Injured in a Hit and Run Accident? What to Do When the Guilty Party Vanishes
A sudden impact, screeching tires, and then silence. You find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, left with injuries and a lingering sense of injustice. The guilty party has vanished without a trace, leaving you in a state of confusion and vulnerability.
It’s an unfortunate reality that many individuals face, but the question remains: What should you do when the responsible driver disappears into thin air?
In this blog, our personal injury lawyers at Abogadas305 will guide you through the necessary steps to take when you are injured in a hit-and-run accident with no immediate knowledge of the driver’s identity. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll of these accidents, and we are here to help you navigate the aftermath and seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
Florida Hit-and-Run Laws
Florida law requires any driver involved in a crash to stop at the scene and provide their contact information to the other party involved, including name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license information. Failing to stop and fulfill these obligations is considered a hit-and-run offense, a criminal offense in Florida.
The consequences for a hit-and-run offense in Florida can vary depending on the severity of the incident. If the accident results in only property damage, it is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by fines, probation, and potential license suspension. However, if the accident causes injury or death to another person, it becomes a much more serious offense, carrying potential felony charges, imprisonment, and substantial fines.
Will My Insurance Cover a Hit-and-run Accident?
In Florida, all drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which covers medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault. PIP insurance can cover your medical expenses up to the policy limit, even in a hit-and-run scenario.
However, PIP insurance does not cover property damage resulting from a hit-and-run accident. To seek compensation for property damage, you typically need collision coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Collision coverage can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, subject to your deductible.
Additionally, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is an additional protection layer. It’s an optional coverage that covers damages to your vehicle in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. This type of coverage becomes especially significant in hit-and-run situations where the responsible driver is never identified.
It is important to review your insurance policy and consult with your insurance provider to fully understand your coverage in a hit-and-run accident.
What Happens if the Police Locate the Driver?
When the police successfully locate the driver involved in a hit-and-run accident, the legal process kicks into gear. The driver is typically arrested and may face criminal charges based on the severity of the incident. The police will thoroughly investigate, gathering evidence such as witness statements, vehicle examination, and surveillance footage. This evidence will be crucial in building a strong case against the responsible driver.
Once the driver is arrested, they will go through the court system. Prosecutors will review the evidence and decide whether to pursue charges. If charges are filed, court proceedings will occur, including arraignment, pretrial hearings, and potentially a trial. As a victim of a hit-and-run accident, your involvement in the legal proceedings is important. The prosecuting attorney or victim advocate may inform you about the case’s progress and request your cooperation as a witness during a trial or related hearings.
If the responsible driver is convicted, the court may order them to pay restitution to cover your damages and losses. However, it’s important to note that criminal proceedings may not automatically result in full compensation for your losses. To seek additional compensation, pursuing a separate civil lawsuit with the help of a personal injury attorney can be beneficial.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Hit-and-run Accident
Being injured in a hit-and-run accident can be a distressing and overwhelming experience.
Here are the steps you should take if you find yourself in this situation:
- Seek medical attention — Your health and well-being should be the top priority. Even if your injuries seem minor, it is important to get a medical evaluation to ensure there are no hidden or delayed injuries. Prompt medical documentation will also provide evidence for your insurance claim or legal case.
- Report the accident — Contact the local law enforcement authorities and provide them with as much information as possible about the incident. This includes any details you can remember about the fleeing vehicle, such as the license plate number, make, model, or color. Eyewitness accounts and available surveillance footage should also be reported to the authorities.
- Document the scene — Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including any damage to your vehicle or surrounding property. These visual records can be crucial evidence for your insurance claim or legal case.
- Contact your insurance company — Notify your insurance provider about the hit-and-run accident immediately. Provide them with all the relevant details, including the police report, medical records, and any evidence you have collected. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and explain the coverage available to you.
- Consult with a personal injury attorney — If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help protect your rights, gather additional evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue legal action if necessary. An attorney will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Remember, time is of the essence in hit-and-run cases. Prompt action and seeking legal guidance can significantly improve your chances of recovering compensation and finding justice.
Don’t Get Stuck With the Bill. Contact Abogadas305.
If you have been a victim of a hit-and-run accident and are seeking justice and compensation for your injuries, turn to Abogadas305. Our dedicated attorneys understand your challenges and are ready to fight for your rights. Don’t let the responsible party escape accountability. Contact us now for a free consultation, and let us help you pursue justice.