- Introduction: A Guide to Florida’s Hit-and-Run Laws
- Understanding Florida's Hit-and-Run Laws
- Immediate Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
- Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
- The Bengal Law Difference
- What to Expect When Working with Bengal Law
- Reach out to Bengal Law for a personalized approach to your hit-and-run case.
Introduction: A Guide to Florida’s Hit-and-Run Laws
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience, especially if the other driver flees the scene without stopping to exchange information or render aid. This is known as a hit-and-run, and it is a serious crime in Florida that can have severe consequences for both the perpetrator and the victim. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 108,155 hit-and-run crashes in Florida in 2021, resulting in 1,176 serious bodily injuries and 304 fatalities. These numbers represent an alarming increase from the previous year, when there were 92,263 hit-and-run crashes, 983 serious bodily injuries, and 257 fatalities.
If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be wondering what you should do to protect your rights and seek compensation for your damages. You may also be feeling frustrated, angry, and helpless, as you may not know who caused the accident or how to find them. Fortunately, you are not alone. At Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, we are committed to helping victims of hit-and-run accidents recover from their injuries and losses. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to handle all aspects of your case, from investigating the accident to negotiating with the insurance companies to taking your case to trial if necessary. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case.
In this blog post, we will explain the basics of Florida’s hit-and-run laws, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, and the steps you should take if you are a victim of a hit-and-run. We will also discuss some possible sources of compensation and how we can help you obtain the maximum recovery for your damages. Our goal is to provide you with useful information and guidance on this important topic that affects not only you, but also your family and community.
Understanding Florida’s Hit-and-Run Laws
Definition of a hit-and-run in Florida.
In Florida, a hit-and-run, often referred to as “leaving the scene of an accident,” occurs when a driver involved in a vehicular accident (whether with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property) intentionally leaves the scene without providing their information or rendering aid if necessary. Florida law mandates that all drivers involved in an accident must stop and remain at the scene until they’ve fulfilled their statutory duties.
Legal consequences for the perpetrator.
Florida takes hit-and-run offenses seriously, and the legal consequences vary based on the severity of the accident:
Property Damage: If the accident only resulted in property damage, leaving the scene is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. This can result in up to 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine.
Injury: If the accident caused injury to another person, the offense is elevated to a second or third-degree felony, depending on the severity of the injury. Penalties can range from up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Fatalities: If the accident resulted in the death of another person, the offense becomes a first-degree felony. This can lead to a maximum of 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Additionally, perpetrators of hit-and-run offenses face a mandatory revocation of their driver’s license.
Rights of the victim.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents in Florida have several rights to ensure their protection and compensation:
Right to Compensation: Victims have the right to seek compensation for damages, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This can be pursued either from their own insurance company or from the perpetrator once identified.
Right to Legal Representation: Victims have the right to hire an attorney to represent their interests, whether in negotiations with insurance companies or in a court of law.
Right to Report: Victims should always report the incident to the police. This not only helps in the investigation but also is crucial for insurance claims.
Right to Medical Care: Regardless of the circumstances, victims have the right to seek medical attention for their injuries. This is essential not only for health reasons but also to document injuries for legal and insurance purposes.
Immediate Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Ensure safety: Move to a safe location if possible.
Your safety and the safety of any passengers should be your top priority after a hit-and-run accident. If your vehicle is causing a hazard or is in a dangerous position, such as in the middle of the road, try to move it to a safer location, like a parking lot or the side of the road. If the vehicle is not drivable, exit the vehicle and move to a safe spot away from traffic. Always be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially when on busy roads.
Call the police: Importance of filing a police report.
It’s crucial to report the hit-and-run to the police immediately. A police report serves as an official record of the incident, which can be invaluable when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing legal action. Provide the police with as much detail as possible about the accident and the vehicle that fled the scene. This might include the make, model, color, license plate number, or any distinguishing features of the vehicle. Remember, even if you think you have little information about the perpetrator, the police might be able to piece together clues from other sources.
