The last thing you expect is becoming the victim of a hit and run accident. Before you know it, you pull to the side of the road, look up, and the other vehicle has already driven off. In the aftershock of the accident, you didn’t catch the driver’s license plate number and you certainly don’t have their insurance information. What do you do now?
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you may be entitled to compensation under Florida law. Along with help from an experienced personal injury lawyer, there are certain steps you can take to secure the financial compensation you deserve.
Identify The Hit And Run Driver
Any information obtained from the accident can increase your chances of finding the defendant. Recall the vehicle make, model, color, or size and note the direction they were driving. Immediately report the accident to law enforcement and include as much detail as possible in your statement.
Engaging a law firm experienced with hit and run cases is also crucial to receive the best representation in court. Your lawyer will work alongside you and investigators to obtain police reports as well as witness statements from any bystanders or camera footage from local businesses to reveal the defendant’s identity.
Remember any interactions, if any, you had with the defendant before they fled. Were they malicious? Angry? Threatening? If so, you may be entitled to a punitive damage reward.
What is punitive damage?
Cases involving punitive damage have led to multi-million dollar verdicts. That being said, it’s important to note the characteristics of the defendant before they fled the scene. If they acted maliciously with a disregard for others’ safety, you may be entitled to more compensation under Florida law. Evidence is key. Make sure you can prove they acted not out of fear or shock, but with the genuine intention of avoiding any liability they may have presented.
Collect Payment Under Your Own Insurance
Many auto insurance providers will handle a hit and run accident similarly to uninsured motorist claims. Victims may collect compensation through their own insurance companies under their uninsured motorist or personal injury protection coverage. Check your insurance plan to see if it includes these particular policies.
Furthermore, Florida law allows for coverage “stacking.” Meaning, you can combine policy limits for multiple vehicles on one claim to cover your hit and run expenses.
Before you engage your insurance company, make sure to contact a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies may try to deny you the coverage you deserve. Your attorney should review all communication to ensure you receive proper compensation.
File a Third Party Claim
There may be contributors to the accident that are not directly the defendant or plaintiff. Instead, the blame could fall on another driver involved, a vehicle manufacturer responsible for a car malfunction, or a contractor or highway authority responsible for any number of road problems.
Any of these present a great liability and could be at least partially responsible for damage to your health and your vehicle.
For victims of hit and run accidents who may need a Fort Lauderdale accident injury attorney, Ginnis & Krathen, P.A. is available to help. Ginnis & Krathen P.A. offers free case evaluations. Remember, you don’t pay unless we win your case.
*This legislation is current as of November 20, 2020.