Causing a hit-and-run accident in Florida may give rise to serious criminal charges if certain statutory criteria are met. In other words, when someone is involved in a car accident in Florida, it is everyone’s responsibility to stop at a reasonable distance from the crash site, exchange important contact information, and provide assistance to injured victims, if applicable.
If a driver in Florida fails to follow these crucial steps, they will likely be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, which depending upon the circumstances, can have devastating and potentially life-long legal consequences for the offender. For example, if someone is at fault for a car accident not involving death or injury, then they could risk losing their license for several years and face prison time. However, if death or injury resulted from a hit and run accident, then the wrongdoer could face serious felony charges, such as a long-term imprisonment sentence, a permanent criminal record and harsh monetary fines. If you are the victim of a hit and run accident in Florida, our car accident lawyers in Miami suggest you take the following steps to hold the offender accountable for your accident:
• Obtain information on the vehicle and driver that struck you. Be sure to write down the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle that hit you. If you were able to see the driver who hit you, be sure to write down their description, such as size, gender, possible weight and hair color.
• Contact the police immediately and fill out a report.
• Obtain witness accounts. If there were people that witnessed your accident, obtain their names, contact information, and a summary of what each of them saw. This information is crucial for your insurance company to determine causation and liability. If your car was hit while it was parked, ask around to see whether anyone was present at the scene and may have witnessed the incident.
• Contact your insurance company before having your vehicle repaired. In other words, allow your insurance company to make an assessment of extent of your property damage before you risk repairing them on your own and destroying important pieces of evidence. Take photos of the damage. If possible, take photos of the vehicle at the scene and the surrounding area.
• Determine whether your accident was picked up on a surveillance camera. If your car was struck while parked in a public place, there is a high likelihood that it was caught on camera, especially in a well-lit and secured parking lot of a busy shopping center. Check and see whether any security cameras are located within the vicinity of your accident. If possible, speak with store personnel about viewing their security footage should you feel that their camera may have caught the perpetrator.
• Do not wait until it is too late and key evidence is lost. The longer you wait to collect witness statements and other key data, the higher the chance of information being lost or unable to be recalled. Be sure to write everything down immediately as well as to have your witnesses speak with you as soon as you can. Don’t let time prevent you from maximizing your chances of holding the hit and run driver responsible for your accident.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, contact our Miami Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation. We will take the time necessary to review the facts of your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Call us at either (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400, or feel free to contact us online to find out how our client-oriented and individualized approach can work for you. Let the seasoned Miami Car Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano fight for your rights and the money you deserve for your injuries.