By Grace Hancock
No one ever expects to be the victim of a hit and run. Because of this, many people are at a loss as to what to do moving forward when they do happen. In this article, we cover the four crucial steps to take in the event you are the victim of a hit and run. Follow these steps and you will be able to maximize your chances of recovering financial compensation. Keep reading to learn more.
Number 1: You Have 24 Hours to File a Police Report
It’s illegal to operate a vehicle without car insurance in the state of Florida. But, just any car insurance won’t be sufficient to cover damages in the case of the unexpected. To protect yourself in the case of a hit and run, it’s important that you have uninsured motorist coverage.
If your car is damaged and/or you sustain injuries in a car accident and the at-fault driver flees before you are able to identify them then they are classified as an uninsured driver. Insurance policies require you to report the accident to the police within 24 hours or as soon as practicable if a hit and run driver is involved in order to make an uninsured motorist claim.
An underinsured motorist claim requires you to do the same. This type of claim protects you in the case that the at-fault driver does not have enough assets to adequately compensate you for your injuries and/or damage to your vehicle.
Number 2: Stay On the Scene
Section 316.062 requires the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in (1) injury or death of any person or damage to any vehicle, or (2) other property which is driven or attended by any person to:
- Give their name, address, and registration number of the vehicle they are driving
- Show their license or permit to drive to the other individual upon request
- Show license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or whoever is investigating the crash
- Give reasonable aid to the injured person
Any violation of this section is a noncriminal infraction. A noncriminal infraction is punishable as a nonmoving violation. This results in points put on your driver’s license. Just because the at-fault driver has fled the scene doesn’t mean that you should leave as well. Stay at the scene so you are able to communicate with and show proper ID to any police officers or anyone investigating the crash. Leaving the scene, even if you weren’t the person who caused the accident, could get you in trouble.
Number 3: Document the Hit and Run Accident
Ways in which you can document the scene of the accident include:
- Taking photos and/or video of any injuries you may have sustained
- Taking a photo and/or video of any damages to your vehicle
- Noting the make of the car, the license, and a description of the fleeing driver if possible
- Identifying any eyewitnesses to the hit and run
- Obtain security footage of the accident from nearby establishments if applicable
- If in the car accident parts of the fleeing driver’s vehicle fell off onto the road, collect the broken pieces
If there is no physical contact with the hit and run vehicle, you must prove the facts of the accident. Insurance companies will only accept competent evidence other than the person making claims under uninsured motorist coverage. This means that you must have proof in addition to your testimony, which is why documenting the accident is so crucial.
Number 4: File a Personal Injury Claim Within 4 Years
The statute of limitations under Florida law to file a personal injury claim is 4 years from the date of the accident. You will not be allowed to file a claim after this 4-year time window, meaning even if you have filed a police report, you won’t be able to seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver.
Hancock Injury Attorneys: Your Tampa Bay Hit and Run Accident Lawyers
When you’re the victim of a hit and run, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate the complexities of the law, gather the proper evidence, and maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Work with Hancock Injury Attorneys and you will be working directly with our lawyers who will be able to answer all your questions and give you peace of mind. Contact us online or call us at (813) 901-1110 for your free case consultation today.