Watch Out for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Recently a 48-year-old Florida man in a wheelchair was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Sarasota. The victim was believed to be crossing in the crosswalk of U.S. 301 where he was struck by a moving vehicle that fled the scene. The victim, who later died from injuries sustained in the accident, lived a block away from the crash site in an assisted living facility. After the accident, the Sarasota Police Department released footage from the red light camera in the intersection to appeal to news viewers for anyone with information to come forward. According to an update by Fox 13 news, a Florida teen was arrested after he turned himself in at the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office upon seeing the video. In this circumstance, the victim’s family is able to seek justice against the offender but often times, offenders of hit-and-run accidents do not come forward without considerable pressure.
Hit-and-Run Accidents in Florida
A hit-and-run accident refers to situations in which a driver intentionally flees the scene of an accident and fails to stop to provide their information. Accidents may occur between cars, between a car and a pedestrian or bicyclist, or between a car and a piece of property, like a mailbox, for instance. Hit-and-run accidents commonly occur against parked cars in situations where the other driver or witnesses are not around to hold the offender accountable for their actions.
If you are ever in the unfortunate situation of being the victim of a hit-and-run accident, consider these tips, if applicable, to try to increase your chances of recovery:
- Take note of the car’s make, model, color, license plate number, or any defining characteristics like bumper stickers or dents
- Write down the time and place of the accident
- If you see the driver, make note of the driver’s race, gender, hair color, and other descriptive features
- Look for anyone who may have witnessed the accident and get their contact information
- Check the scene for any traffic cameras or privately owned cameras that may have captured the accident.
- Use your cell phone or camera to photograph any damage to your vehicle or property
- Call the police and provide them with the information you’ve gathered
In hit-and-run accidents, the smallest details can help identify the driver who hit you.
Once you’ve gathered all the information possible, you should report the accident to your insurance company. According to an article published by the insurance company, ESurance, the party responsible for damages and medical care will depend on various factors including whether the fleeing driver was identified and your state of residence. Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state. This means that all drivers are required to carry minimum personal injury protection to be used to pay the costs of medical care in the event of an accident regardless of who is at fault. The driver at-fault will be responsible for property damages. However, in hit-and-run accidents, finding the driver to recover damages may be impossible. In such circumstances, having uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage in your insurance policy can be used to pay for your property damage.
Contact a personal injury lawyer today
Unfortunately, hit-and-run drivers are not always tracked down by police officers. However, a personal injury lawyer may help you attempt to locate a fleeing driver or try to maximize the value of your claim against your insurance company. The Tampa lawyers at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian are experienced in representing clients in automobile accident cases and will work hard to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We offer a free, no obligation consultation to learn more about your situation and explore your options. Contact us today toll-free at 1-800-227-2275 or via our website to schedule a free consultation to discuss your next steps.