Our Lawyers Assist Persons Injured by Unknown Persons
Florida Statutes §316.027 requires the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash to immediately stop the vehicle and remain at the scene. Drivers should not leave the scene until they have given their names, addresses and registration numbers for the vehicles. Drivers must also provide their driver’s licenses to any injured person or other drivers or occupants.
In addition, drivers must render reasonable assistance to any injured person, including arranging for the person to get medical attention. If a person willfully violates this law in Florida, they are subject to prosecution for a felony of the third degree.
Victims involved in hit and run car accidents may have the legal right to seek compensation for all damages, including lost wages, medical expenses and future expenses. At Massey & Duffy, PLLC, we are equipped with attorneys with years of car accident and personal injury claim experience. If you feel that you may be entitled to compensation please contact our office.
Definition of a Hit and Run Accident
The law requires that any person involved in an accident must stop in a safe place and provide information or render aid where necessary. If someone leaves the scene of an accident, this is what is termed a “hit and run” accident. Hit and run is a serious crime in most states.
Who Can Be Charged with Hit and Run
A person may be accused of hit and run even if not at fault for the accident. Drivers who cause property damage are required to leave a note with their name and address. They must also immediately contact the police department in order to avoid a hit and run charge.
Is Hit and Run a Felony or Misdemeanor
Hit and run can be either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the accident. If a person is injured or killed during an accident, then hit and run is a felony. If the accident only results in property damage, then hit and run is a misdemeanor.
If You’ve Been Charged with a Hit and Run
Police may investigate and contact the suspected hit and run driver. The police may also ask the driver to bring his vehicle to the police department and provide a statement. If this has happened to you, you should consult a lawyer before answering questions or contacting the police.
Factors Determining Sentencing of a Hit and Run
- Nature of the accident
- Extent of the damage done during hit and run
- Cooperation with law enforcement officials during investigation
- Prior convictions of the accused
Potential Consequences for a Hit and Run
- Probation or parole
- Loss of driving privileges
- Significant fines
Compensation as a Victim of Hit and Run
Yes. This is where the difference between criminal and civil law will become most obvious. Although the police and district attorney’s office will make every reasonable effort to find and punish the defendant, criminal law is a matter of the state whereby the defendant will face fines which goes to state coffers. If the victim wants compensation, the victim must go to civil court to sue the defendant for negligence. Since the defendant has already broken a law, proving negligence should be easier than usual, so compensation for victim’s injuries should not be too difficult to acquire.
Defenses To Hit and Run
Yes, although the use of each defense will depend upon the specific case.
- You were not the driver: The term “Hit and Run” only applies to drivers. Passengers cannot be charged and owners cannot be liable if they were the one behind the wheel. This defense includes cars that were stolen.
- No Injury: Every driver has a duty to assist injured persons or exchange information in case of property damage liability later. If, however, there was no injury or property damage, then can be no hit and run.
- Mistaken Belief: If you honestly believed that no one was injured or that no property was damaged, then the charge(s) may be reduced if not outright cleared.
- Certain Exceptions: A court may find certain exceptions for specific situations. For example, if the persons in the other vehicle(s) are threatening your life, it may be permissible to remain at a safe distance.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run, contact Massey & Duffy, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.