When you are involved in an auto accident, you are supposed to pull over, stop, and exchange information with the other drivers involved. In fact, in Florida, it’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident without providing your personal and vehicle registration information to the other drivers.
Unfortunately, for many individuals (especially new drivers), this is not enough to keep them from fleeing the scene after causing an accident. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that hit-and-run crashes are on the rise. From 2012 through 2014, there were over 235,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida, and in 2014 one out of every four crashes was a hit-and-run.
Here are our tips for what to do (and what not to do) if you are injured in a hit-and-run collision:
DO: Collect as much information the vehicle as possible.
If at all possible, record the other driver’s license plate number. Write it down, snap a photo, record a voice memo in your —do whatever is quickest and easiest for you. If you have the hit-and-run driver’s license plate number, this will be the best way to hold him or her accountable for your injuries and other losses.
If you did not get a look at the license plate, what else do you remember the vehicle? Make and model? Color? Approximate age? The part of the vehicle that collided with yours? These are all details that could help the police and our investigators identify the negligent driver.
DO: Call the police.
You should always call the police after a hit-and-run accident. Request to file a report, and be sure to provide as many details of the accident and the other vehicle as possible.
DO: Talk to any witnesses.
If anyone stops to help you, politely ask what they saw and request their name and information. These individuals could be key witnesses in your case, especially if they took photos or got a good look at the other vehicle.
DON’T: Leave the scene of the accident.
You should not leave the scene of the accident until you have spoken with the police. If you leave, this could make it much more difficult to pursue a claim against the other driver or with your insurance company (as is often necessary with hit-and-run accidents). Also, never, never attempt to chase after a hit-and-run driver.
DON’T: Assume there is nothing you can do.
Even if you are not able to collect any information the vehicle that hit you, you likely still have options for seeking compensation to cover your losses. Whether this involves identifying the hit-and-run driver through an investigation or using your own uninsured motorist coverage (or “stacking” multiple uninsured motorist policies), you may still be able to recover the money you need to cover your vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and other losses.
Have you been injured in a hit-and-run accident in Florida? If so, our board-certified civil trial team at Brian D. Guralnick, Injury Lawyers can help you seek just compensation. Unlike many firms, we do not settle for less than our clients deserve solely for the convenience of closing cases quickly and with minimal effort. Instead, we fight for more, demanding that insurance companies compensate our clients for the losses they have suffered due to no fault of their own. To put it plainly — We demand justice for our clients.
If you would like to learn more, or if you are seeking honest, straightforward advice on your potential claim, call me personally at (561) 983-4395 or request a free consultation online now and we will be in touch.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.