The victims of hit-and-run incidents may suffer more than the victims of other types of crashes because the culprit is unknown and the legal recourse to sue for damages is lacking. Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run attorneys can offer a degree of assistance that may help. For the victim, the driver leaving the scene can delay and even prevent the arrival of help, and left unattended, or left to die, they may be eliminating a witness and avoiding a prison term. Hit-and-run is a second-degree felony, and it can be compounded if the victim dies.
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale to begin your case to necessary compensation.
The Miami Herald reported that hit-and-run incidents in Broward County were the second highest in the state, numbering 11,993 incidents in 2016, following Dade County with almost 13,000 incidents.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety reported that at least 92,000 hit-and-run incidents occurred in 2015 killing 186 people, seriously injuring 1,200 people, and harming another 19,000 people. Pedestrians comprised more than 50 percent of those injured, and many bicyclists are also victims.
Many drivers cited for leaving an accident scene were between 19 and 27 years old and men comprised 70 percent of those cited.
Although Florida law requires drivers to stay at the scene and render aid, hit-and-run drivers refuse to be responsible for their actions because at the moment of impact they were impaired, speeding, have outstanding warrants, have no insurance, or some other self-preservation reason. Sometimes the driver does not know the impact even occurred.
A driver who hits an unattended vehicle by Florida law must leave a note providing contact information. If a hit-and-run driver damages a parked car, the owner should note the time and place of the incident and try to locate anyone who saw it happen. A witness may be able to provide a description of the offending vehicle with its manufacturer and model, its damage, and any part of the license number. Also, take photographs of the car and its damage before moving it.
Any information will help police find the offender and the insurance company handle a claim.
If the victim dies, a hit-and-run driver can be sentenced to a mandatory four years and up to 30 years in prison, fined $10,000, and driving privileges revoked for three years. Penalties for injuring a person range up to 15 years depending on the seriousness of the injury.
Much of the time, the hit-and-run driver is not found, and without a defendant, the injured person must rely upon their own uninsured motorist coverage on their automotive insurance policy.
In Florida, the only required insurance is no fault, so drivers have $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance to cover medical and certain other associated costs, and property damage coverage.
A Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run lawyer can help by representing the injured party in dealing with the insurance company, which may be skeptical without the other party’s identification. Also, the attorney can take investigative steps such as reviewing what surveillance cameras may have captured, and may involve the media in an effort to bring witnesses forward who can identify the type and color of vehicle and perhaps a rudimentary description of the driver.
A thorough check of body repair shops might reveal vehicles with damage consistent with the impact.
With the driver identified, a personal injury lawsuit alleging negligence can go forward to recover damages. The attorney can review the case in a free consultation. When the hit-and-run driver is unknown, one can still pursue an injury claim against their own automotive policy, providing they have uninsured motorist coverage.
It is the job of the Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run lawyer to develop the evidence to prove negligence under Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine.
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