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Florida Is Seeing Hit & Runs Rise

The traffic law in Florida—as in other states in the country—is very clear on what to do in the event of a traffic accident. When an accident occurs, anyone involved in the accident is expected to remain in the scene, especially if injuries are involved. It is not just unethical, it is actually illegal for a driver to flee the area when an accident occurs, and this is known, colloquially, as a “hit and run.”

However, despite the fact that a decision to hit and run is against the law, hit and run incidents are on the rise. Perhaps even more sobering, Florida is one of the top states in the USA where hit runs are on the increase. And this means bad news for everyone.

Why It Matters

One of the reasons why remaining at the scene of an accident is essential is for both legal and insurance purposes. Police that arrives at an accident will want to conduct an investigation and, of course, talk to the witnesses as well as participants and victims of the accident. Information between accident victims will need to be exchanged so that damage can be properly assessed and then addressed by the insurance companies that represent the drivers. In other words, remaining on the scene is the fast way to ensure a swift, efficient legal and financial resolution to the accident. It causes the least amount of trouble and paperwork for everyone.

Fleeing the scene, on the other hand, creates complications, and, for the person that flees, a breach of law with criminal charges. This is even more serious when injury or death is involved, such as the April 14 incident, where a Tampa man ignored a stop sign, resulting in a collision with another car that killed the other driver, and then offender fled on foot. In this instance, fleeing on foot was ultimately a futile effort, since the driver also had a passenger that remained in the vehicle and was questioned by police.

A Clear Case Of Negligence

One thing is for sure, which many people who flee the scene don’t consider; the act of fleeing is itself an act of negligence. This means that if you are the victim of a hit and run accident, legally, you are in an advantageous position, compared to the person who fled. Usually, people who flee an accident scene do so because they either do not wish to face the legal ramification of causing an injury to others, or do not want to face the rise in premiums their insurance may levy as a result of being at fault in an accident.

It’s important to note, however, that fleeing the scene of an accident does not necessarily mean automatic fault goes to the person that fled. As bizarre as it may be to think, it is legally possible that someone could be the victim of an accident and not be at fault at all, but still choose to not remain at the accident site. In such cases, the person would be guilty under the law of a “hit and run,” at least in terms of fleeing the scene, but may not actually be at fault for the accident itself!

This is usually not the case in most hit and run incidents, obviously, since it is normally the person at fault that doesn’t wish to remain. So if you find yourself in such an accident, do your part. Remain at the scene, cooperate with the police, especially if there is an injury involved. And remember to seek the guidance of an experienced car crash lawyer to help you get through this experience.