What to Do in a Hit and Run
Car accidents are no joke – They’re also mournfully common. In Florida alone, there are around 400,000 traffic accidents each year. As Florida’s population increases, so does its accident rate. For all of these accidents, it’s a miracle that less than 1% of them are fatal accidents. As big as that number may seem, only around 5% of all drivers will get in an accident each year. If you’re part of that unlucky few and find yourself in an accident, you’ll be wanting all the help you can get. Unfortunately, almost a quarter of all traffic accidents involve a hit and run. What do you do if the person that hit you drove away? For that matter – What do you do now that you are the person who has driven away from the scene of an accident? This article will cover both sides of this issue.
What is a Hit and Run?
There are laws and insurance coverage options in the Sunshine State to protect the victims of these hit-and-run accidents. By knowing what’s available to you, you can minimize your stress during this trying time. Strictly speaking, a hit and run accident occurs when a driver who is involved in an accident leaves before exchanging personal information – such as name, address, vehicle, and insurance numbers – with the other drivers involved, or if a driver leaves before “rendering to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance,” which could involve taking them to a doctor.
What Should I Do After a Hit and Run?
First, check for injuries among your passengers, and make a call for an ambulance if needed. You should also call the police. It is important to stay as calm as possible because remembering the license plate number, the make of the vehicle, and other details can assist you. Write these details down as soon as you can or record them with your telephone. If you happen to notice any pieces of the other vehicle on the ground, don’t touch it – Direct police to the debris instead. If there were eyewitnesses, talk to them. Ask for contact information if they aren’t willing to stay, take pictures, and lastly – Contact your insurance provider.
While drivers in Florida are required to have personal injury protection, which can provide $10,000 worth of medical coverage, this probably won’t help with your vehicle. Instead, you may opt into collision coverage, though you may have to pay a deductible to use this option. It is important to figure out what your expenses will be as soon as possible. Ideally, you will be carrying uninsured motorist insurance as well. This type of insurance can protect against, obviously, the uninsured or under insured motorist as well as the hit-and-run motorist.
What if I Left the Scene of an Accident?
In a high-stress situation, mistakes can be made. In this situation, you have made a mistake. You must obtain legal counsel before talking to the police. If the police contact you or impound your car, it is especially important to obtain the benefit of legal assistance before moving forward. Remember: Anything you say can and will be used against you, even if you remember something incorrectly. That said, do not be dishonest. Many drivers panic and make statements such as claiming that their car was stolen or used by somebody else. This will only complicate your situation and may constitute committing another crime. In short, say or do nothing without an attorney.
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