car crash

Hit and Run Horror


What to do if you’ve been the victim of a driver that left the scene

Recently in the news, we watched as friends, family, and fellow law enforcement officers said their final goodbyes to Florida hit-and-run victim, Deputy Michael Hartwick.  

Today we’re exploring the devastating consequences of hit-and-runs, and how to get help if this happens to you or a loved one. 

The dangers

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) report that hit-and-run events in Florida remain steady. It’s shocking to think that 25% of all crashes involve a hit and run, with most (84%) happening around dawn, dusk, or night-time conditions.

Although some hit-and-run crashes only involve property damage, others are deadly. Last year, 310 people lost their lives in Florida because of a hit-and-run crash. 

Police reports show that hit-and-run crashes are often caused by drunk, distracted, or careless drivers. Victims are often those who are out exercising safely, driving to work, or going about their daily lives. 

FHSMV has launched an awareness campaign for hit-and-run incidents, called ‘stay at the scene.’ Their advice is clear: if you’re involved in a crash, stay at the scene and wait for help.

The consequences

In 2014, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act was signed into Florida Law, changing the penalties for hit-and-run drivers. It was named after Aaron Cohen, a 31-year-old avid cyclist, and father of two, who was fatally struck by a drunk driver. The Act means a mandatory minimum of four years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash that results in death.

Anyone leaving the scene of a crash faces serious consequences:

  1. Property damage: Second Degree Misdemeanor; up to 60 days in prison, and a $500 fine.
  2. Injuries: second or third-degree felony; revoked license for at least 3 years; up to 5 years in prison, and a $5,000 fine.
  3. Fatalities: First-degree felony; license revoked for at least 3 years; mandatory minimum of 4 years in prison; up to 30 years in prison; $10,000 fine.

If you’re a victim of a hit and run

Becoming the victim of a negligent driver is always a stressful thing. There’s the property damage to your bicycle or car, as well as the injuries that you’ve sustained. However, as a driver, pedestrian, or cyclist, if you’ve been struck in a hit-and-run, there’s a whole new layer of stress: it’s likely that nobody witnessed the accident, and now the driver has disappeared, leaving you stranded.

All is not lost.

We explained in a previous blog that Florida is a no-fault state, so each driver’s own car insurance pays for his/her injuries and damages that result from an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.  Florida Law insists that all drivers carry a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) per person per accident, so usually, your own car insurance policy covers your medical expenses and lost income.

Hit-and-run victims often struggle to come to terms with things in the aftermath of an accident. Try to write down the license plate number, even partial, if you caught it. Gather evidence such as photographs of the scene, any contact details of witnesses, photos of your injury, medical records, police records, and a statement of how the accident happened while it’s fresh in your mind.

Picking up the pieces

If you’ve been a victim of a hit and run, no doubt you’re reeling from the shock of it. There’s a lot to consider, so let us help you to get back on your feet.

Jenkins Law P.L knows how tough it is to pick up the pieces after an accident and personal injury has knocked you down. However, we know that it’s all possible because we are experienced in this area. 

Pick up the phone to talk about your case, and you’ll be treated with compassionate personal service