FLORIDA HIT AND RUN ACCIDENTS – THE IMPORTANCE OF UM INSURANCE – PART I

La abogada Mary Colina-Fowler explica que hacer a la hora de sufrir un accidente de auto
April 6, 2017
auto accident attorneys naples fl
FLORIDA HIT AND RUN ACCIDENTS -THE IMPORTANCE OF UM INSURANCE- PART II
May 17, 2017
auto accident attorney naples fl

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:

  1. Stop, render reasonable assistance to anyone, including arranging for transportation if medical treatment is necessary; to anyone injured;
  2. Report the accident to law enforcement;
  3. Provide information (name, address, vehicle registration number).

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:

  1. Remain as calm as possible and, if necessary and feasible, move to a safe place, and help the injured;
  2. Call 911 to report the accident to law enforcement and request medical assistance if needed. Reporting an accident is the best assurance that the details of the crash will be accurately recorded;
  3. Write down as much of the details as you can about the hit and run vehicle: its license plate, make, model, year and color; a description of the driver and any other occupants you saw; a description of any damage and any other distinguishing characteristics of that vehicle; and the direction it was travelling when you last saw it;
  4. Obtain and write down information about all vehicles involved; the drivers; passengers and other witnesses, including their contact information; and
  5. Take pictures! Most cell phones now have a camera. Use it! Take lots of pictures, including damage to the vehicles, the road and scene of the accident, the injuries and the witnesses. Don’t forget photos of the license plates of the vehicles involved. Remember: “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

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.