Involved in a Hit and Run in Miami? (Everything You Need to Know)
What Is a Hit and Run?
Whether you’re involved in a car accident with another vehicle, pedestrian, or an object, leaving the scene without stopping to provide contact information or assisting the other victim is considered a hit and run. It’s important you exchange information and file a police report, even if the hit and run is not your fault.
Leaving the scene can result in more consequences:
- Extra police charges: misdemeanor or felony charges
- Points on your license
- Suspended license
- Insurance increase
- Jail time
Hit and Run Law: Leaving an Accident Scene Is a Crime in Florida
Hit and run laws vary state to state. Some states might handle hit and runs as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the cause of the accident, damage, and if anyone left the scene.
Under Florida state law, hit-and-run drivers can face criminal charges if they flee the scene of an accident involving property damage, serious bodily injury, or death. Drivers who leave an accident scene involving a death could even face felony charges.
Florida Statute 316.061 directly states: “The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such crash or as close thereto as possible, and shall forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at, the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062.”
Drivers have a duty to remain at the accident scene and provide the following:
- Legal name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver;
- Driver’s license or permit, if the other driver requests;
- Name, address, vehicle registration number and drivers license to police officers investigating the crash; and
- Provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone injured in the crash, which includes requesting emergency assistance (calling 9-1-1) if a victim needs to take an ambulance from the scene.
If a police officer does not respond to the scene, either driver involved in the accident must go to the nearest law enforcement office to report the crash.
What if an animal was involved in a hit and run? In Florida, it is also illegal to hit and run pets. Although pets are much more than personal property, they are considered personal property and if you don’t remain at the scene legal consequences will follow.
The possible sentence for leaving the scene of an accident after a hit and run in Florida depends on how the alleged offense is classified. The statutory maximums for hit and run crimes are as follows:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500;
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000;
- Second-Degree Felony: Up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
- First-Degree Felony: Up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Drivers who leave the scene of a fatal crash can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. The same mandatory minimum applies to offenders found guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal accident caused by driver intoxication.
What to Do if Involved in a Hit & Run Accident?
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Miami:
- Seek medical help immediately – Even if you don’t think you sustained an injury, visit a doctor to be sure. If you find out you suffered an injury later, going to the doctor right away can help your case later.
- Call the police – Report the incident. Wait for them to arrive and describe everything in as much detail as you can remember. (**NOTE – You don’t have to admit fault for the accident. You have the right to speak to an attorney before giving a statement to police or insurance adjusters.)
- Take notes – List the vehicle’s color, make, and model, if possible. Taking down the person’s license plate number is a best-case scenario in these accidents but not always possible.
- Take photos of property damage and personal injuries if possible. Photographic evidence of the accident can help protect your rights if the other person decides to pursue a lawsuit against you for negligence. It can prevent the person from dramatizing the situation and pinning more responsibility on you than you deserve.
- Collect the information of the other driver, pedestrian, or other persons involved in the accident.
- Speak to an experienced car accident attorney to review your case.
The more information about the accident you can provide, the more likely the police will be able to catch the perpetrator. As a victim of a hit and run, speak to an attorney about any serious injuries or expensive property damage you suffered. You may be able to secure compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and other expenses if the police find the person responsible.
How To Recover Compensation for Damages from a Hit-And-Run Accident?
You can recover compensation for your damages via the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and if you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
How the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Policy Helps in a Hit and Run Accident
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. This means that your auto insurer will pay for some of your damages, regardless of who caused an accident.
Florida’s no-fault insurance law (627.736) requires all drivers to have a PIP policy offering at least $10,000 in coverage. If you seek treatment within 14 days of your crash, your PIP policy pays for:
- 80% of the victims’ medical expenses, up to the policy limit;
- 60% of the victims’ lost wages or income; and
- $5,000 in death benefits.
If your medical bills exceed your policy limit, there are other options we can consider. Call SteinLaw now to review your case.
How the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Policy Helps in a Hit and Run Accident
According to Florida Statute 627.727, vehicle owners are not mandated to carry UM/UIM coverage, as we are with PIP coverage, but it is always offered by insurance companies as an option for policyholders.
Your UM/UIM policy should cover you after a hit-and-run accident.
- If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you are able to pursue compensation from your OWN insurance company when an uninsured driver causes an accident.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, similarly protects you. If an underinsured driver causes an accident, the UIM policy allows you to pursue compensation from your OWN insurance company if the driver at fault has insurance, but not enough to cover all of your damages.
Don’t Settle! Let SteinLaw Negotiate Your Insurance Claim and Help You Recover the Compensation You Deserve
Schedule a Consultation with SteinLaw
Never 100% trust insurance companies. Insurance companies are known for saving money, not paying out settlements. Our firm’s attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating fair settlement claims on behalf of injury accident victims.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a hit and run car accident, it’s important to seek legal help immediately. Contact the experienced Car Accident attorneys at SteinLaw for a free consultation. At SteinLaw, we will fight to get the compensation you deserve!