Florida is one of the most popular travel destinations for the winter season. With multiple theme parks, hundreds of beaches and sun shinning weather, no wonder. When traffic increases, so do accidents. Make sure you have your bases covered, and get a lawyer after filing an accident with the police, especially if you’re involved in a hit-and-run.
Following the increase in fatalities in hit and run accidents, the Florida government has taken steps to increase the penalties faced by drivers of hit and run accidents. The department of highway safety and motor vehicles also provides information for people involved in hit and run accidents on its website http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/hitrun/. The website also details the penalties faced by drivers who flee the scene of a crash which vary according to the degree of damage (from minor property damage to death). The penalties include:
1. Revoked license
2. Minimum imprisonment of 4 years in case of a resulting death
3. Minimum imprisonment of 2-4 years in a DUI case resulting in death
The information in this article will guide on what to do if you are involved in a hit and run accident which is defined as an accident in which the driver of the vehicle leaves the scene of the accident without providing contact information. The accident may involve personal or property damage, meaning a hit and run accident covers both a person who has been hit by a car and a vehicle that has been damaged by another vehicle.
Leaving the scene of the accident is seen to be an admission of fault (most of us already know this, having watched enough crime series on TV). Nevertheless, people continue to run away for many reasons: they may be drunk, they may not have a license, they may be driving someone else’s car without permission. The important thing to remember is that the exists to protect everyone and the determination of who is the victim should be left to the courts. Florida follows comparative rules for personal injury cases. This means that damages are awarded according to the percentage of fault determined for both parties involved in the accident. To put it simply, even if you are at fault, facts that arise after an investigation may reveal that the other party was also partly negligent.
Proceeding Steps Before Heading Home
Victims of hit and run accidents should above all remain calm and rational, however difficult this may seem to begin with.
1. DO NOT choose to run after the other vehicle. You will have better chances of helping the police catch the driver by trying to remember and note down information.
2. Notify the authorities and your insurance company.
3. If possible, note down the registration number of the vehicle, along with any details regarding make, model and color.
4. List down a description of the driver. This is best done as early as possible while the incident is still fresh in your mind.
5. Request witnesses for information and keep their contact information for the police.
6. Make a sketch of the scene of the accident that shows the relative positions of the vehicles and people involved (including witnesses).
7. Take pictures of the accident scene and especially of damages. If you are personally injured, request someone around you to take pictures. This not only helps you in case of legal action, it also helps you to claim damages from your insurance company.