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What To Do In A Hit And Run Accident

Hit and run accidents are very common in Florida. In 2015, there were 92,000 hit and run accidents causing 19,000 injuries and 208 fatalities. Even with strict penalties including felony charges and a minimum of 3 year license suspension, hit and run accidents are not decreasing. This illegal behavior is a huge issue and makes getting compensation for your property damage and injuries incredibly difficult. So if you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, here’s what you should do.

What Is A Hit And Run?

A hit and run is when a driver has been in a vehicle collision with either another car, a fixed object, a pedestrian, or cyclist, and then immediately left the scene of the accident. Under Florida Statute 316, if a car owner gets into an accident they are required to do the following:

  • Stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident.
  • If another person is injured, provide reasonable assistance including calling an ambulance or emergency services if necessary.
  • In the case of injury or death, the driver is required to contact the police.
  • Notify the operator of the vehicle, property owner, cyclist, or pedestrian of their name, address, and vehicle registration number. If the property is unattended, the driver is required by law to find the owner.
  • Show their driver’s license to the other party.
  • Provide their driver’s license, vehicle registration number, address, and any other necessary information to the police.

If a driver has failed to do these things they are in violation of Florida law and their actions are considered a hit and run.

Why Do People Commit Hit And Runs?

There are severe penalties in the state of Florida for hit and run accidents. If there has been any injury or death, there is an automatic felony charge, even when the driver is not at fault. In cases of property damage, there is a misdemeanor charge. So with such strong penalties, it is hard to see why anyone would commit a hit and run. Here are the main reasons people commit a hit and run are:

  • They are driving without a license, insurance, or legal registration
  • They were currently committing a crime or have a warrant out for their arrest
  • They are under the influence or in possession of drugs or alcohol
  • They were scared and panicked
  • They do not think the accident caused enough damage to warrant stopping

What To Do If You Are In A Hit And Run?

The first few minutes of a hit and run are crucial. You must act quickly if you are to get any information about the driver. If you or your passengers are not severely injured and need immediate medical care, take these steps:

  • Try to get the license plate number of the other driver
  • Note the make, model, year, color, and any unique characteristics of the vehicle
  • Also note if the driver’s vehicle has been damaged in the accident
  • If you can try to remember the physical characteristics of the driver
  • Talk to witnesses to the accident and see if they got any information on the driver
  • Call the police
  • Take pictures of the accident
  • Wait for the police to arrive and complete an accident report
  • Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened

There are also a few things you should not do if you’ve been in a hit and run accident.

  • Never try to pursue the other driver. If you leave the scene you are also committing a crime.
  • Do not leave the scene of the accident even if the other driver is gone, that is also in violation of the law. Plus if the driver left because they panicked, they may return to the scene of the accident.
  • Try not to lose your temper. Getting angry will not resolve the issue.

Getting into a hit and run accident can be terrible, but if you know what to do, you will help the police catch the perpetrator and be more likely to get an insurance claim for your damages. If you’ve been in a hit and run, it is best to contact an attorney. They can help you navigate the legal system and make sure you get the money you need for your claim.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

What To Do In A Hit And Run Accident

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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