Legal Options For Hit-And-Run Accident Victims In Florida
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a hit-and-run accident occurs when one person who is involved in an accident;
- flees the accident scene after giving little or not giving any information or help to the other person(s) involved in the accident; or
- fails to report the accident.
According to the NHTSA, an estimated 737,100 hit-and-run crashes occurred in 2015. This means that, in the United States, a hit-and-run accident happens every 43 seconds.
As much as any car accident is stressful, being in a hit-and-run accident adds a layer of tension. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are quite common in the Sunshine State. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates that almost 25% of all Florida crashes involve a hit and run. Because of the prevalence of hit-and-run accidents in Florida, the State has established strict hit-and-run laws. In 2014, for instance, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection (ACLP) Act was signed into Florida Law. The ACLP Act imposes a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of four years for a driver found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person.
Legal Options for Hit-and-Run Accident Victims
After being in a hit-and-run accident, it is crucial for you to keep in mind that there are legal options that could help you pay for your medical expenses and other losses. So, after a hit-and-run accident, avoid chasing the other driver. If you chase after another driver, you will complicate the situation. For example, if you pursue the other driver, you might end up causing another accident or even facing “leaving the scene of an accident” charges. Instead of chasing another driver, call the police and give them as much information as you can about the other car. The police can help track down a driver who flees from an accident scene.
As you wait for the police to track down the other driver, it is crucial that you speak to a skilled car accident attorney who can help you evaluate your legal options.
Below are two legal options that can help you after a hit-and-run accident, even if the hit-and-run driver is not caught.
No-Fault Insurance (PIP Coverage)
If the other driver is never caught or identified, you can obtain compensation from your insurance company if you have PIP coverage. In Florida, PIP covers medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In Florida, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage helps car accident victims pay for damages caused by a driver with no insurance or insufficient insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage can cover you after a hit-and-run accident since you technically cannot obtain compensation from the insurance company of a driver you cannot identify. However, since uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in Florida, you should check your policy after a hit-and-run accident to see whether you have this coverage.
Legal Help Is Available
If you have been in a Florida hit-and-run accident, remember that you have legal options. Our Fort Myers Personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm are here to help you. We can assess your hit-and-run accident case and help you determine what steps to take. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ocala, Bradenton, Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale areas.