory minimum of 4 years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a fatality.

Aaron Cohen was a 31-year-old avid cyclist and father of two. In February of 2012, Cohen was fatally struck by an alcohol-impaired driver that fled the crash scene in central Florida. At the time, the driver was only sentenced to two years in prison. This is actually a lesser sentence than what the motorist would have served on a DUI manslaughter charge.

outline of current penalties for hit and run crashes

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statutory duties before leaving the scene

Florida law establishes statutory duties for drivers before they leave the scene. Some of these duties apply whether there is only property damage, or injury and death. Other duties specifically apply to one instance or the other. In both cases, Florida law requires the following statutory duties before a driver can leave the scene of the accident:

  • Immediately stop vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close as safely possible
  • Notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or other property of the driver’s name, address, registration number
  • If requested by the other party, exhibit their driver’s license
  • Provide investigating police with license, registration, address, and other information

property damage

In some hit and run accidents, victims may not suffer injuries. However, they experience some property damage to their vehicle or another object. If the property damaged in the crash is unattended, the driver must either:

A. Locate the property owner and then comply with the duties described above

or

B. Attach securely in a conspicuous place a written notice giving the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle.

Furthermore, the driver must then notify the nearest police department or law enforcement agency of the crash. Otherwise, the hit and run driver runs the risk of facing harsher penalties.

bodily injury or death

When a hit and run causes injury or death to another person, it can be a devastating event. If it is apparent that medical treatment is required, if it is requested by the other person, the non-injured driver is required to:

  • Render “reasonable assistance,” including carrying or making arrangement for the carrying of the injured victim to a hospital, physician, or surgeon for medical or surgical treatment;
  • If the other victim is not in a condition to receive the information above, the non-injured driver must report the crash to the nearest police authority.

the NEXT steps after a hit and run

A hit and run crash can be a traumatizing experience. Especially for a victim who is injured and left at the scene of an accident by the other party. You may feel even more vulnerable if you aren’t able to clearly identify the responsible driver. However, you are not powerless. There are some next steps you can take to try and make sure your rights are protected.

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compensation for damages

In a hit and run case, the recoverable damages often depend on the severity of the injury. Some victims find that the medical cost alone of recovering from the aftermath of a hit and run can be financially catastrophic. That is why obtaining effective representation to fight for your right to compensation is so important. In cases of severe or permanent injuries, a victim may be eligible to recover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Anticipated future medical expenses

However, building a case in order to recover compensation can be extremely difficult in hit and run cases, especially if you do not know who the driver is. A critical part of any hit and run case is being able to determine who the driver is, and prove they are liable for those damages. This makes the process extensive and complex.

That is why lowercase personal injury lawyers are here to help. We work with victims to collect any evidence available that can help to ascertain the hit and run driver. This includes:

  • Working with local authorities
  • Examining surveillance videos
  • Interviewing witnesses that might help identify the vehicle that fled the scene

A hit and run accident attorney from lowercase not only works to make sure that your rights are protected, but also to negotiate any possible settlement or fight for the maximum compensation for damages.

call and ask about the lowercase fee

The personal injury lawyers at lowercase are ready to take legal action to get the justice you deserve. Call us at 833-LOW-FEE5 (833-569-3335) and ask about the lowercase fee today.

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