Your day just went from bad to worse. Not only were you sideswiped on your way home, but the other driver fled the scene instead of staying to exchange insurance information.
You weren’t at fault for the accident, and you suspect that your damages and injuries might exceed your Personal Injury Protection and property damage coverage. You have no idea how to make the other driver pay for the additional damages and your injuries since you don’t know who it was.
In Florida, in 2014, around one in four crashes involved a hit and run driver, and fatalities involved in these crashes are rising. In response, in July 2014, Florida legislators changed the law to impose stiffer penalties on those who leave the scene of an accident. Now, if a driver leaves the scene of a crash that causes serious bodily injury or death, he could face mandatory imprisonment for 2-4 years. Other penalties of leaving the scene of an accident include loss of driver’s license and a permanent criminal record.
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is essential that you contact thepolice as soon as possible so that they can prepare a report and attempt to track down the other driver. The following will help the police and, later, your insurance company:
- Details about the other car, including color, make, model, age, any distinguishing bumper stickers or damage, etc. If you caught a license plate number, so much the better.
- Information about the scene – especially if you don’t call the police for any reason. Take notes on the position of your car, take pictures of any paint transference and damage, and get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
Once you have your information, provide it to the police and to your insurance company. Whether or not the other driver is ever found, your own Personal Injury Protection and Personal Damage Liability insurance could cover your injuries and the damages to your vehicle to the limits of your policy. If the other driver is found and if your expenses from the accident exceed your policy limits, you may need experienced legal counsel to help you recover adequate compensation.