What To Do After A Hit-And-Run Accident
Thursday, July 7, 2022 12:00 AM
Car accidents are stressful, regardless of the circumstances. However, it can add tension if another person speeds away before exchanging information, commonly known as a “hit-and-run” accident.
What is a hit-and-run accident?
In Florida, a hit-and-run accident occurs when one driver leaves the accident scene without doing two things. First, Florida’s state law requires all involved drivers to remain at the accident site long enough to exchange personal information, such as their name, address, vehicle registration numbers, and license numbers. State law also requires drivers to stay on the accident scene for at least two hours to “render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance,” including transporting them to a doctor.
Hit-and-run accidents are distressing but not uncommon in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) data shows that nearly 25% of Florida accidents are hit-and-run. Most hit-and-run deaths occur between 6 pm – 5 am, so it’s important to be extra cautious when driving between dusk and dawn.
Florida hit-and-run laws
The hit-and-run Florida statute was amended by the passage of the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (Section 316.027, Florida Statutes), resulting in stricter Florida hit-and-run laws after a father of two, a cyclist, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. As a result, the penalties for hit-and-run in Florida now include:
- Second-degree misdemeanor: $500 Fine and up to 60 days in prison for property damage.
- Second- or third-degree felonies: $5,000 fine, up to five years imprisonment, and a minimum of three years license revocation.
- First-degree felony: $10,000, up to 30 years imprisonment, and a minimum of three years license revocation in the case of fatalities.
Steps to take after a hit-and-run accident
Knowing how to deal with a Florida hit-and-run can reduce stress. Drivers involved in a hit-and-run should take the following steps:
- Move your car to a safe spot at the accident site. Stay as close to the accident scene as possible without disrupting traffic flow.
- Check for injuries. Make sure everyone is okay. If medical attention is needed, call 911 immediately.
- Call the Police. A police report is used to determine who is at fault or support any insurance claims. Wait on the scene until law enforcement arrives. Try not to alter the accident scene and be prepared to give a statement to the police about the accident.
- Take down all details that you can remember. Make notes about any other driver or vehicle you see, including the make and model of the vehicle or the direction they took when they left the scene.
- Review the scene. Look for pieces of debris on the ground that might help police identify the hit-and-run driver, such as a bumper or license plate. Do not touch or move any objects; instead, direct the police to the debris.
- Talk with eyewitnesses. Ask them to remain on the scene and give details to the police. If they refuse to stay, politely ask for their contact information. This will allow law enforcement to reach them if necessary.
- Photograph the scene. Take photos of any damage to your vehicle, property, and accident scene. These pictures can be used as evidence during an investigation into the accident. Therefore, capturing as much information as possible on the accident scene is essential to make it easier for the police and your insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company. Talk to your agent. Ask your agent what information is needed to file your claim.
Attorneys You Can Talk To!
Accidents happen, and when they do, you and your family will have questions about your rights and their impact on your life. The attorneys at Doran, Beam & Farrell, PA, understand your concerns and are ready to answer any questions or address concerns that you may have about your claim. To schedule a FREE consultation, call us at (727) 846-1000 or complete our online contact form.