What Constitutes A Hit And Run
It is a Florida state law that anyone involved in an accident stop their vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Pulling over into a safe space is not considered running. A hit and run is legally defined as felling an accident that results in:
Death of another driver, passenger or pedestrian
Injury to another driver, passenger or pedestrian
Damage to property only (this would include hitting a parked car)
In the case where there is property damage but driver or owner is present, such as hitting a parked car that is unattended. It becomes a hit and run when the perpetrating driver does not give a "reasonable effort" to identify themselves as the cause of the damage. Examples of this would be leaving a note with identifying information of the driver and car or taking down the license plate of the car damaged, to contact the owner. This is the same for damage done to property that is not a vehicle, such as a mailbox, fence or structure.
Penalties For A Hit And Run
Any driver that is found to have ignored their required duties as a party in an accident is subject to penalty by law. The minimum punishment would be a traffic ticket. However, penalty can result in a "felony hit and run" charge in cases where the accident resulted in injury or death of another person. Specifically, in Florida a hit and run with only damage can result in a misdemeanor but when there is some kind of injury that often results in a felony. The punishment, for what can result all the way up to a 3rd degree felony, will depend on the severity of the accident and the proof of intentional fleeing of the scene.
Depending on the specifics of the accident and injuries, a hit and run can result in up to 15 years in state prison and $10,000 in fees. The important part for the victim and family to consider is restitution and that is when experienced legal counsel is necessary to help in getting the victim appropriate compensation.
Legal Help In Hit And Run Cases
With a hit and run case it is important to differentiate between punitive fees and damages owed to the victim. If we have identified the faulted driver in the hit and run, once charged with the penalty of payment or jail time there is an opportunity to get damages for the injuries or death that was caused by the accident.
If the unfortunate scenario has come about that the driver of the other vehicle has not been identified that is when your personal car insurance will come into play. Florida is a no-fault law state that can provide you with the opportunity to make a no-fault claim with your insurer. Either way, if you have fallen victim to the misfortune that is a hit and run accident you can have a free consultation with our car accident lawyers and go over your full options.