Hit and run auto accidents are more common than you may think. According to the State Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were over 90,000 hit and run accidents in Florida in 2015. Of those, there were 19,000 injuries and 186 deaths. Almost 25% of all Florida crashes are “hit and run,” and nearly half of them involve pedestrians. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime [see F.S. §316.027]. The penalties are severe: driver’s license revocation for 3 years, plus punishment by fine and/or imprisonment as a first, second, or third degree felony, depending on the severity of any injuries caused. Sometimes these drivers are caught, but many times they are not.
The law (F.S. §§316.027 and 316.062) requires that a driver who is involved in a car accident do several things:
In addition to what the law requires, there are several things a driver can and should, or should not do, after a hit and run accident. The first thing you should not do is leave the scene of the accident. Chasing after the other driver can create problems for you. It may raise questions to law enforcement and to the insurance companies as to the actual circumstances of the accident. Also, you may miss the opportunity to obtain important information and evidence about the accident.
What you should do is:
Unfortunately, you cannot always control whether or not you are involved in a hit and run accident. What you can control is the insurance you purchase. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from being the victim of a hit and run accident is to buy adequate UM insurance.
Note: This article is provided as a public service and is for general information only. It is not intended, and should not be considered as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For specific legal issues it is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified and experienced attorney. You are welcome to call us with any questions about your legal rights.