The warm and sunny streets of Florida make it a popular destination for residents and tourists alike. Unfortunately, the state’s beautiful weather and bustling cities also come with a less pleasant aspect – a relatively high number of hit-and-run accidents.
Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable in these incidents, facing serious risks when struck by a vehicle. In this blog post, we will explore hit-and-run incidents in Florida, the legal options available to pedestrians who have been victims of such accidents, and the pursuit of justice and compensation through various means.
Understanding Hit-and-Run Incidents in Florida
A hit-and-run incident occurs when a driver involved in an accident flees the scene without stopping to exchange information or render aid to the injured party. These accidents can leave pedestrians in a state of shock and vulnerability, unsure of what to do next. It is crucial for pedestrians to be aware of their rights and the legal avenues available to them in the event of a hit-and-run incident.
Reporting the Incident
The first step after being involved in a hit-and-run incident is to report it to the authorities. Call 911 immediately to seek medical assistance if necessary and to report the accident to the police. Providing as much information as possible about the vehicle and its driver, such as the license plate number, make and model of the car, and any other identifying details, can help law enforcement in their investigation.
Seeking Medical Attention
Pedestrian accidents often result in injuries, some of which may not be immediately apparent. Even if you feel fine at the time of the incident, it is essential to seek medical attention. Injuries may become apparent days or even weeks later. By seeking prompt medical attention, you not only ensure your health but also create a crucial record of your injuries, which can be vital when pursuing legal action.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Florida law requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, but it does not mandate bodily injury liability coverage. Pedestrians who are victims of hit-and-run incidents may face difficulties in identifying the driver and their insurance coverage. In such cases, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage becomes an essential aspect of seeking compensation.
UM/UIM coverage can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages when the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. Pedestrians may access their own UM/UIM coverage to compensate for their injuries and losses.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the hit-and-run driver is identified, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. However, identifying the driver and proving their liability can be challenging. In many hit-and-run cases, the driver is never located or apprehended. To pursue legal action, it is essential to consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling hit-and-run cases.
A knowledgeable attorney can help gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with law enforcement to locate the driver. If the driver is identified and apprehended, they can be held accountable for their actions through a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Known Defendant
In some cases, the hit-and-run driver may be identified but remains uncooperative or unresponsive to legal actions. In such instances, it may still be possible to file a lawsuit against the known defendant. A personal injury attorney can assist in taking legal action to seek compensation for the injuries and losses sustained in the hit-and-run incident.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver
Even if the driver is located but lacks insurance coverage, pedestrians can still pursue compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. While it may be challenging to recover damages directly from the driver, seeking compensation through their personal assets or other means is possible with legal assistance.
Pursuing Compensation through Crime Victims’ Compensation
In some cases, hit-and-run incidents may be classified as criminal acts. Pedestrians who are victims of such crimes can seek compensation through the Florida Crime Victims’ Compensation program. This program is designed to assist victims of violent crimes, including hit-and-run accidents, with medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney
Navigating the legal complexities of hit-and-run incidents can be overwhelming, especially for pedestrians who have suffered injuries and emotional distress. It is highly advisable to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who specializes in hit-and-run cases.
An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you have the best chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Hit-And-Run Incidents In Florida
Pursuing justice and compensation in the aftermath of hit-and-run accidents is a challenging process, but it is not impossible.
By reporting the incident promptly, seeking medical attention, and exploring legal options such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, personal injury lawsuits, and victims’ compensation programs, pedestrians can take steps towards holding the responsible parties accountable and securing the compensation they deserve.
Remember that consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is essential for a successful legal outcome. With their expertise and support, you can navigate the complexities of the legal system and work toward obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve as a victim of a hit-and-run incident in Florida.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is the founding partner at the personal injury Law firm, The Winston Law Firm. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all personal injury cases, focusing on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in representing injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent, Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell for the highest level of professional ethics, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, and has been selected as a Florida Top 100 “Super Lawyer” and Miami Top 100 “Super Lawyer” – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale and 20 Best Car Accident Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale.