Hit And Run Accidents In Florida
Immediately after a traffic collision, the interaction between the drivers involved can be quite unpleasant. Yelling, name-calling, accusations, and threats of litigation are the norm. As bad as it can be when you are trying to collect your thoughts after a car accident and the other driver comes to your window and starts shouting at you, it is even worse when the driver leaves the scene without even talking to you. A car accident that results in injuries is always stressful and disruptive, no matter how cooperative the other driver is at the scene of the accident and in subsequent interactions. If you suffered injuries in a car accident where the at-fault driver quickly left the scene, contact a Jacksonville car accident lawyer.
Scary Truths About Hit and Run Collisions in Florida
Leaving the scene of an accident, also known as hit and run, is a crime according to Florida law. The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act of 2014 imposed tougher penalties for hit and run. The law is named after a Florida man who died after a car struck his bicycle and did not stop. The current penalty for hit and run involving accidents resulting in property damage only is a maximum of 60 days in jail. If the accident resulted in injuries, then the driver who left the scene can receive a sentence of up to five years in prison. A driver who leaves the scene of a fatal collision can face a 30-year prison sentence.
Hit and run accidents are not equally distributed across space and time. For example, most hit and run accidents happen at night, and Florida has the third highest rate of hit and run collisions in the country, after New Mexico and Louisiana. When you consider all collisions, about 25 percent involve hit and run, but in about 80 percent of accidents involving fatalities, the driver leaves the scene without waiting for police to arrive. In some cases, the motive for hit and run is fear of criminal prosecution for causing a serious accident. In other cases, the hit and run driver has reason to fear criminal prosecution for something else, such as driving without a license, DUI, or drug possession.
You do not always have to wait until police identify the hit and run driver before you seek compensation for your medical bills and other financial losses you incur as a result of a hit and run accident. You should contact a personal injury lawyer promptly. Your lawyer can help you recover compensation through insurance claims and other methods. Once the police identify the driver, it may or may not be a good idea to seek damages from the at-fault driver in a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact Douglas & Douglas About Car Accident Cases
A North Florida personal injury lawyer can help you if you suffered serious injuries in a hit and run collision, whether or not the at fault driver gets criminal charges. Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.