Our Sarasota car accident lawyers look at the numbers
Florida drivers have a bad reputation – and deservedly so, according to some shocking new statistics that reveal the state ranks third in the country for fatal hit-and-run car accidents over the last decade.
The number of fatal hit-and-runs nationwide rose from 1,342 in 2010 to 1,939 in 2019, the latest year for which figures are available, according to researchers at ValuePenguin, a personal finance website. Florida, with 1,792 fatalities during that time period, trailed only California (3,056) and Texas (2,054). Overall, deaths have skyrocketed 44% since 2005.
Adding to the dilemma, auto insurance policies don't always cover hit-and-run accidents. A standard policy, in fact, offers little protection.
When a driver who caused an accident flees the scene, the victim is forced to rely on their collision or uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance coverage (not required in Florida), personal injury protection (PIP, which is required in Florida), or medical payments coverage (Med-Pay, which is optional in Florida).
In the end, a driver who has a standard policy faces the prospect of paying for major hit-and-run expenses out of their own pocket.
What to do after a hit-and-run crash
ValuePenguin also offers advice on what to do after a hit-and-run accident in Florida.
Among the tips are:
- Check everyone for injuries and call for medical assistance, if necessary.
- Move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic.
- Call the police and cooperate fully (and later get a copy of the official police accident report).
- When talking to the police, don't make assumptions about what happened and just stick to the facts of what you know.
- Try to remember the other vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number, if possible.
- Make note of the other driver’s appearance.
- Identify unique characteristics of the other vehicle, such as bumper stickers or dents.
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Take detailed pictures and/or video of the crash scene, including all property damage and anything else relevant to the crash.
- Never pursue the other driver. The potential dangers of a car chase far outweigh any benefits. You never know whether the other driver might be armed or otherwise dangerous. Let the police find the culprit.
Before you talk to an insurance company or sign any documents, you can also get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options by consulting with an experienced car accident attorney in your jurisdiction.
Help is available for crash victims in Southwestern Florida
A hit-and-run accident presents many unique challenges, especially if police are unable to locate the at-fault driver. But even if they can't, there may be other potential sources of compensation for you to tap into.
If you were injured in a crash caused by a driver who knowingly failed to stop after the accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you maximize the value of your claim.
At Farrow & Pulice, P.A., our attorneys can thoroughly review your auto insurance policy to see what coverage might apply.
If the police do locate the at-fault driver, we can also help you hold them accountable and fight for the compensation you're entitled to.
See what our law firm can do for you and contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Sarasota car accident lawyer.