Hit And Run Accident – How To Avoid Being Charged With This Crime
Do you know how to avoid being accused of the crime of leaving the scene of an accident? Experienced Florida accident attorney Jeffrey Meldon offers his guidance to help you be safe and legal in the event of a crash on the road.
What is a “hit and run?”
A “hit and run” happens when a driver leaves the scene of a crash after causing property damage, personal injury, or even death. It’s often called leaving the scene of an accident, and a driver has a statutory (legal) duty to stop and help others. If someone is killed, it could be the basis for a wrongful death suit. Since 2018 in Florida alone, the number of hit and run cases has topped more than 100,000, injuries more than 20,000, and fatalities more than 200.
How Do I Avoid Being Accused of a Hit and Run?
First, stop. When an accident happens, your adrenaline begins pumping, and it’s hard to remember what to do. Above all, stop your car. Florida law requires that a driver stop, render aid, and provide identifying information to others if injury or property damage occurs in a crash. In addition, a driver in a wreck must call the police if there are any injuries and if they are reasonably able to do so. See Florida Statutes §§316.027-.066(2019).
Can A Pedestrian Be Involved in a Hit and Run?
Yes, so watch out, Floridians. Florida is home to the top 4 U.S. cities for pedestrian hit-and-run crashes: Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville. Between 2015 and 2019, Florida had over half a million hit and run accidents, over 1,000 involved fatalities.
Between 2008 and 2017, Florida drivers hit and killed over 5,000 people walking on the streets. South Florida remains especially deadly for walkers due to overcrowded roads, poor city planning, and a lack of public transit.
What Identifying Information Do I Need to Provide in the Event of a Crash?
Drivers must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number to others when involved in an accident. Upon request, a motorist in a wreck must display their license or permit. It’s best practice to keep your information in an envelope or folder to avoid searching through the glove compartment.
What if There Isn’t Anyone in the Car I Hit?
Even if you hit an unattended parked car or other property, like a mailbox, stop and leave your information. Florida law states a driver who hits and damages another car, even if there’s no one in it, must try and locate the owner or leave a visible note with the driver’s name, address, and vehicle registration number. Be responsible – it’s the law (Florida Statute §316.063(2019).
What Might Happen if I Don’t Stop?
A driver who leaves the scene of an accident could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor if the crash results in death, injury, or property damage. At a minimum, a motorist may be cited as a non-criminal ticket for failing to give information and render aid. Most importantly, a pedestrian or motorist may die if they don’t receive medical attention. Do the right thing – if you’re in a crash, stop and help.
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At Meldon Law, we strongly believe that public education is the first step in preventing an accident or in the recovery from one.
We are experienced personal injury attorneys, trial attorneys, negotiators, litigators, paralegals, and staff. For over 40 years, we have proudly fought to win Florida’s accident victims the justice they deserve. No matter how you have been injured, we offer a free consultation to review your case.
Our founder Jeffrey Meldon has written a consumer guide book based on his decades of expertise, Seven Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. Request your free-no obligation copy here or contact the Meldon Law office today.
If you have been involved in a serious accident – don’t wait! Contact Meldon Law at 800-373-8000 immediately. We have served Florida’s accident victims for over 40 years and have the experience and resources to work to obtain a fair settlement for you – we are here to help you.