Being involved in any car accident is stressful and can be traumatizing. However, there is another layer of tension if the other driver involved in the accident decides to speed away without exchanging information. This kind of accident is far more common than you might think. If the at-fault party leaves the scene of the crash without exchanging information with you, it is illegal and has its ramifications.

The medical expenses and property damage incurred in a car crash can leave the victim or victims reeling. This is the type of accident that is referred to as a hit-and-run crash.

If you have been involved in such an accident, the good news is that you do not have to contend with living with the costs associated with the crash. You can potentially be compensated by the at-fault party for the hefty medical expenses, loss of income from missing work due to your injuries, the pain and suffering that you were subjected to because of the incident, and for the property damage, when merited.

Even if you did not obtain the information of the at-fault driver, working with experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers will enable you to seek adequate compensation for the damages you have incurred in the hit-and-run accident. Having an experienced attorney in your corner means that you have the support you need so that your legal rights are protected while you seek complete compensation.

If you are fortunate enough to have not been involved in such an incident, you should count yourself lucky. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) conducted a data analysis of the crashes that take place in Florida each year. According to the FLHSMV, there were 108,155 hit-and-run cases reported in Florida in 2021. This is an alarming figure, and it is statistically possible for anyone on the road to be involved in such an accident.

Understanding what constitutes a hit-and-run case in Florida and the basics of the laws regarding such cases are necessary to ensure that you are well-prepared if it ever happens to you.

The Hit and Run Laws in Florida

Each state has its own regulations that govern how it handles hit-and-run cases. Fortunately for the victims involved in hit-and-run cases, the Sunshine State is particularly harsh on the perpetrators. The state has specific rules regarding hit-and-run cases in Florida that entail harsh penalties for the at-fault driver who illegally leaves the scene of the accident after a crash.

It is important to understand the distinction between a regular accident and a hit-and-run case. In Florida, it is legally allowed for a driver to be involved in a crash and leave the scene, but only if they leave their information and nobody in the crash is injured. All drivers involved in an accident that chooses to leave must leave their name, address, contact information, and the vehicle registration number for the car they were driving.

Suppose that a driver hits or crashes into a car with nobody inside it and the owner is not in the vicinity at the time. The at-fault driver can still legally leave the scene, provided that they leave a note with their information if they cannot wait for the owner to come back. However, the at-fault driver cannot leave the scene if the crash causes any injuries. Even if you are not the one at fault, you may be legally obligated to offer medical assistance to the other driver if they cannot do so.

Illegally leaving the scene of a crash can result in strict penalties. Depending on the severity of the incident, the driver can also face prison time. Even if a driver involved in a hit-and-run case illegally leaves the scene of the incident because they only caused property damage, it still counts as a second-degree misdemeanor.

Suppose that a driver was involved in a crash that resulted in severe injuries to other people and left the scene without exchanging information. The driver that flees can incur up to $10,000 in fines and jail time of up to 15 years. If, in the unfortunate circumstance, the driver causes a fatality and flees the scene, it could result in $10,000 in fines and 35 years of jail time.

Damages That Can Be Claimed in A Hit-and-Run Case in Florida

There are two types of damages that you can claim in a hit-and-run case:

  • Economic damages
  • Non-economic damages

Economic Damages

In the event that the crash resulted in injuries to yourself and damage to your vehicle and other property, you can claim the costs related to dealing with the financial burden of the damage you’ve incurred. Some of the economic damages you can claim in a Florida hit-and-run case include:

    • Medical expenses: Everything from expenses related to an ambulance and emergency care to physical therapy, rehabilitation, follow-up visits, and medical procedures fall within medical expenses that you can claim.
  • Loss of income: If your injuries in a hit-and-run accident were severe and led to you being unable to work in the same capacity as you could before the crash, you can claim loss of income. You may include lost wages and any other benefits that you might have lost because of the injuries.
  • Property damage: If your car or any other significant property was damaged due to the crash, you can potentially hold the at-fault party accountable to cover the expenses.

Non-Economic Damages

Any kind of accident can be a traumatizing experience for everyone involved. It is not uncommon for accident victims to suffer not only physically but also emotionally for long periods in the aftermath of the crash. The mental anguish caused by the incident is also something that you may claim, alongside compensation for physiological damages. Some of the non-economic damages you could claim in your hit-and-run case in Fort Lauderdale include:

  • Disability caused by the accident (temporary or permanent)
  • Deteriorated quality of life
  • Loss of emotional support
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Permanent scarring

In the event that the hit-and-run incident results in the loss of life of a loved one, surviving members of their family may qualify to claim some of the non-economic damages as well as funeral expenses.

It’s Crucial to Work with An Experienced Lawyer

Working with experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers can make a big difference when it comes to seeking a successful outcome for your Florida hit-and-run case.

Consider working with Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers for your Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run case. Frankl Kominsky is a reputable firm with an excellent track record that offers free initial consultations (by appointment only).

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