What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Vehicle Accident: A Step-by-Step Guide
By Team at Zimmet & Zimmet, In Personal injury
Feeling confused, angry, or scared after a Florida auto accident is normal. This is especially the case if you are the victim of a hit-and-run incident.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run incidents are more common in Florida than some people realize. About 25% of all accidents in the Sunshine State are classified as a hit and run. Due to the prevalence of these accidents, Florida has enacted several laws to help hold the at-fault driver responsible.
Even though the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident can be overwhelming and confusing, knowing what to do in this situation can help reduce the stress you feel. We encourage you to contact our experienced auto accident attorneys to help with the process.
What Is Considered a Hit and Run in Florida?
Florida law defines a hit-and-run accident. Someone who does one or both of the following may be considered to have committed this action:
- Leaving the accident scene before exchanging information
- Failing to provide medical aid to anyone who was injured
While anyone guilty of a hit-and-run accident will face penalties, they still occur regularly. In 2021, there were 304 fatalities from hit-and-run incidents.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Now that you understand what Florida considers a hit-and-run accident, you need to know what steps to take if you find yourself in this situation.
Contact the Police
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, ensure everyone is safe. Do not try to pursue the motorist who is fleeing the scene. If someone was injured, contact emergency services. You should also contact the police to report the incident.
Gather Evidence and Information
Try to write down the vehicle’s license plate number that hit you. This information is beneficial for the police and helps them to find the at-fault party.
Gather Contact Information from Witnesses
If someone saw what happened, request their contact information. Having witness testimony can be beneficial in helping the police find the person who hit you.
Take pictures (if possible) of the accident and scene. Photos help to document what happened and can be used as a source of evidence for your claim.
Record the Details
If you can, write down everything you remember leading up to and after the accident. Your memory may fade as time passes, so it is best to write this down as soon as possible. Small details may help you in the future.
Contact an Attorney
We recommend calling our office as soon as you can after a hit-and-run accident. We can investigate what happened and work to find the at-fault driver. We can also help you know your options to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
Recovering Compensation After a Florida Hit and Run Accident
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, trying to recover compensation may not be a priority. However, it is often possible to hold the driver responsible for your injuries and receive compensation for your damages, pain, and suffering.
You must file a claim with your auto insurance company to recover compensation after a hit-and-run incident. Ensure you have documentation of your injuries and evidence linking the at-fault driver to the incident.
Even if the at-fault driver cannot be found, your insurance company may still be able to help you recover compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Florida PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Coverage
In Florida, all drivers must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. When you are involved in any accident (even a hit-and-run incident), your PIP coverage will pay for personal injury damages, regardless of fault.
Unfortunately, if you experience a severe injury, PIP coverage may not be sufficient to cover the damages. This is why it is also wise to invest in uninsured motorist coverage. This offers an additional layer of protection that will help you cover the costs of a more serious accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Another type of protection is UM Coverage. This can provide coverage if the other party does not have enough coverage to pay your damages. This is particularly helpful in a hit-and-run accident when the at-fault driver cannot be found.
How common are Florida hit-and-run accidents?
Hit-and-run accidents are more common than many people realize. In 2022, there were almost 105,000 hit-and-run accidents in the state. Over 1,000 caused serious injuries, while 266 resulted in fatalities. Because of how common they are, it may not matter if you are involved in this type of accident, but when. Knowing what steps to take will help you handle the situation.
Is it possible to find the at-fault party in a hit-and-run accident?
Finding the at-fault party in hit-and-run accident cases is possible in some situations. It is wise to remember and write down any information about the vehicle that hits you that you can. This includes the vehicle description, license plate number, or anything else that may help identify it.
If you do not have any information about the vehicle, witness information can help (in some cases). Using the information you and the witnesses provide may help the police find the at-fault driver.
Will a hit-and-run insurance claim impact your auto insurance rates?
After sustaining an injury in a hit-and-run accident in Florida, the first step is to get evaluated by a medical professional. After receiving treatment, it may be time to take legal action against the at-fault driver.
Florida handles hit-and-run incidents differently than other accidents.
Florida follows no-fault laws. This means your insurance policy is the main source of compensation for the damages you experience.
After a hit-and-run accident, contact your insurance company immediately to report what happened. The insurance company will take time to investigate your claim to determine if it will provide coverage. While waiting for this decision, contacting an auto accident lawyer from Zimmet & Zimmet to help with your situation is smart. Our lawyers will collect evidence and work to build a solid case so you can recover compensation.
If you do not know how your insurance company will respond to the hit-and-run incident, it is best to contact it.
Let Us Help with Your Hit-and-Run Accident Case
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet can help. We can explain your rights and legal options in this situation. While hit-and-run cases can seem complex and overwhelming, we have helped victims for decades and can provide you with the same quality and experienced representation.
While a hit-and-run accident does have factors that traditional accidents do not, it is still possible to recover compensation. Knowing your options will help you do this and help you avoid financial hardship because of the incident.
The first step in this situation is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation. We will review the facts of your case and create a plan to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
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