Hit and Run Accidents
In 2017, the Florida Highway Patrol reported that there were 98,000 hit and run crashes in Florida. The State of Florida refers to a hit and run incident as leaving the scene of a car accident. Hit and run accidents can be devastating to victims and their loved ones. Failure to stop and render aid may delay or prevent the ability of first responders who deliver critical life-saving treatment to other motorists or pedestrians. The victim's condition could deteriorate significantly because of another motorist’s failure to stop and render aid. This failure by the driver may become the basis of liability and may result in criminal consequences for that motorist.
In any circumstance, it is illegal in Florida to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information between involved parties. According to the department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the penalties for hit and run drivers changed on July 1, 2014, when the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (section 316.027, Florida Statutes) was signed into Florida law. The statute is named after Aaron Cohen, a 31-year-old avid cyclist, and father of two that was fatally struck by an alcohol-impaired driver that fled the crash scene in February 2012 in central Florida. The hit and run driver was sentenced to two years in prison, a lesser sentence than what the motorist would have served had he been sentenced on a DUI manslaughter charge. The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act imposes a mandatory minimum of 4 years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a fatality. The department also states that hit and run drivers leaving the scene of an accident with injuries can be charged with a second or third-degree felony, a revoked license for up to three years, and/or up to five years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine.
In the event of a hit and run, the next steps can be confusing for victims. Though the other driver fled the scene, it is still very important to call the police to report the accident, even if there were no injuries. This can help serve as evidence of the crash when making an insurance claim or pursuing compensation for injury or damaged property. Victims should never attempt to pursue the other party after a hit and run, but it is helpful to try and make note of the details of their vehicle, such as the car make, model, color, license plate number, and any other helpful identifying features you can remember. You may also be able to get information from others who witnessed the crash or surrounding businesses, which may have security cameras that could have captured the crash.
A hit and run accident can have devastating and lasting consequences for all parties involved. Our attorneys have experience with these types of accidents, and we know how to navigate the complicated laws surrounding hit and run accidents. Moody Law is here to help you with the civil aspects of your case. The personal injury lawyers at Moody Law offer free consultations. You pay no fee or cost unless we win your case. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, some Clients have retained us by electronic signing using email with no personal contact. We are honored to discuss your case with you by telephone or you can schedule an office conference at one of our conveniently located offices in Lakeland or Bartow, FL. Also, we offer free consultation home or hospital visits to all surrounding communities, including Winter Haven, Haines City, Plant City, Tampa and Sebring. Request your free consultation today online or call our law firm at (863) 733-9090.