How Common Are Hit and Run Accidents in Florida?

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Experiencing a hit and run can be shocking, leaving you uncertain of what to do next and how to pursue compensation for your damages. If you are filing an accident claim, you might understandably wonder how common hit and runs are so you can fully understand the process ahead of you.

Our team of Orlando hit and run car accident attorneys at JustCallMoe are standing by to answer your questions and provide guidance after your hit-and-run accident in Florida. We can start by helping you understand the trends and processes surrounding hit and runs and can work with you to secure the outcome you deserve.

What Is a Hit and Run?

A hit and run refers to a type of motor vehicle accident in which a driver collides with and causes damage to another vehicle or a person and then leaves the scene without reporting the incident.

Florida drivers have an obligation to exchange insurance information with other drivers after an accident, even if the other driver was not in their vehicle at the time so that both sides can report the damage to their insurance providers appropriately. It is also necessary to report the accident to the police if the damage seemingly exceeds $500 in value.

When a driver does not follow these required practices after a collision, they are guilty of a hit and run.

Filing a claim for a hit and run in Florida can be complicated. If there are no witnesses or if you did not have a chance to note any identifying information about the hit-and-runner’s vehicle, it can take more time for your legal team to build a case.

How Common Are Hit and Runs?

Hit and runs are all too common in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports an average of over 103,000 hit-and-run crashes on Florida roads per year. Data from FLHSMV shows that 2021 was particularly devastating for hit and runs, with 109,624 hit-and-run crashes resulting in 305 fatalities that year alone.

Why Are Hit-and-Run Accidents So Common in Florida?

Understanding how common hit and runs are and why they happen so frequently is important for helping drivers maintain an appropriate level of caution while on the road. It’s also useful knowledge if you are already in the process of filing a hit-and-run accident claim.

A hit and run in Florida can happen for several reasons, including:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Excessive speeding
  • Traffic violations
  • General recklessness

Determining the cause can help you establish that the other party was negligent and is liable for covering your damages. After causing a crash, an at-fault driver may be more likely to flee the scene if they do not have adequate insurance to cover the damages. This can be a particularly common scenario in Florida, as the state enforces a “no-fault” auto insurance law. This means drivers do not have a requirement to carry insurance that covers other people’s injuries when they cause an accident. For the many drivers who legally choose not to carry such insurance, fleeing the scene may seem like a way to avoid becoming personally liable for paying compensation.

How Can Florida Drivers Protect Themselves?

Given how common hit and runs are in Florida, it’s wise to protect yourself so you have a higher chance of securing compensation if a hit-and-run accident happens. This starts by being vigilant while behind the wheel and prepared to note details about a vehicle that hits you before it drives away. Remembering the license plate number is ideal, but recording the make, model, and color can also be immensely helpful for law enforcement.

Adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy is a good way to guarantee financial protection for yourself in the event of a hit and run. While these coverage options exist to provide compensation for you in the event of an accident caused by a driver without insurance of their own, they often also apply in the event of a hit and run if the police cannot find the at-fault party to hold them accountable.

What Are the Penalties for a Hit and Run in Florida?

FLHSMV outlines specific penalties for causing a hit-and-run accident in Florida. Motorists must remain on the scene of any crash that results in property damage, injury, or death or else face charges as follows:

  • For a crash involving property damage, leaving the scene is a second-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
  • For a crash resulting in injury, leaving the scene is a second or third-degree felony that entails license revocation for at least three years and up to five years in prison with a $5,000 fine.
  • For a crash resulting in a fatality, leaving the scene is a first-degree felony with a mandatory minimum of four years in prison and a potential maximum of up to 30 years and a $10,000 fine.

Are There Defenses for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

Whether you need a strong hit and run defense or you are looking for legal representation in pursuing compensation from a hit-and-run accident yourself, a hit and run accident lawyer at JustCallMoe can help.

At JustCallMoe, our team can strengthen your case by:

  • Investigating the circumstances around your hit-and-run accident
  • Collecting evidence to establish your innocence and the other party’s fault
  • Handling stressful paperwork while you focus on recovery
  • Negotiating with insurers and other lawyers on your behalf

There can be valid defenses for leaving the scene after an accident, such as not knowing that an accident occurred or feeling that remaining at the scene is not safe under specific circumstances. Your lawyer at JustCallMoe can help you navigate these defenses and strive for a favorable outcome.

Consult a Florida Hit and Run Accident Attorney

Working closely with a Florida hit and run attorney is important, whether you experienced a hit and run or if you stand accused of committing a hit and run yourself. Being aware of how common hit and runs are can give you an advantage when it comes to preparing for an accident claim. Contact us today at JustCallMoe for a free consultation.

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