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Proving and Penalizing Hit & Run Accidents in Florida

Hit and run crashes are disturbingly common—in the U.S., a hit and run occurs roughly every 43 seconds according to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of course, some hit and run accidents are victimless crimes, like a small parking lot scrape during a botched parking job, for instance. Yet, hit and runs can be deadly as well.

Florida hit and runs are especially dangerous and result in many fatalities every year, including claiming the life of an up-and-coming Florida MMA fighter only a few years ago. In 2018, Florida was among the top 3 states with the highest per capita rates of fatal hit and run crashes.

According to state law, the legal consequences for committing a hit and run accident varies depending on whether mere property damage occurred, or someone was injured or killed. Florida auto accident attorney Wes Pittman explains what you need to prove a hit and run accident occurred and how offenders are punished.

Proving Liability in a Hit & Run Accident

Florida hit and run laws were updated in 2014. According to Florida Motor Vehicle Statute 316.061, drivers have a duty to remain at the scene of an accident and do what they can to help. Motorists who don’t follow this rule are subjected to punishments depending on the severity of the damage they caused. 

To prove that someone indeed committed a hit and run accident and should be punished, the following must be proven with evidence:

  • The person who fled the accident scene was the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in property damage or injury to or death of another person or people
  • The driver either knew or should have known they were involved in a car accident
  • The driver knew or should have known that property damage, injury, and/or death of another person or people occurred
  • The driver intentionally failed to stop at the scene of the crash or failed to remain at the scene long enough to provide identification to the other affected parties, or the driver failed to provide “reasonable assistance” to the injured person or people if such treatment appeared to be necessary or was requested

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

There are three types of legal penalties for drivers who cause hit and run accidents in Florida, depending on the amount of damage they caused.

The penalties are as follows:

  • Accidents involving property: This type of hit and run is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
  • Accidents involving injury: This offense is considered a third-degree felony. Penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation and a $5,000 fine may be sentenced to the driver who caused the accident.
  • Accident involving death: This type of offense is classified as a first-degree felony, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

How The Pittman Firm Can Help

In addition to the hit and run driver being sentenced to pay a fine and/or jail time for their crime, they may also be held liable for the injured parties’ medical and repair bills. In order to receive compensatory damages, however, you will have to file a personal injury claim. Occasionally, punitive damages are available as well.

With the help of a lawyer, you can ensure that you will receive the maximum compensation available. If you would like to file a personal injury claim against a hit and run driver, or you have questions about what to do following a hit and run, contact a personal injury lawyer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run or other auto accident, reach out to our dedicated Florida car accident lawyers today. You can call us at (850) 764-0383 or write to us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.  

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Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A. Today!

Hiring of a Florida injury lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. The firm will be happy to provide you with more information regarding Attorney Pittman’s qualifications and answer any questions you may have regarding your legal options.

Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A. now for the high-quality legal representation you need for your personal injury case.
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