Were you involved in a hit-and-run accident on State Highway 19 or another Florida roadway? Every year, thousands of hit-and-run cases occur statewide, with many of these accidents involving injury or even fatalities. Hit-and-run car crash victims are often left with the difficult task of recovering from the accident with nobody to immediately hold accountable for their injuries.
The hit-and-run accident lawyers at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC can provide the legal counseling and support you need if you were injured in a hit & run crash. Our Florida hit and run accident lawyers have substantial experience handling car accident cases, including hit-and-run accidents.
Hit and Run Accidents and Florida Law
In 2022 alone, over 90,000 hit-and-run accidents were reported, with over 20,000 resulting in bodily injury. Under Florida law, leaving the crash scene is illegal. In addition to the serious injury that a car accident can provoke, a hit-and-run driver may face criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident. These include a second-degree misdemeanor for property damage, a second or third-degree felony for injuries, and a first-degree felony for fatalities. The at-fault driver could also potentially have their driver's license revoked.
In the event of a wrongful death, a driver convicted of a hit-and-run fatality could be issued a mandatory minimum of four years in prison and a maximum sentence of up to 30 years. Additionally, if the vehicle crash involved a blood alcohol content above the legal limit, the driver could also face a DUI manslaughter charge incurring a fine of up to $10,000.
A hit-and-run accident may open up the possibility of a criminal case. However, a car accident victim is also able to pursue damages from the other driver through a personal injury claim. A qualified hit-and-run accident attorney can help you understand the differences between criminal cases and civil cases and walk you through your options for pursuing financial compensation after a car accident with a hit-and-run driver.
Hit & Runs Are Caused By Negligence
Drivers must take certain actions if they are involved in a crash, including:
- Immediately stopping the vehicle at the scene of the crash.
- Rendering aid, to the extent possible, to victims of the accident.
- Exchanging information with the victim, including names, addresses, and the name of their insurance carrier.
In a hit-and-run, a driver does not stop. This is often because he or she is already engaging in unlawful behavior, such as drinking and driving or driving without insurance.
In some instances, a driver may simply not realize that he or she struck a person. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles are left to deal with the consequences of a hit & run crash without a driver to hold accountable.
Pursuing Compensation When the Driver is Found
If the driver who struck you is found, you can hold the driver liable for your injuries. Details about the vehicle involved, including the license plate number, make, and model of the car can sometimes aid in tracking down the responsible party when the driver flees the scene of the accident. You must prove the driver's liability to hold him or her accountable. Many motor vehicle accidents, including hit & run crashes, result from negligent driving.
Florida drivers must use reasonable care to avoid injury to themselves and others. In other words, they must be as careful as a reasonably prudent person would be under the same circumstances.
A driver violates this duty of care when he or she engages in certain careless behavior, such as speeding or distracted driving. The victim must show that the driver breached his or her duty when the crash occurred and also must show causation, which means that the driver's breach must be connected to the victim's injuries.
If the hit-and-run was a drunk driving accident, you may use negligence per se to seek compensation. Negligence per se means that a person was negligent as a matter of law. It is a criminal offense in Florida to drive under the influence. If the driver is convicted of a DUI, you need only demonstrate that his or her decision to drive under the influence caused your injuries.
What if the Driver is Not Found?
It may take time to find the driver who struck you, and in some cases, a driver may never be found. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that your car insurance policy can provide you with coverage for the accident regardless of who the at-fault driver was. You can look to your own insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries.
Florida requires motorists to obtain personal injury protection coverage. If you have coverage, your own insurance provider will cover 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages up to the amount of your coverage.
You also may have coverage under other insurance policies, such as underinsured or uninsured motorist protection coverage or medical insurance coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can provide coverage for the damages caused by an unknown driver just as it would for a driver without insurance. Or you may have coverage under the policy of another member of your household.
Damages You May Recover
Injuries from a car accident can be an enormous financial burden. It's crucial, however, that you seek medical attention for your injuries and follow the doctor's advice on recovery and any follow-up treatments you may need. Hit & run victims may be able to recover damages that include compensation for medical attention and hospital expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Surviving family members of a deadly hit & run crash can get compensation for the deceased victim's medical bills, funeral expenses, and other damages through a wrongful death claim.
Contact Our Florida Hit & Run Accident Attorneys
At Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, our Florida hit & run attorneys are determined to provide hit & run victims with the tenacious advocacy they need to obtain compensation for their injuries.
We can assert your right to coverage through your insurer and, once the hit & run driver is found, pursue your claim against the driver. You can depend on our extensive experience in the area of personal injury law and on our commitment to client service. We serve clients in Hernando, Citrus, and Pasco Counties.
Call us today or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.