Gather evidence: Photos, witness statements, and any other relevant information.
Evidence is key to building a strong case, whether for insurance claims or potential legal action:
Photos: Take clear photos of the damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, skid marks, road conditions, and any injuries you sustained. These can provide a visual record of the incident and its aftermath.
Witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the accident, approach them and ask for their contact information and a brief statement of what they saw. Witnesses can provide an independent account of the incident, which can be crucial in verifying your version of events.
Notes: Write down your own account of what happened as soon as possible. Over time, memories can fade or become distorted, so having a fresh account can be invaluable.
Seek medical attention: Even if injuries seem minor.
Always prioritize your health after an accident. Even if you feel fine or believe your injuries are minor, it’s essential to see a medical professional. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, may not show immediate symptoms but can be life-threatening if left untreated. Additionally, having a medical record of your injuries can be crucial evidence when seeking compensation. It validates the physical impact of the accident and can be used to quantify damages.
In the aftermath of a hit-and-run, emotions can run high, and the situation can feel overwhelming. However, by following these steps and seeking the guidance of experienced professionals like those at Bengal Law, you can navigate the process with confidence and ensure your rights and well-being are protected.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
Navigating the complexities of Florida’s hit-and-run laws.
Florida’s hit-and-run laws, like many legal statutes, are intricate and can be challenging to understand for those unfamiliar with the legal system. A personal injury attorney with expertise in Florida’s traffic laws can guide victims through the complexities of these regulations. They can help determine the best course of action, whether it’s pursuing a claim against an identified perpetrator, seeking compensation from one’s own insurance, or exploring other avenues for redress. Without a knowledgeable attorney, victims might miss out on potential compensation or make missteps that could jeopardize their case.
The advantage of having former insurance adjusters and defense attorneys on your side.
Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts. They have teams of adjusters and attorneys working to protect their interests. Having a personal injury attorney with a background as a former insurance adjuster or defense attorney, like those at Bengal Law, offers a unique advantage. They understand the tactics and strategies insurance companies employ and can anticipate and counteract them effectively. This insider knowledge can be invaluable in negotiations, ensuring that victims receive the compensation they rightfully deserve.
The importance of individualized attention in personal injury cases.
Every hit-and-run case is unique, with its own set of circumstances, injuries, and impacts on the victim’s life. Large firms that handle a high volume of cases might adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, often seeking quick settlements without fully exploring the case’s nuances. At Bengal Law, we believe that personal injury is, indeed, personal. By providing individualized attention, we ensure that every aspect of the case is explored, every piece of evidence is considered, and every avenue for compensation is pursued. This tailored approach not only increases the chances of a favorable outcome but also ensures that the victim’s story is heard and their needs are addressed.
In the aftermath of a hit-and-run, victims need more than just legal representation; they need advocates who will stand by them, understand their story, and fight for their rights. With the complexities of Florida’s laws and the challenges posed by insurance companies, having a dedicated personal injury attorney is not just beneficial—it’s essential.
The Bengal Law Difference
Our unique approach: Low volume, high value.
While many law firms might prioritize quantity over quality, at Bengal Law, we take a different route. We intentionally handle a lower volume of cases, allowing us to dive deep into each one and ensure that every client receives the attention and dedication their case deserves. This approach ensures that we can maximize the value of each case, seeking the best possible outcome for our clients rather than rushing towards quick, less favorable settlements.
Decades of experience: Settling millions for our clients.
Experience is invaluable in the realm of personal injury law. At Bengal Law, our team boasts decades of experience in the field, having settled cases worth millions of dollars for our clients. This extensive track record not only speaks to our expertise but also to our unwavering commitment to securing justice and compensation for those we represent.
Prompt & attentive communication: Our clients are like family.
We believe that effective communication is the cornerstone of a successful attorney-client relationship. At Bengal Law, we pride ourselves on being readily available to our clients, addressing their concerns, answering their questions, and keeping them informed every step of the way. To us, our clients are not just case numbers; they’re like family. And like family, we’re here for them, ensuring they feel supported and understood throughout the legal process.
