Over the past 25 years Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky has helped hundreds of seriously injured Some of the most senseless actions involving Florida car accidents actually happen after a driver hits another vehicle or a pedestrian. The senseless conduct is when the person who causes a crash, fails to stop and leaves the scene, thereby turning a routine accident, into a crime – a hit and run crash. Florida Statutes, sections 316, seq., generally define a hit and run crash is defined as one in which a driver fails to remain at the site of a vehicle crash which involves damage to another person’s property, including a vehicle, building or structure.
Not surprisingly, the high number of hit and run crashes throughout Florida remains steady at over 90,000 annually. While most hit and run accidents, nearly 80%, only result in vehicle damage, sadly nearly 200 people lost their lives in so-called hit and run collisions last year alone. Those who cause crashes, either by carelessness, by speeding or driving distracted, or by recklessness, in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, compound their conduct by turning what would considered a bad situation to something much worse, when they panic and flee the crash scene. While common sense would tell motorists that they should stop if they cause or are involved in a crash, Florida Law does require any driver who is involved in a crash to stop, regardless of whether the accident happens on a public or private road/property.
In fact, when a driver leaves the scene of an accident, they face criminal penalties, including a felony, which may result in the loss of their driver’s license, and depending upon if someone was injured, up to four years in jail. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, more than seventy percent of drivers who flee are men between the ages of 18 and 27. Often times, those relatively inexperienced motorists claim panic is the reason why they flee; however, those who are caught generally are found to be driving with an expired or suspended license, or are also violating Florida’s mandatory insurance requirements.
Because the high number of injured victims of hit and run car accidents need medical care and a source of compensation for their injuries and lost wages, we strongly recommend everyone who owns a vehicle in Florida, make sure they have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their car insurance. That way, if the police cannot locate the hit and run driver, the injured victim is able to have their insurance company essentially pretend that they actually insure that unknown driver. Often times, having uninsured motorist coverage is the only precaution which saves an injured accident victim from mounting medical bills. Sadly, too many insurance agents try to convince their clients that if they have medical insurance and some type of disability insurance, that they do not need uninsured motorist coverage. This advice is wrong, and will only cause injured accident victims more difficulties.
Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Joseph Lipsky urges all motorists, particularly those with less experience behind the wheel to follow the advice from The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, to “keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on driving.” And if you happen to be involved in a car accident, don’t compound the situation by running; stay and allow the legal process to work. Often times, even those initially cited as causing an accident are able to avoid criminal liability with the assistance of a ticket defense attorney.