What To Do After A Hit and Run In Florida

Knowing what to do in a hit-and-run is essential for any driver. Taking proper steps after a crash in which the at-fault driver leaves the scene can influence everything from your injury recovery to your ability to secure compensation for said injuries.

However, the right steps to take after a hit-and-run may vary somewhat from one state to another. Learn about what to do after a Florida hit and run to protect yourself and your rights in The Sunshine State.

Reporting a Hit and Run in Florida

Florida law requires reporting a motor vehicle wreck if it causes any of the following:

  • Bodily injury
  • Death
  • Estimated property damage of at least $500

You can sustain injuries in a motor vehicle wreck without knowing it right away. When adrenaline is pumping through your body, it can have a numbing effect that prevents you from noticing injury symptoms. In addition, it can be difficult to accurately gauge the extent of property damage immediately after a wreck.

Call 911 after virtually any crash in Florida. Even after a seemingly minor collision, filing a report may be a legal requirement.

A dispatcher will send an officer to the scene to investigate. Cooperate with their investigation, but be careful to avoid saying anything indicating you may have caused the wreck. Also, don’t say you don’t think you’re injured. See a doctor once the police officer lets you leave to confirm you’re unharmed. If you need treatment, keep medical records accordingly.

Other steps to take at the scene of a hit-and-run in Florida include:

  • Taking pictures of the scene and any conditions that may have contributed to the wreck
  • Getting the names and contact information of witnesses
  • Recording witness’ statements if they will let you do so
  • Identifying nearby businesses that may have security footage of the crash, and asking them to save the footage
  • Writing down (and sharing with the police) any details you remember about the vehicle or driver who struck you

Don’t worry if you haven’t yet reported a crash despite the law requiring you to do so. If you didn’t report a crash at the scene, you can report a traffic crash online or through the mail.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene in Florida

Penalties for leaving the scene of a Florida hit-and-run can depend on the consequences of the wreck. Leaving the scene of a crash resulting solely in vehicle or property damage is a misdemeanor of the second degree in Florida. The maximum jail term for a misdemeanor of the second degree in Florida is 60 days. Or, a misdemeanor of the second degree might result in a fine of up to $500.

Penalties can be much more severe when a driver leaves the scene of a wreck resulting in injury or death. Along with harsher jail/prison terms and fines, they may include loss of driving privileges. Various factors can influence how long a motorist may lose their driving privileges for.

Victim Compensation in Hit-and-Run Cases

Florida’s system for compensating car wreck victims proves very beneficial in hit-and-run cases. In most states, when someone else causes a wreck, victims may seek compensation for losses like medical bills and lost wages by filing claims with the at-fault party’s insurer.

This isn’t an option in a Florida hit-and-run when a driver has fled the scene and remains unidentified. Luckily, it’s also not an issue in Florida.

Floridians must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to register vehicles with at least four wheels in the state. PIP coverage must include a minimum of $10,000 for injuries.

You can file a claim with your PIP insurance provider after a Florida hit-and-run. Insurance should cover 80 percent of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to your policy limits. Even if you never identify the driver who caused your wreck, you can seek at least some compensation through your insurance.

Seeking Damages After a Hit and Run

The compensation your insurance provides after a Florida hit and run might not be enough to thoroughly compensate you for all losses. You might have grounds to take legal action against the driver responsible for your injuries in these circumstances. You may do so if your injuries include any of the following:

  • Permanent and significant loss of a key bodily function
  • Permanent injury
  • Permanent and substantial scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

You will need to identify the party who caused the wreck to file a third-party claim or lawsuit against them. Doing so may require an investigation after a hit-and-run.

Investigating Hit-and-Run Accidents in Florida

Providing the police with identifying information about the driver who caused the wreck in a Florida hit-and-run may help the police track them down. Details you might provide include:

  • The vehicle make/model
  • Other identifying details, such as the vehicle’s color
  • The vehicle’s license plate number (or a partial license plate number, if that’s all you have)
  • The direction in which the vehicle was headed
  • Any signs of damage to the vehicle

Witnesses may also provide valuable information. Stay in touch with the police after the crash, as they may investigate and identify the liable driver.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage for a Hit and Run in Florida

What To Do After A Hit and Run In FloridaUninsured motorist (UM) coverage is extra coverage you may purchase in Florida. If you exhaust the limits of your PIP coverage, only to find the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, UM coverage may provide additional compensation.

True, you could file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver who caused your injuries, but there’s no guarantee a jury will award damages. Even if they do, an uninsured motorist may not have the financial means to pay you what they owe. You may seek compensation by filing a UM claim accordingly in these circumstances.

Contact a Florida Hit and Run Injury Attorney

Navigating legal options after a hit-and-run crash doesn’t need to be as confusing or overwhelming as you might expect. At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, a Florida hit-and-run injury lawyer can help you with everything from negotiating a settlement with your insurance to investigating the crash. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at (619) 233-5020 for a free case review.

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