Posted On: September 12, 2018

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Being the victim of an auto accident is difficult enough. But when the negligent driver flees the scene, it can become even more difficult to deal with, especially if you’ve been injured as a result. Here’s what you need to know about hit-and-run accidents and how you can deal with the aftermath if it happens to you.

 

What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?

First, it’s important to know what a “hit-and-run” actually is. A “hit-and-run” accident is when a driver fails to remain at the scene of an auto accident that they’ve personally been involved in, when it involves property damage, bodily injury or death.

 

Driver Requirements After a Hit-and-Run

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Under Florida law, there are several responsibilities drivers must adhere to, depending on the type of accident.

 

Driver Responsibilities for Accidents with Property Damage Only

If the accident only results in property damage to another vehicle or object, the driver’s duties are as follows:

- Driver must immediately stop his/her vehicle at (or as safely close to) the scene of the accident as possible.

- Driver must provide name, address, registration, license and any other information related to the accident to the other driver or police officer if requested.

- If the property damaged in the accident is unattended, the driver responsible for the damages must either locate the property owner (and provide them with the information above) or securely attach a written notice on the vehicle or other property that properly notifies them of the driver’s name, address and registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving. The driver is also responsible for notifying the police of the incident.

 

Driver Responsibilities for Accidents with Bodily Injury or Death

- Driver must immediately stop his/her vehicle at (or as safely close to) the scene of the accident as possible.

- Driver must provide name, address, registration, license and any other information related to the accident to the other driver or police officer if requested.

- If medical treatment is required at the scene of the accident, the driver (if able) must provide “reasonable assistance,” which includes moving or making arrangements to have the injured person(s) moved to a hospital, a physician’s office, or a surgical center to receive immediate treatment.

- If the other driver is injured or otherwise unable to receive the above information, the driver who is not injured is required to report the accident to authorities as quickly as possible.

 

See 2018 Florida Statutes for more information.

 

Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident

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In Florida, if you’re involved in an auto accident and choose to flee the scene before completing the responsibilities above, the offenses are harsh. Here’s what you need to know:

Penalties for Accidents Involving Property Damages Only

This offense is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor, which can result in a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

 

Penalties for Accidents Involving Bodily Injury

This offense is classified as a third-degree felony, which can result in a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of being on probation.

 

Penalties for Accidents Involving Death

This offense is classified as a first-degree felony, which can result in a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison. If the driver is found to have been driving under the influence and has also fled the scene where a death or injury has occurred, that person may be subject to mandatory license revocation and a mandatory prison term starting at a minimum of two years.

 

How to Prove a Hit-and-Run Accident

In order to confirm that a driver has officially fled an accident scene, there are a few things that the state of Florida must be able to prove. This includes:

- 100% confirmation that the driver was in fact the driver who fled the accident, which resulted in injury, death or property damage to another person(s)

- Proof that the driver who fled the accident knew or should have known that they were involved in an accident

- Proof that the driver who fled the accident knew or should have known that the accident caused property damage, injury or death to another person(s)

- Proof that the driver willingly chose to leave the scene of the accident, failing to provide identification, registration/license information and any other necessary information relating to the accident

 

Who to Call After a Hit-and-Run Accident

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If you’ve become a victim of a hit-and-run accident in Florida, The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen is here to help. Our team of experienced auto accident attorneys can help determine your next steps to help get you the recoveries you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

 



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