According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, nearly 25% of all crashes are hit and run crashes. With those statistics, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself the victim of a hit and run while driving in Florida.
You’re the victim of a hit and run but no damage to your property or vehicle. Not sure what to do next or how to get compensation for yourself after being involved in a crash?
In this post, you’ll find out where you should go from here after being in a hit and run situation without any damage to your property or vehicle involved.
What is a Hit and Run?
At its most basic level, a hit and run accident means that someone caused damage to property or person and left the scene of the crime.
Even if the other party leaves the scene or isn’t present when the accident occurs, most states require you to stay at the accident scene to meet with law enforcement agency. They’ll take your information and file a report so there’s a record of the accident that took place.
By failing to wait at the scene of an accident, providing reasonable aid to injured person, or not providing your driver’s license or contact information, you could open yourself up to more hit and run related charges being filed against you.
If There’s No Damage, Do I Still Call the Police?
Yes! Even if there’s no immediate visible damage to vehicles, property, or people, it’s still important to call the police to report the accident. As a property owner, should you find out later that something’s wrong with your car, you’ll want that police report and paper trail. You’ll also be grateful for the police report if you later discover you have a personal bodily injury or pain that could be because you were involved in a crash.
Immediately stop when it’s safe to do so. If you’re in a high-traffic area or busy parking lot, find a safe place to pull over. You do not want to leave the scene of the accident and be guilty of a hit and run. Remain at the scene of an accident until the police arrive so they can take your report and collect your information.
Provide the requested information to the police and law enforcement officers who respond to the hit and run. The police officer will want to see your driver’s license, vehicle registration number, and your auto insurance policy information. They’ll also collect the information of any other people involved in the accident as well as any witnesses to the hit and run.
Document any personal injury or property damage caused by the crash. Let law enforcement know and provide the list to your attorney as well. Continue to document the issues as they persist to provide documentation if needed for coverage.
What You Should Not Do After a Hit and Run
Just like there are things you should do after your hit and run, there are also some things you should not do to protect yourself. Follow these steps, even though there’s no visible damage:
- It might seem obvious, but don’t leave the scene of the accident. Even if you’re the only vehicle involved or there isn’t any obvious damage, it’s important to stay and wait for authorities to arrive.
- Do not attempt to chase down the driver who left the scene of an accident. This can be very dangerous for you, passengers, and other vehicles on the road. Try to get a description of the vehicle. The make, model, and license plate number will all be helpful in identifying the other driver.
- Don’t withhold information. You may be legally required to share basic contact information to the others involved. If law enforcement officers request information, it’s best to comply with their requests.
- Even if it is, don’t admit fault for the accident. Let the police officers do their investigation and review information from everyone involved to better determine who’s at fault.
- No matter how small that cut or ache may seem, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible following the accident.
- The same goes for collecting information at the scene of the accident. No matter if you think the witness offering you their name and phone number didn’t see much or you’ve taken enough pictures. It’s better to have too much information than find out down the road you were missing a key part when trying to recreate the accident.
- Never sign anything you don’t understand. Following the accident, you may be approached by the other driver’s or your own insurance cover. Don’t sign anything you receive unless you completely understand the document, what’s included, and the impact of signing and agreeing to the terms.
What is Considered Damage?
Most people associate “damage” with a wrecked car or property damage because of a hit and run accident. In the eyes of the Florida law, damage can happen to property or living things like people and animals.
Damage can include things such as dents in your vehicle, broken windows in your car, or injuries sustained during the accident. Your property can also be damaged during a hit and run.
You can also have damage to your body, causing you to seek medical care. If you find yourself seriously injured following the crash, you may not be able to immediately return to work. That can also be seen as damage resulting from the motor vehicle accident.
Can I Still Receive Compensation?
Even if your vehicle or property wasn’t damaged in the hit and run accident, car crash victims may still be able to receive compensation. This would come from the insurance companies of the drivers involved.
If you were injured in the accident, you could receive compensation in excess of what’s covered by your insurance for things like medical bills and time away from work.
Oftentimes to receive additional compensation because you were injured, you will need to hire an attorney to assist you with things related to your hit and run. Your lawyer will be able to give you legal advice, help you gather the necessary information to build a solid case, and get you the compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies will work to offer you a settlement. Before agreeing to or signing anything, be sure to contact your attorney to make sure you’re getting the compensation you are entitled to.
What to Expect in a Florida Hit and Run Car Accident with No Damage
Every state has different laws and requirements related to car accidents, especially when it comes to hit and run car accidents. Here is some information that is specific to Florida hit and run accidents and drivers:
Required Insurance Coverage
Florida is considered a “no-fault” state, regardless of if the accident is a hit and run or not. This means that each driver involved in the accident files with their insurance company. In Florida, you’re required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance as part of your car insurance.
This coverage will allow both drivers to get medical care right away without knowing what driver is at fault. While there is a limit on the coverage, if you have serious medical injuries that exceed the coverage, you may seek legal actions to be compensated for the additional expenses.
Your no-fault auto insurance company will cover expenses related to medical treatment as well as lost wages due to your hit-and-run accident. Be sure to keep documentation of any treatment and expenses related to medical care or lost wages so you can submit those to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Leaving the Scene
If you were aware you were involved in an accident and you left the scene, that meets the legal definition of hit and run in Florida. These are also classified as leaving the scene of an auto accident:
- Stopping and not providing reasonable assistance to someone injured in the accident.
- Leaving without providing your driver’s license and contact information.
Leaving the scene of an accident where someone is killed could result in being charged with a first-degree felony in Florida. Penalties for that include fines up to $10,000 and 30 years in prison. Drivers convicted of driving under the influence receive an automatic four-year jail sentence.
In a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver leaves the scene where someone else is injured, they can be charged with a third-degree felony. If convicted of this, you could be facing a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison or probation.
Drivers in hit and run accidents that only have property damage can be charged second-degree misdemeanor and face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail if convicted.
If you’re involved in a hit and run, even if it looks like there’s no property damage or physical injuries, it’s best to still contact the authorities and treat the accident like any other.
If you have any concerns about the accident, look for a lawyer that offers a free consultation and take the time to speak with them to discuss the options available should the need arise in the future.
Taking the time to talk with someone while the accident and events are still fresh in your mind can make a difference when it comes to collecting evidence and additional information from witnesses.
Denmon Pearlman is a law firm that offers a free, no obligation legal consultation to hit and run accident victims, so call us today at (813) 694 – 4130. We’ll connect you with an attorney who will walk you through the steps you need to take before you take legal action regarding your hit and run. We encourage you to ask questions about our process along the way and will work to help you get the compensation you deserve during your free consultation and during the entire attorney client relationship.