Florida continuously ranks high in pedestrian deaths compared to other states. The Governors Highway Safety Association found Florida had a fatality rate of 2.96 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014. Hit and run accidents are a major contributor to these fatalities. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 180 people were killed in hit and run crashes last year. Another 19,000 injuries were sustained in a total of 92,000 hit and run incidents. If you lost a loved one or were hurt in a hit and run crash in Florida, call Tavares personal injury lawyers Oldham & Smith at 1 (800) 887-5895 right away. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in Florida and the other driver’s crime can help prove your case in court, enabling you to receive the recovery you deserve.
Florida Hit and Run Law
Under Florida statute 316.027, if a driver is involved in any sort of accident that causes someone to get hurt, then he or she needs to remain at the crash site and speak with emergency personnel and the police when they arrive. The driver is required to stop at or near the scene of the accident and then, under statute 316.062 is required to provide aid and information. A motorist is also required to stop and remain at the accident if the crash led only to property damage, under statute 316.061.
When a motorist is involved in an accident and does not stay put, he or she can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. It does not matter whether the motorist continues driving immediately or if he or she initially stops and then moves on. Leaving an accident that involves property damage, personal injury, or another person’s death without first speaking with the police is a crime.
Criminal Punishments for Hit and Run Accidents
If a driver leaves the scene of an accident that only caused property damage, he or she can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and $500 fine. A motorist who leaves the scene of a collision that caused someone harm will be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the hit and run crash led to someone’s death, the motorist who drove away will face a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Civil Actions Following a Hit and Run Collision
If you suffered personal injuries during a hit and run crash or you lost a loved one, you have the right to bring a civil action against the other driver. The criminal charges and consequences of a hit and run are separate from any civil lawsuit you file.
If the other driver is charged and found guilty of leaving the scene of the accident that led to your injuries, this is strong evidence supporting your claims for recovery in your civil pursuit. However, if a prosecutor chooses not to file charges for the hit and run accident or if the other driver manages to get off and escape conviction, this does not bar you from recovery. You may still be able to show during the civil lawsuit that the other driver was negligent in causing your accident and then negligent again in failing to stay and provide you aid or the police information.
Contact Oldham & Smith, Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or your loved one was a victim of a hit and run accident, you need an experienced auto accident lawyer by your side. The attorneys of Oldham & Smith can help you manage insurance claims and determine if a civil lawsuit is the right course of action for you. Contact us today at (352) 292-1620 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.