Even when the at-fault driver leaves the scene, hit-and-run victims can still file a compensation claim
Auto accidents are always frustrating experiences. But being involved in a hit-and-run accident presents problems that other crashes do not.
Not only can the collision render seriously injured victims, but there is often no one in the vicinity to report the accident to the emergency responders. This isn’t always the case, but it can (and does) certainly happen. Even when there is someone who is able to contact the police, getting a photograph of the fleeing driver’s vehicle and license plate number is not always possible.
Thinking quickly is important when a hit-and-run occurs, and accidents commonly lead to confusion and disarray immediately after the fact. Hit-and-run accidents also happen more often than most motorists realize, as they comprise approximately 25 percent of all Florida highway accidents.
Pursuing damages for hit-and-run collisions can clearly be problematic when the injured victims need whole compensation, and having the right lawyer for the task is vital.
No fault injury claims
All is not lost for injured drivers in a hit-and-run accident in Florida because of the state’s no-fault insurance law.
All vehicle owners who are registered within the state are required to maintain personal injury protection, or PIP coverage, on their individual auto insurance policy. However, visitors from outside of the state could have trouble receiving financial compensation when they do not carry personal injury protection themselves in states that don’t require the coverage.
PIP is designed to provide limited benefits for medical bills and lost wages, but the state minimum is an easily exhaustible $10,000. The court must also typically rule regarding the possibility of pursuing the fleeing driver for extended damages, so PIP benefits could be the only option.
Uninsured and underinsured protection
Personal injury protection is primarily designed to insure that an injured driver is not left without financial damage recourse when in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who fled the scene.
Florida drivers are also given the option to add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage when they purchase their policy, and it can be very important coverage in some accident cases. Those who do not have the additional policy are left with relying on their meager PIP coverage (unless they have personal health insurance that can be used when necessary).
This protection must also qualify within the scope of the law and be approved by the court. This could easily put an injured victim in an adversarial situation with their own insurance company, which never bodes well for the claimant. Even your own insurance company can defend against the implementation of the rider.
Lawsuits against the other motorists
Many accidents involve multiple vehicles even when a driver leaves the scene. These motorists could all be liable for damages to a certain extent, as each driver is assessed a comparative negligence percentage when an accident is adjudicated.
Of course, this can be a complicated issue when one of the drivers is not found and identified. Hit-and-run drivers are typically charged for leaving the scene, and their resources can be limited if the state is imposing penalties first.
Even if a fleeing driver is identified and located, they may not have insurance coverage or can claim that a damage verdict creates a financial hardship and bargain for a reduced restitution payment order.
Outcome possibilities can be limited, and having an experienced hit-and-run attorney can be an advantage because they can conduct an independent investigation when police are limited in manpower.
Contact a Florida hit-and-run accident attorney
The potential for a hit-and-run accident is always present in Florida because many drivers operate vehicles without insurance, and it is definitely a high traffic area for transient people.
Being protected with extensive insurance should be a priority because an accident can happen at any time. Regardless of the accident scenario, it is always important to retain solid legal counsel with a good track record of results.
At Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, we understand how to navigate the complicated Florida legal system following a hit-and-run collision. Contact our office for a free consultation on your hit-and-run accident today.