Understanding Hit and Run Accidents
When a person is involved in an accident with another person or vehicle, they are expected to remain at the accident scene until they provide their information to a police officer or other party involved in the crash. When they fail to do so and continue on without stopping, they are committing a crime.
This crime is called hit and run. A hit and run accident occurs when a vehicle hits a person, object, or another vehicle and the driver leaves the scene without stopping to give the other party their information. If no one is around, such as if you hit a parked car, you can legally leave a note with your information and then leave the accident scene.
When a hit and run involves property damage only, it is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. A person could face penalties of 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. When an injury is involved, it is considered a third-degree felony under Florida law. Penalties include five years in prison or five years of probation, along with a fine of $5,000. When a hit and run accident results in death, it is considered a first-degree felony. Penalties include a $10,000 fine and 30 years in prison.
Even though a hit and run accident is a crime, many people do it. The problem is especially bad in Florida, which has one of the highest numbers of fatal hit and runs per capita. From January 1, 2018 to October 20, 2019, the state saw a whopping 102,756 hit and run cases. Of those, there were 21,511 injuries and 215 fatalities. Most hit and run crashes involve parked cars.
Why do people flee the scene of an accident? Sometimes they are intoxicated and unaware of their surroundings. In some cases, the driver has a warrant for their arrest. In many cases, the person may not have a driver’s license or auto insurance and they don’t want to deal with the repercussions if the police find out.
What happens if you are hit by a driver who flees the scene? You should try to get a description of the vehicle. This includes the license plate, make and model of vehicle, color and any other identifying features. This information will help law enforcement catch the driver.
If you suffer vehicle damage or injuries, and the driver is not found, you may be on the hook for payment unless you have uninsured motorist coverage. This insurance coverage pays for damages caused by an uninsured or hit and run driver. Your insurance company foots the bill, giving you peace of mind. If you don’t already have this type of coverage, it’s recommended that you get it.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Car Accident Case
A car accident can be a frustrating situation, especially when the other driver causes the accident and flees the scene. Without the right insurance, you could be on the hook for damages.
Get help with your car accident case from the Tampa hit and run accident lawyers at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group. Even if the other driver cannot be located, we can help you understand your options for compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 813-242-4404 or filling out the online form.