A hit-and-run accident occurs when one or more of the parties involved
flee the scene without stopping to render aid or exchanging the legally
required information. In 2006, there were 1,583 hit-and-run deaths nationwide,
including 197 in Florida, and about one out of every five pedestrians
killed in traffic accidents die in a hit-and-run. Like any car accident,
a hit-and-run can result in serious injuries or wrongful death. Victims
of hit-and-run drivers may be entitled to financial compensation for their
medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and a qualified
Sarasota injury attorneycan help them fight to get it.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Is Illegal
Generally, all parties involved in a traffic accident are required to stop
and render aid if anyone is injured (i.e., get help) and to exchange certain
information with the other parties involved. In Florida, this includes
showing your driver’s license and providing your name, address and
vehicle registration number. Furthermore, if a car crash involves injury,
death or property damage, Florida law requires that the accident be reported
to the local police, the Florida Highway Patrol or the county sheriff’s
office. Additionally, Florida drivers are required to move their vehicles
out of the flow of traffic following an accident or to call for a tow
truck if they cannot move the vehicles.
Steps to Take Following a Hit-and-Run Accident
Car crashes are inherently stressful, but you may find yourself feeling
especially angry or frustrated if the other driver flees the scene —
try to remain calm. Immediately check yourself and all others passengers
for injuries and call for an ambulance if anyone needs medical attention.
Your welfare and that of your passengers is the most important thing.
After you check for injuries, you can take the following steps to manage
- Report the hit-and-run accident to police
- Move your vehicle to a safe place, like the shoulder, if it’s operable
- Turn on your hazard lights or place flares around your vehicle
- Call for a tow truck if one is needed
- Provide police with every detail you can remember about the other car and
driver and write this information down as well
- Write down witness names and contact information
- If you have a camera or camera phone at your disposal, take pictures of
your vehicle and the accident site
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- See a doctor for treatment of minor injuries
You should also consult an experienced Sarasota injury lawyer as soon after
the accident as possible to learn about your legal rights and the process
for pursuing a personal injury claim against the hit-and-run driver.