After an accident, all involved parties are required to remain at the scene until police and emergency services arrive. Failure to do so is a criminal offense called “leaving the scene of an accident,” but more commonly referred to as a “hit and run.”
If you hit by a driver who fled the scene, we invite you to contact a Clearwater hit and run accident attorney at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers. Backed by 60 years of experience, we know the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies and courts after hit-and-run accidents. Call us today for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.
Call (727) 787-2500 to take advantage of a FREE case review.
Know Your Rights After a Hit & Run in Clearwater, FL
Hit and run accidents happen all the time across the state of Florida, and they can seriously jeopardize the rights and well-being of injured victims.
Not only is fleeing the scene of an accident a criminal offense in Florida (particularly because it puts victims at risk of not receiving medical attention), it can also make for complications should an injured victim attempt to pursue a recovery of their damages, including the costs of any future medical needs, that arise as a result of the crash.
The unfortunate truth is that hit and run accidents frequently result in situations where injured parties are not able to hold the at-fault driver responsible for a crash.
This is because:
- The hit and run driver was never found, or
- The hit and run driver was located but did not have insurance.
These are the two most common scenarios victims face, and they can be detrimental to a personal injury case. In some cases, a driver who fled the scene may be located and may have enough insurance to cover a victim’s damages, but it is not the norm.
Even if a driver is found and made to face criminal charges, victims need to know that this will not provide the compensation they need to cover their damages. Restitution may be available, but it will still likely not be enough to meet a victim’s needs.
Who Pays for a Hit & Run Accident?
Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws make it easier than in many states to recover compensation after this type of car accident. Rather than relying on the at-fault driver’s insurance, each driver carries personal injury protection (PIP) insurance which covers you regardless of fault up to $10,000. This means that, even if police never catch the driver that hit you, you can still get insurance money to cover your damages.
However, PIP may not be enough to cover the total cost of damages from your hit-and-run accident. Many Florida residents purchase additional forms of coverage such as uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This provides compensation for medical expenses caused by an at-fault driver who either doesn’t have insurance or fled the scene.
Hit-and-run collisions involving property damage, personal injury, or wrongful death carry serious penalties in the state of Florida. In some cases, the court may order the at-fault driver in a hit and run accident (if identified) to pay restitution to the victim.
Florida Statute § 316.027(2)(d) explains:
“The court shall order the driver to make restitution to the victim [of a hit-and-run] for any damage or loss unless the court finds clear and compelling reasons not to order the restitution. Restitution may be monetary or non-monetary restitution.”
Call Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help With An Auto Accident Lawyer in Clearwater
For more information about your rights after an accident, contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to speak with a hit-and-run accident lawyer in Clearwater during a FREE consultation. We proudly serve clients in Pinellas County, Pasco County, and all surrounding areas.