Florida Hit-And-Run Injury Claims
Hit-and-run accidents are back on the roads again, and Florida is no exception. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported about 600,000 hit-and-run accident cases between 2015 and 2020. A Sarasota Florida Truck accident lawyer stated that the number of hit and run claims cases has also jumped in the last five years.
Hit and run accidents have become a menace on the roads, with over 100,000 cases recorded annually. The frequency of these accidents pushed the state to amend its hit-and-run statutes three times in four years (between 2017 and 2020). With the latest amendment, the state now imposes a strict penalty on offenders to curb road accidents and hit-and-run related injuries and deaths.
While the penalty amendment has proven effective in some ways, it has not eradicated hit-and-run accidents in the state. Defendants charged with such offenses would face a third-degree felony if the accident resulted in an injury. A third-degree felony in Florida attracts a jail sentence of up to five years and $5,000 in fines.
Hit-and-run accidents always have victims. These victims often face a hard time in the aftermath of such accidents. With the growing increase in medical costs, they may have to dip into their savings to cater to their medical needs. The substantial medical costs may further be made worse by their loss of income due to inability to work, pain and suffering caused by the accident injury, property damages, and others.
As a victim of a hit-and-run accident, knowing what to do can improve your chances of recovering compensation for your damages. Below is a guide to help you through the process.
What Are Hit And Run Accidents?
Florida’s vehicle code does not include “hit and run.” However, the law clearly states drivers’ duties and responsibilities while on the road. Florida’s law aims to keep drivers and other road users safe by establishing a series of codes that drivers must follow. Failure to follow these codes puts the driver and others in harm’s way.
According to Florida’s vehicle code, drivers are expected to do the following when involved in an accident.
Stop The Vehicle
Drivers who have been involved in an accident are required by the state’s law to stop their vehicle immediately at the scene. Drivers who cannot stop immediately at the crash scene are expected to stop as close to the crash scene as possible.
Drivers who have been involved in a crash are expected to step out of their vehicles, if not severely injured, to render aid to those who are injured. Rendering aid, in this context, may include calling on emergency responders or driving the injured victims to the hospital.
Drivers can also uphold their end of the bargain by arranging transportation to ferry injured persons to the nearest medical facility.
Drivers involved in an accident are required, by law, to stop and provide their information to the people involved in the accident. Provided identifying information may include driver’s name, address, license plate number, vehicle registration number, and insurance carrier.
Drivers are also expected to show their driving license to other drivers involved in the accident or the police to prevent fraud or misrepresentation.
What Causes Hit And Run Accidents?
Hit and run accidents happen for many reasons. However, the primary reason for drivers fleeing the scene of an accident is the fear of the associated consequences. In most cases, drivers flee the scene of an accident because they are;
- Have outstanding arrest warrants
- Intoxicated at the time of the accident
- Driving a stolen vehicle
Drivers in any of the situations above often feel they have more to lose and would instead leave the accident scene hoping they’ll evade arrest. However, the reverse is true as they attract more significant consequences by fleeing the accident scene.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System And What It Means For Hit And Run Accidents
Minor hit and run accidents often result in non-fatal injuries and damages. Insurers may handle such accident cases the same way they would approach any other accident under the Florida no-fault insurance system.
For clarity, no-fault insurance states like Florida expect all drivers to be insured. Each driver involved in an accident will submit their claim with their insurer, regardless of the at-fault party. The insurer is saddled with the responsibility of paying damages for their customers.
No-fault insurance states have a record of faster claims processing than at-fault states. At-fault insurance states often waste time proving who is at fault and the extent of each party’s fault before compensation is discussed. In a no-fault state like Florida, insurers cater to the needs of their customers without hassles.
What Happens When Injury Exceeds Policy Limits?
Each driver has an auto insurance policy limit. This limit dictates the amount the insurer can cover in accidents and damages. Accident cases that exceed the policy limit set by the insurer pose a threat to the injured victim’s welfare and may require filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurer to make up the outstanding bills.
For example, if the injured driver’s policy is capped at $10,000 but has incurred $15,000 losses. Such a driver may be able to sue the at-fault party’s insurer for the $5,000 needed to offset their bills.
What Happens When Hit And Run Is Caused By An Uninsured Motorist
Some drivers violate the law by driving uninsured. Uninsured drivers are more likely to flee an accident scene to save themselves. If an uninsured driver has hit you, the chances are high that you may need to sue the driver for excesses that your insurer does not cover.
However, owning an uninsured motorist coverage may save you further stress. This auto insurance coverage covers your losses caused by an uninsured driver. Contact your insurance provider to discuss the possible outcomes of your case.
Recovering Fair Compensation In A Hit And Run Accident
Hit and run accident victims need to file a claim for compensation after the accident. Notably, you shouldn’t expect the insurance provider to handle it differently. It would be best to work with experienced injury lawyers familiar with the injury claims process. Contact a lawyer today by visiting https://halelaw.com or read more about personal injury claims in no-fault states.
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