Stopping after an accident is required by law when a crash causes property damage, injury, or death. Drivers stop so they can exchange insurance information and contact details. A driver should also stop to see if anyone is hurt and to make sure aid is provided to injured victims as quickly as possible. Failure to stop can have profound consequences for the health of crash victims if medical attention is delayed. Other very serious consequences can also follow a hit-and-run, both for victims and for drivers who leave the scene.
Hit-and-runs are, unfortunately, far too common within Florida. Anyone in car accidents with hit-and-run drivers may have a difficult time getting compensation for crash losses until the driver is found.
While Florida law requires personal injury protection coverage (PIP), this type of coverage won't necessarily cover all damages the collision caused. Large amounts of monetary damages in excess of policy limits, as well as payment for pain and suffering, will not be paid by a PIP policy. Drivers need to find the driver who hit and hurt them to be fully compensated.
Hit-and-Run Accidents Can have Grave Consequences
Victims of a hit-and-run may have big problems getting the money from the other driver.
In a typical car accident, both parties exchange information so insurers or courts can determine how bills for damages should be paid. When a driver has fled the scene, the victims may not be able to pursue a claim for compensation unless the at-fault motorist can be found.
Florida does not require uninsured motorist coverage, so a crash victim who doesn't have this type of optional coverage may be limited to getting only the benefits available through his PIP policy. This can leave the victim with substantial uncompensated losses.
If the at-fault driver is found, the crash can have profound consequences for the driver who was to blame for an accident and who left the crash scene. Orlando Sentinel reported recently on a man who was sentenced to four years of imprisonment for causing a car accident death and subsequently leaving the crash scene. Four years is the mandatory minimum sentence for leaving the scene of a deadly crash. The driver in this case pled guilty to the charges. Had he gone to trial, he faced as long as 30 years imprisonment.
Police conduct vigorous investigations into hit-and-run accidents, especially when crashes are serious or fatal. The at-fault driver can often be identified from witness reports, from tips provided when police post bulletins asking people to call in with information, and even through the use of social media.
When an at-fault driver is found, victims can make a civil case to recover for serious damages as long as they can prove the driver was negligent and caused the crash to occur.