Early on the morning of February 16, 2014, a pick-up truck collided with another pick-up and the driver of one of the vehicles fled the scene. When the driver of the second pick-up exited the vehicle to look at the damage to the truck, a third vehicle struck and killed him. He had his wife and 18-year-old son in the pick-up when he was killed. The accident occurred in Tamarac, Florida, at the Commercial Boulevard entrance onto the Florida Turnpike, according to an article in the Sun Sentinel.
Victims of hit and run accidents often believe that there is nothing that can be done to identify the responsible party and hold him accountable, but this is not true. The experienced Miami auto accident lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have the skills and network of professional investigators to help those injured in many types of hit and run accidents.
In the case of the Tamarac accident, deputies are examining video surveillance to identify the individual involved in the original collision. Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal under Florida law. The reason many people flee is because getting convicted of a DUI carries more serious penalties, including longer prison times and higher fines than a collision.. Therefore, someone who has been drinking may want to leave the scene even if he/she intends to turn themselves in to the police for the accident at some point. By then, it is almost impossible to prove that they were under the influence at the time of the crash.
In Florida it is a crime ,to leave the scene of an accident and is compounded when one leaves the scene of a crash with injuries to another. When a person is involved in a crash with another vehicle, building, or structure and leaves the scene without notifying anybody about the driver’s contact information, including name and address, vehicle registration, and driver’s license details, pursuant to Florida Statute 316.061. a criminal charge may result.
If the accident involved injury or a fatality, Florida Statute 316.027 requires additional obligations including mandating that the driver:
• Stops at the time of the accident;
• Provides the contact information discussed above; and • Provides reasonable assistance to the injured person or contacts the necessary emergency personnel, who will render the needed medical care.
When the accident has left the other person involved in the collision incapable of receiving the required information, the driver must provide the necessary details to a law enforcement officer.
When the accident involves injury, the person leaving the scene of the accident can be charged with a Third Degree Felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If the accident results in a fatality, the hit and run driver may be charged with a First Degree Felony, punishable by a minimum 21-month sentence and a maximum 15-year prison term, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, South Florida experiences the highest rate of hit and run accidents. The Florida Legislature is considering a new bill, known as the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, which would make the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident as severe as a DUI conviction, thereby removing some of the motivation for drivers who currently flee after an accident. According to an article in the Sun Sentinel, the state sheriffs and police chiefs associations endorse this new legislation, although it is early in the legislative process.
Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Fight for Our Clients
An accident is always traumatic for everyone involved, but when a driver flees the scene, it may be difficult to know where to turn for answers. The compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will work with you to develop a plan to get you the help that you need. Our dedicated attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience getting justice for accident victims. Our commitment has earned us an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell and an invitation to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. In addition, the Miami Herald has voted us a top-rate South Florida law firm. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website.