Unfortunately, roughly 25% of at-fault motorist in the State of Florida flee the scene. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), one out of every four accidents in Florida is a hit and run.
There are laws in place to hold fleeing drivers accountable. However, even if those drivers are never apprehended, many insurance claim options are available to assist injured people in recovering compensation. If you are injured in a hit and run accident in the Sunshine State, there are certain steps you can take to preserve evidence and secure your right to collect damages from what insurance companies refer to as a “Phantom Vehicle.” This car accident attorney in Brandon, Florida is going to explain more below.
A “hit and run” accident is when a motorist flees the scene of a crash without exchanging personal information with the other driver — such as name, address, license number, car registration, and insurance information — or without rendering help and “reasonable assistance” to anybody who is injured. According to FS § 316.062, reasonable assistance might include contacting the police or driving the injured person to an ER.
While many victims of hit and run accidents are deeply invested in the outcome and accountability of the criminal case, it is crucial not to dismiss your civil rights. While the objective of a criminal case is to punish wrongdoing, the objective of the civil justice system is to “make whole” people who have suffered losses due to someone else’s negligence. In some cases, pursuing civil damages is all that a victim of a hit and run accident has — especially if the at-fault motorist is never identified.
A car accident claim can help those injured in a hit and run accident collect compensation for their present and future medical bills, property damage, present and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. This is by no means a complete list — survivors of hit and run accidents should consult with an experienced car accident attorney in Brandon, Florida to discuss all their legal options.
You do not leave your home expecting to be involved in a car accident, and you certainly do not anticipate having to deal with the at-fault motorist quickly fleeing the scene. However, if you are conscious and able, here are some things you should do following a hit and run accident:
- Move your car to a safe place near the scene of the crash.
- Ensure that your passengers are safe. Check on the drivers and passengers of any other vehicles involved. Even minor injuries should be examined by a doctor.
- Call 911.
- Write down anything you can recall about the other driver, their car, the events that led to the crash, how fast they were driving, and which direction they fled. These are all details that can be useful to your car accident attorney in Brandon, Florida.
- Request the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the accident.
- Capture as much of the crash site as you can, including any injuries you suffered as well as damage to your car and surrounding property.
- Call your insurance provider.
- Contact a reputable car accident attorney in Brandon, Florida. If your injuries are severe, or if someone died in the accident, now is not the time to try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. You may not be able to assess the full extent of your losses. This is where an experienced car accident attorney can help.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a hit and run accident in Brandon? If so, and if you’re looking to partner with the top-rated car accident attorney in Brandon, Florida, look no further than Tonya Stewart Law. Contact us today at (863) 241-5504 to discuss your options.