A hit-and-run accident can have devastating consequences not only to the victim, but to the members of the victim’s family. Recently, an English professor and past-teacher at Storm Grove Middle School in Indian River County and Southern Oaks Middle School in Port St. Lucie was killed by a hit-and-run driver while she was out training for a marathon around 4 AM on September 1st on 12 Street in Vero Beach.
An accident can go from terrible to tragic in seconds if you are hit and then the vehicle at fault flees the scene. It is Florida state law that anyone involved in an accident stop their vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Pulling over into a safe space is not considered running. A hit and run is legally defined as fleeing an accident that results in:
• Death of another driver, passenger or pedestrian
• Injury to another driver, passenger or pedestrian
• Damage to property only (this would include hitting a parked car).
Any driver that is found to have ignored his or her required duties as a party in an accident is subject to penalty by law. The minimum punishment would be a traffic ticket. However, penalty can result in a “felony hit-and-run” charge in cases where the accident results in injury or death. Specifically, in Florida, a hit-and-run with only damage can result in a misdemeanor, but when there is some kind of injury or death that often results in a felony.
Tragic events such as these are never expected, but one way to protect yourself and your family, in case you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, is to have a substantial amount of uninsured motorist coverage in your automobile insurance policy. The uninsured motorist provision will help to pay medical bills, pay you for your loss of earnings, and compensate you for pain, suffering and emotional distress if you are involved in a hit and run accident.
If you are involved in a hit and run accident here are a few things you should do:
• Attempt to get the license plate number, including the make and color of the vehicle.
• Notify the police as soon as possible. Many insurance policies require that the police be notified within 24 hours.
• Contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible to make a claim. Many insurance policies require that you make a claim within 30 days.
• Do not attempt to make any repairs whatsoever to the damage of your vehicle prior to allowing your insurance company to inspect the vehicle.
• Obtain the names and addresses of anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
• The most important thing is to make sure that you have substantial uninsured motorist limits so that you and your family are adequately protected. If you need assistance or have any questions please contact one of our auto accident attorneys by filling out our contact form, or call toll free 1-866-460-1990.
Personal Injury Attorney Steve Hoskins has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, a distinction earned by only 1 percent of attorneys in the State of Florida. Highly skilled, tough and strategic, Mr. Hoskins has over 37 years of experience and has obtained over $500 million in verdicts and settlements for injured victims and their families along the Treasure Coast. His experienced team of auto accident and personal injury lawyers, investigators, specialists and paralegals are ready to defend your rights and obtain the care and financial security you deserve. There are no fees or costs unless we win a settlement for you.
For a complimentary consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys in Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, or Okeechobee, call toll-free 866-460-1990.