Hit and Run Accidents
Experienced Florida Auto Accident Attorneys for Hit and Run Accident Claims
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run car accident in which the defendant fled the scene, you could be entitled to significant compensation under Florida law. Litigating a hit-and-run accident can be somewhat daunting for the first-time plaintiff who may not be aware of the various challenges and opportunities typically associated with such disputes. In the interest of simplifying what may initially seem to be a mess of confusing legalese, our Florida auto accident attorneys will explore below some basic issues relevant to most plaintiffs involved in a hit-and-run car accident.
Unique Issues in Hit-and-Run Accident Scenarios
Correctly Identifying the Responsible Party
One of the main points of concern that you may encounter is the problem of identifying the responsible party. If the defendant-driver fled the scene, then it’s possible that neither you (nor your passengers) had the opportunity to note their license plate number, vehicle model and color, or other identifying information. Without the identity of the defendant in-hand, you will not be able — practically speaking — to bring an action against them for damages.
Fortunately, you have options. Experienced Florida auto accident attorneys work with investigators to secure clues that can help reveal the defendant’s identity, from video footage of the accident to eyewitness testimony. After a comprehensive investigation, it is possible to track down and locate the defendant and make them the target of litigation.
Fault Not Necessarily Intertwined
It’s worth noting that even if a defendant-driver flees the scene of the accident, it is not necessarily true that they are at-fault for the accident itself. The fact that they fled the scene of the accident is not proof of fault, and the two are separate issues.
Punitive Damages are Possible for Florida Hit and Run Accidents
In Florida, punitive damages (which are separate from compensatory damages) are awarded in rare cases in which the defendant has acted with particular maliciousness, egregiousness, and disregard for the safety others. These damages can be quite substantial, as punitive damages multiply the underlying compensatory damages. In some cases, this can lead to multimillion dollar verdicts.
Hit-and-run car accidents are certainly prime candidates for an award of punitive damages, so long as you can show that the defendant-driver was aware of what transpired and was not simply in shock (or perhaps fearful/anxious). If you can show that the defendant willfully and maliciously escaped with the intention of avoiding liability, then you have a good chance of convincing the court to award punitive damages.
In Florida, drivers have a duty to stop and render reasonable medical assistance to the injured party. This does not necessarily require that the defendant directly help the injured party if they are unable to do so, but it does require that the defendant contact 911 or otherwise obtain medical aid through reasonable means.
If the defendant fled the scene of the accident and did not secure medical assistance on your behalf (assuming that you were unable to do so yourself), you may have an independent negligence claim against them on that basis, even if it later turns out that they were not operating their vehicle negligently when they “hit” you.
Contact Searcy Denney for a Free Initial Consultation with Our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys
At Searcy Denney, we have spent decades handling thousands of lawsuits on behalf of injured plaintiffs, and in a wide range of disputes — from car accident scenarios to slip and fall accidents.
Over the years, we have developed significant insight into what it takes to secure a favorable result through personal injury litigation, both in the settlement negotiation context and the more hostile trial litigation context. We have found that a client-centered approach is critical to the successful resolution of a plaintiff’s various injury claims. Simply put, our case results speak volumes about the effectiveness of this unique approach: since our founding, we have obtained more than $4.2 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
If you’re interested in having your claims evaluated and in speaking with one of our experienced Florida auto accident attorneys about your (prospective) lawsuit, we encourage you to contact us at 1-800-780-8607 or complete an online intake form. Consultation is free and confidential.