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What To Do After A Hit-and-Run in Florida

Imagine you’re driving down the road. You got a text with important information you’ve been waiting for the entire day. You’re driving on an empty lane, so you decide to send a reply. Your eyes are both on your mobile phone below and the road ahead. While you’re texting, a child runs into the streets to retrieve a ball, but you hit him. You’re worried and afraid. In the heat of the moment, you speed off. It’s a common example of a hit-and-run car accident.

An accident becomes a hit-and-run throughout Florida if the driver leaves the accident scene before the authorities arrive. It’s a serious crime where a driver involved in the accident leaves the scene without identifying themselves with anyone else involved in the incident. Often the consequences differ, depending on if someone was killed or injured, or the crash only involved property damage.

Hit-and-Run Law in Florida

In 2014, local government officials amended the hit-and-run laws in Florida with the death of cyclist Aaron Cohen, which paved the way for the creation of the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (section 316.027, Florida Statutes). This legislation outlined stricter laws, including penalties for a hit-and-run accident in Florida, which are:

  • Second-degree misdemeanor charges:

      • $500 fine and up to two months in prison for property damage
  • Second or third-degree felony charges:

      • $5,000 fine, minimum three-year license revocation, and up to five years in prison for injuries
  • First-degree felony charges:

    • $10,000 fine, minimum three-year license revocation, and up to four to five years in jail for fatalities

These penalties assume the driver is caught. While criminal justice offers satisfaction, you still have enough protection even if the police can’t locate or identify the driver, as long as you have the right insurance coverage and no one gets injured.

Things To Do After a Hit-and-Run in Florida

If you get involved in this kind of accident, there are simple steps that you can take. It’s best to learn about what to do in a hit-and-run accident.

  • Move your car to a safe place at the scene of the accident.

      • Make sure to stay as close as possible to the scene, but move out of the flow of traffic.
  • Make sure to check if someone is injured.

      • Check on all the passengers involved. Look for injuries and call the first responders if necessary.
  • Call the local authorities.

      • Filing a police report will support any insurance claims that you have to file, so it’s best to call them immediately and wait at the scene until they arrive.
  • Gather as much information as possible.

      • Take notes on details you remember about the other vehicle or driver, such as the direction they traveled when they left the scene, model, and make.
  • Check the scene of the accident.

      • The collision may have torn off a particular part of the other person’s vehicle, so check the scene of the accident.
  • Make sure to talk to eyewitnesses.

      • If anyone saw the hit-and-run in Florida, ask them to stay at the scene and provide details to the authorities.
  • Take pictures of the scene of the accident.

      • Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle or surrounding areas.
  • Call your insurance provider.

    • Talk to your insurance company. Make sure to ask them what information they’ll need to file your claim.
Penalties For Leaving the Scene
Accidents Involving Injury If the driver injures another person, this offense becomes a third-degree felony. Five years of probation with a $5,00 fine or five years in prison are the penalties for this charge.
Accidents Involving Death If the driver kills another passenger and leaves the scene, it’s a first-degree felony with a penalty of up to thirty years in jail along with a $10,000 fine. Drivers are also subject to mandatory license revocation. If the person charged with a hit-and-run is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, they can face a minimum term of 2 years in prison.
Accidents Involving Property Leaving the scene that only involved property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor. You might face a $500 fine or up to 60 days in prison.

Pro Tip

“It is essential to know that several legal consequences go along with being found guilty of the offense, including permanent revocation of license.”

Hit-and-Run Attorney in Florida

You can’t file a claim for damages from the person at fault if you can’t identify them. Local authorities can identify hit-and-run drivers from damages to vehicles involved or through talking to the witnesses. Law enforcement looks into the cause of the accident, and the defendant can face harsh penalties. Drivers who ran away could face the penalties of a third-degree felony, including hefty fines and imprisonment if the accident caused the death of another person or serious injuries. If the authorities identify the hit-and-run driver, criminal proceedings will follow.

Likewise, civil lawsuits will review the case, and a skilled attorney can help you get the proper compensation you deserve. Talk to Attorney Tom Grajek now.

FAQs about Hit-and-Run in Florida

How long does a hit-and-run stay on your record in Florida?

Category: What To Do After A Hit-and-Run in Florida

In Florida, hit-and-run accidents stay on your record for three to five years. Because Florida is a no-fault state, it won’t affect the premiums you’re paying unless you caused an accident and your insurance company had to pay for damage that you caused or to repair the other person’s vehicle. It’ll affect the rates.

What happens if you scratch someone’s car and leave?

Category: What To Do After A Hit-and-Run in Florida

If you hit another vehicle or a person and left the scene without calling the police or exchanging information, you can face steep penalties. Leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident resulting in property damage is only classified as a traffic infraction, meaning that it’s not a crime that will leave a mark on your permanent record. But if you get convicted in court, you can face up to fifteen days in prison and a $250 fine.

What is the statute of limitations for hit-and-run in Florida?

Category: What To Do After A Hit-and-Run in Florida

For a personal injury case from a hit-and-run accident, you have four years from the date of the incident to file a complaint in court. If you can’t file a claim within this period, you lose your legal right to recover your damages or seek justice. Often, there may be exceptions, but that’s rare!

Categories: Personal Injury
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