The state of Florida is very specific in terms of defining a “hit and run” accident. Leaving the site of an accident, also known as a “hit and run,” occurs when an involved driver fails to remain at the scene of a vehicle crash. This individual would also have to fail to complete other mandatory duties (such as exchanging contact, license, and insurance information) in the event of a crash causing property damage, bodily harm, or death in order for their accident to be classified as a “hit and run.”
Who Is Held Responsible In A Hit And Run Accident?
In a criminal case, the driver of the involved vehicle is the responsible party. If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle that he was driving when the crash occurred, only the driver is criminally liable. An exception would be if the driver and owner of the vehicle were both breaking the law at the time of the hit and run accident, such as if the owner of the vehicle knew that the driver was uninsured or under the influence, but still allowed him to operate the vehicle. In cases like that, both parties would be liable for the accident.
Responsibility in a civil case is a little bit different. In a civil case, the driver and the owner are both liable for damages. Even if the owner of the car was not driving when the crash occurred, his ownership of the involved vehicle alone makes him liable for at least part of the damages. This is also true of on-the-job accidents. If the offending driver was driving a company car, the owner of that company would also be liable.
The extent of liability of the non-driving owner in an auto crash depends on numerous factors. Some of these factors include whether or not the owner allowed an unlicensed or uninsured driver to operate his vehicle, whether he knew if the driver was under the influence and yet still allowed him to drive, or whether he knew the driver had an unclean driving record. In those cases, allowing the driver to operate his vehicle would be considered negligence. Some exceptions apply which can absolve the owner of liability for damaged incurred in a hit and run, such as unauthorized use of the automobile, or car theft.
Is It Necessary To Always Call The Police In A Hit And-Run Accident?
In Florida, the driver of a vehicle involved in an automobile accident must report it if the accident meets certain criteria. If the accident resulted in injury to, or the death of, any person (the other driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, etc.), and/or if the accident caused vehicle damage or damage to other property in an estimated amount of $500 or more. If the accident occurred within a municipality, then the accident must be reported to the local police department. Otherwise, the driver must report it to the county sheriff’s office or to the closest Florida Highway Patrol station. The laws in Florida require that you report the accident immediately, or as soon as physically possible.
What Steps Can You Take If You Are The Victim Of A Hit-And-Run Accident?
It is vital to make a note of and write down everything that happened as soon as you are physically able to do so. It may be difficult because you will probably be in shock after the incident, but waiting too long to document the details of the crash might cause you to forget important details about the accident.
If possible, you should take as many photos as you can of the car accident. Be sure to take photos of evidence of any damages that your vehicle incurred. You must also call the police to report the accident. Specify that it was a hit-and-run, and this will automatically escalate the accident report, since fleeing the scene of an auto accident is illegal in Florida. The police will take a statement from you and document the details of the accident.
Finally, you should contact an attorney who has experience handling hit and run accident claims. The sooner you get into an attorney’s office, the better. They will be able to guide you through the recovery process and advise you every step of the way during this troubling time.
For more information on Hit & Run Accidents In Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 800-835-5762 & 954-456-2488 today.
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