Former Insurance Adjuster & Insurance Defense Attorney: A unique advantage.
Our team’s background sets us apart. With experience as former insurance adjusters and insurance defense attorneys, we possess a unique insight into the inner workings of insurance companies. This knowledge equips us with the strategies to counteract the tactics these companies might employ, ensuring our clients receive the compensation they deserve. It’s an advantage that few firms can offer, and it’s a game-changer in negotiations and litigation.
Our commitment to your story: We want to hear it and help you rebuild your future.
Every client has a story, and at Bengal Law, we’re committed to hearing it. We understand the profound impact a hit-and-run can have on an individual’s life, and we’re here to help our clients rebuild and move forward. By understanding their story, their struggles, and their aspirations, we can tailor our approach to best serve their needs, ensuring not just legal victory but also a brighter future.
What to Expect When Working with Bengal Law
Direct communication with Jeff Starker, a seasoned injury attorney with over 25 years of experience.
At Bengal Law, we believe in providing our clients with direct access to the best. When you choose to work with us, you won’t be shuffled around between junior associates or paralegals. Instead, you’ll have direct communication with Jeff Starker, a seasoned injury attorney with a wealth of experience spanning over 25 years. Jeff’s extensive knowledge and hands-on approach ensure that you’re not just another case on a docket, but a valued client receiving top-tier representation.
A thorough process: From gathering your story to collecting documents and working diligently to maximize the value of your case.
Our commitment to excellence is reflected in our meticulous approach to every case. We begin by taking the time to truly understand your story, ensuring we grasp every detail and nuance. From there, we move to the collection of all relevant documents, evidence, and testimonies, building a robust case on your behalf. Our team works diligently, leaving no stone unturned, with the singular goal of maximizing the value of your case. We understand the profound impact these incidents can have on your life, and we’re here to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Our promise: If we can’t take your case, we’ll refer you to one of the best injury attorneys in Orlando.
At Bengal Law, we’re committed to our low volume, high value approach. This means that while we’d love to assist everyone, there are times when we might not be able to take on a case. However, our commitment to justice and your well-being doesn’t end there. If we can’t represent you, we promise to refer you to one of the best injury attorneys in Orlando. We have a vast network of trusted professionals, ensuring that even if we can’t be your representatives, you’ll still be in capable hands.
Choosing Bengal Law means choosing a firm that prioritizes you. From direct communication with seasoned professionals to a thorough, diligent approach and a commitment to ensuring you have the best representation possible, we’re here to stand by your side every step of the way.
Recap the importance of understanding Florida’s hit-and-run laws and seeking professional legal help.
Navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run can be a daunting experience. Understanding Florida’s hit-and-run laws is paramount, not only for legal clarity but also to ensure that victims are aware of their rights and the potential avenues for redress. However, comprehending these laws is just the beginning. To truly navigate the complexities of the legal system, seek rightful compensation, and ensure justice, professional legal assistance is indispensable. With the right legal partner, victims can transition from a place of uncertainty and distress to a position of empowerment and hope.
About Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC
At Bengal Law, we prioritize the individual needs of each client. We understand that personal injury is personal, and every case is unique. Our decades of experience, combined with our background in insurance, gives us a unique advantage in helping our clients. We believe in providing individualized attention, focusing on your story, and ensuring you get the best opportunity to make a full financial recovery. Contact us today and let us be a part of your journey to justice.
Reach out to Bengal Law for a personalized approach to your hit-and-run case.
At Bengal Law, we’re more than just attorneys; we’re advocates dedicated to ensuring that every client’s story is heard, their rights upheld, and their future secured. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a hit-and-run, don’t navigate this journey alone. Reach out to us for a personalized, compassionate, and expert approach to your case. Your path to justice and recovery is just a call or text away. Contact Bengal Law at 407-815-3000 and let us be your guiding light in these challenging times. Contact us today!