Can You Get Compensation for a Hit and Run Accident in Florida?

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As with many things in life, harmony on the road exists only through the cooperation and participation of every person using it. Unfortunately, when you leave matters in the hands of the masses, mistakes can happen.

As an Orlando driver, there is an almost one in four chance that your crash could turn into a hit and run incident.

Knowing what steps to take in the aftermath is crucial, and the importance of having experienced Orlando car accident attorneys from JustCallMoe cannot be overstated.

Statistics on Florida Hit and Run Accidents

In 2022 alone, 397,620 crashes happened across the state of Florida. This includes a total of 107,844 hit and run crashes, resulting in 284 fatalities, 1,021 incapacitating injuries, and 22,421 other injuries. This translates to nearly a quarter of accidents resulting in a driver responsible trying to flee the scene of the accident.

Though this is a decrease from 2021’s count of 109,646 hit and run crashes, it’s a significant leap from the 92,247 hit and runs that happened in 2020.

Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents

In Florida, hit and runs can be misdemeanors or felonies. These crimes fall into three classes:

  • Hit and runs with only property damage are second-degree misdemeanors, resulting in a fine of $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
  • Hit and runs with injuries are second- or third-degree felonies, resulting in a $5,000 fine, up to five (5) years in prison and license revocation for up to three (3) years.
  • Fatal hit and runs are first-degree felonies and can result in a $10,000 fine, four (4) to 30 years in prison, and license revocation for up to three (3) years.

Hitting and running is considered a separate crime from actually crashing into another motorist or pedestrian. This means anyone who engages in a hit and run may face criminal prosecution not only for the accident itself but also for fleeing the scene.

Are hit and run accidents civil or criminal?

While all hit and run crashes have the potential for involving criminal charges, whether a case is civil or criminal depends on the extent of the accident. For example, an incident with property damage but no death or injury may remain civil.

Why Drivers Typically Flee the Scene of an Accident

Though the reasons behind each incident vary, the causes of hit and run cases typically boil down to some combination of panic and poor decision-making. The most common motivators to flee an accident include:

  • Fear of having potentially harmed another person
  • Not wanting to face the penalties or financial damages of a crash
  • Not having insurance
  • Having an outstanding warrant for arrest
  • Driving without a valid license
  • Immigrants without documentation fearing deportation
  • Intoxication and a fear of DUI charges

None of these reasons will stand up in a court of law, as there is never any valid reason to leave the scene of a crash.

Seeking Compensation for Losses in a Hit and Run Accident

Hit and run crashes can leave you dealing with serious, life-altering injuries. Unfortunately, these injuries may also come with significant hospital bills.

Seeking compensation is one of the most important steps you can take in the aftermath of a hit and run. However, if you’re dealing with a party that has fled the scene, how can you seek compensation from them?

Who pays for damages in a hit and run accident?

If authorities manage to locate the person who hit you, it will be up to that party and their insurance to pay for any damages that you face.

Unfortunately, the majority of hit and runs in Florida go unsolved. Video surveillance cameras have a hard time picking up license plate details, so often there is no clear evidence indicating the culprit. When another party cannot be located, your own insurance will step in to cover costs.

What types of insurance apply after a hit and run accident?

Different types of coverage may apply to hit and run accidents. The most common are:

  • Personal injury protection
  • Liability
  • Medical
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • Uninsured motorist property damage

It may be possible to get partial or full coverage from damages if you have one or more of these insurance coverages.

What To Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run

If you’re involved in a hit and run, try to take these steps in the aftermath to ensure your safety, health, and path to compensation.

First, secure the scene. Get your vehicle to a safe space and make sure everyone, including yourself, in your car is okay. Call for paramedics if necessary.

Next, call the authorities. An official police report will come in handy when you’re dealing with insurance companies, and you’ll want them on the case looking for the hit and run driver. You can also get the police to check the scene and look for identifying pieces that may be from the other driver’s vehicle.

Gather evidence by talking to eyewitnesses and taking pictures of the scene without altering it. Inform your insurance company of the crash. Finally, reach out to our accident attorneys to improve your chances of receiving compensation.

Speak to Our Experienced Orlando Hit and Run Accident Attorneys Today

Dealing with the legalities of a crash and insurance companies can be major stressors. It takes time, money, and effort to handle these matters, all of which would be better spent focused on your recovery.

With JustCallMoe, you have an ally fighting on your side to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our accident attorneys will walk with you down the often-difficult post-crash path, supporting you as you fight for money to help cover your hospital bills, treatments, medicine, legal costs, and other damages. Don’t face these hurdles alone. If you’re injured on the go, contact JustCallMoe and speak to one of our attorneys about your case today.

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