Being involved in a car accident can often have lasting effects on individuals and their families, especially when the at-fault party illegally leaves the scene of the crash without providing his or her information. Injured victims and their families are often left with hefty medical expenses, loss of income from missing work, pain and suffering, and property damage.
However, if you or a loved one was the victim of a hit and run crash, you could be compensated for your damages, even if you don’t know who the perpetrator is. However, it is well-advised to consult with a licensed lawyer before settling your hit and run claim. Having a lawyer on your side means you can ensure your legal rights are protected to seek the full amount of compensation you may deserve.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our team of legal professionals is prepared to help guide you through the complexities of the legal process. Our compassionate lawyers understand the physical, emotional, and financial struggles individuals and their families must endure, especially when a loved one is seriously injured in a hit and run crash. Serious injuries can often lead to a lifetime of medical treatments, physical therapy, and psychological/emotional support, which can prove to be costly over a long period. Let our firm help you hold negligent wrongdoers accountable for your injuries and financial losses. Even if you were not injured in the hit and run crash, you could possibly seek compensation to repair or replace your vehicle, if necessary.
Read on to learn more about how Florida law interprets a hit and run crash and how leaving the scene of an accident may not always be illegal in the Sunshine State.
Florida Hit and Run Laws
While every state may differ in the way it handles a hit and run situation, Florida has specific rules that involve harsh penalties for wrongdoers. First of all, it is crucial to understand that there is a significant difference between what is commonly known as a hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.
In Florida, a driver can cause a crash and legally leave the scene of a crash, as long as no one was injured, and he or she leaves his or her personal information attached to the damaged vehicle. The driver is required to leave his or her name, address, phone number, and vehicle registration information. For example, if a driver damages someone’s parked car with no one inside and there are no injuries, it would be legal to attach a note of his or her information to the car and leave, rather than wait around for the vehicle owner to come back.
However, if the at-fault driver caused an injury, he or she is legally obligated to offer assistance to the injured victim, notify the proper authorities about the crash, and wait for the police to arrive and document the details of the accident. Even if you were not at-fault for causing the crash, you are still legally required to help the other driver get medical help if he or she is unable to do so.
Not adhering to these rules can result in harsh penalties and possible imprisonment. Illegally leaving the scene of a crash that only caused property damage, could result in a second degree misdemeanor, which could cost you up to $500 in fines and/or 60 days in jail. If an injury was caused to the other driver and you left the scene of the accident, you could be looking at $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison or probation.
If you leave an accident scene that resulted in a serious or catastrophic injury, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and possibly 15 years in jail. If the crash caused a fatality, you could be hit with $10,000 in fines and up to 35 years in prison.
Damages Available in a Hit and Run Crash
Depending on whether you were injured or your vehicle or other property was damaged in a hit and run accident, you could be eligible to pursue two main types of damages or financial losses. These damages are commonly referred to as:
Medical costs – When a hit and run accident victim sustains an injury, he or she could have the right to seek financial compensation to cover past, present, and future medical costs related to the crash. Some examples may include:
- Ambulance and emergency care
- Medical treatments and procedures
- Follow up doctor visits
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Prescription medications
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Assistive medical equipment/devices (wheelchairs, crutches, prosthetics, etc.)
Loss of income – If you were hurt in a hit and run accident and too injured to return to work in the same capacity as before the crash, you could be eligible to pursue loss of income. This means you could recover for wages and other work related benefits you may have lost during your recovery process or due to your injury.
If you suffered a permanent injury and can no longer perform the tasks required to fulfill your duties at the workplace, you could qualify for loss of future income. Your lawyer can help determine how much money you would have earned, had the injury not occurred. He or she can then negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to ensure your expenses are covered, so you can live comfortably, without having to worry about your finances on a daily basis.
Property damage – If your vehicle, home, or other significant property was damaged in a hit and run crash, you could hold the at-fault driver liable for these costs. It is important to have your lawyer perform a thorough investigation of the accident scene to collect evidence and help you build a robust case in your favor.
Besides the physical toll people often sustain in a hit and run crash, many accident victims have often been known to suffer psychologically and emotionally for long periods. Seriously injured victims may be confined to a wheelchair or at-home care for the rest of their lives. This can cause a person to suffer mentally, which can deteriorate and affect them physically in the long run. These damages are referred to as Non-Economic Damages. Some examples may include:
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Disfigurement/permanent scarring
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of emotional support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the hit and run crash resulted in the loss of a loved one, surviving family members could be eligible to recover some of the above-mentioned damages plus funeral and burial costs.
Call a Lawyer You Can Trust
If you or someone you know was the victim of a hit and run crash, contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today to schedule a complimentary, first-time review of your claim. Our accomplished attorneys have in-depth knowledge and experience working with hit and run accident cases.
Our reputable firm is committed to helping the people of Stuart by holding at-fault parties liable for their negligence (by appointment). We never settle for less when we fight for the legal rights of our clients. Altogether, our firm has helped our clients recover more than $100 million combined in successful verdicts and settlements.
There is no obligation required and your personal information is kept completely confidential. Let our team of legal professionals handle the legal details related to the accident, so you can focus on a healthy recovery with your loved ones.
Call Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today at (561) 800-8000 or fill out a free case evaluation form on our website.