Each year, more than 682,000 hit-and-run accidents occur across the country – with Florida getting its fair share. If you are in this situation, you may wonder what course of action you have – after all, the at fault driver fled. In this situation, the best thing you can do is to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida. You can also use the information found here to learn more.
Hit-and-Run Collisions and Liability
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, approximately 25 percent of all accidents will involve a hit-and-run scenario. In 2014, the state of Florida increased the criminal penalties for any driver who left the scene of an accident.
According to the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, this crime comes with a mandatory minimum of at least four years in jail for any driver that is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident that caused a fatality. This law was created and named after a 31-year-old father and cyclists was struck and killed in a 2012 crash. Before this update, a driver who left the scene of an accident faced penalties that were not as severe than drivers who stated at the scene of the accident and were then convicted of DUI manslaughter.
According to the existing law, if you flee the scene, you face a second- or a third-degree felony. This charge comes with a penalty of as much as $5,000 in fines and five years in jail, along with a license revocation period of at least three years.
Why Drivers Free
There are several reasons a driver may leave the scene of an accident. Along with intoxication, some of the most common reasons include driving without insurance or a license. In fact, Florida is at the top when it comes to the number of uninsured drivers on the road. In fact, more than a quarter of all Florida drivers aren’t insured.
Unfortunately, it has been shown that it is very challenging to receive recovery from at-fault drivers, even if the driver is found and held accountable for the accident. There re other options for recovery, though, including a claim against the property owner or municipality, or a claim against the accident victim’s own insurance if they have underinsured or uninsured coverage.
Understanding Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance Claims
Even if the other driver (that caused the accident) has insurance, the minimum required amounts are significantly low. This means they may not have enough coverage to provide compensation for all the damages and injuries.
It isn’t required for drivers to have uninsured or underinsured coverage; however, with these benefits on your own policy, you are protecting yourself and your family in the event of a hit-and-run accident. This coverage is going to pay for your injures and the injuries of your loved ones if they are in someone else’s vehicle, or while riding a bicycle or motorcycle. The UM and UIM coverage also cover pedestrians who are involved in a hit and run accident.
If you need help understanding your rights, or if you have questions about what type of compensation you can collect, contact our legal team at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates by calling (561) 687-5660. We will research your case and help figure out what options for compensation you have.