If you were injured in an accident with a driver who fled the scene, you may be suffering from physical trauma, as well as a pile of medical bills and missed time from work. Because of this, you might benefit from speaking with a knowledgeable lawyer about how to recover St. Petersburg hit and run accident damages through a civil claim.
If successful, a claim might compensate you for numerous losses, both economic and non-economic. By working with a skilled attorney, you could have help with calculating the full extent of your damages and filing a claim to request appropriate compensation.
Forms of Compensation in a Hit-And-Run Case
The recoverable damages in a hit-and-run case are the same as those available in a typical motor vehicle crash claim. This means that, despite a driver fleeing the scene, the damages are no less real for the injured claimant. Therefore, there are many forms of damages a plaintiff might request. These include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills and injuries
- Lost time and wages at work
- Lost future earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
However, damages may be difficult to accurately calculate, especially as a person recovers from their injuries. For instance, if a person has been involved in a serious accident and sustained a head injury, they will likely face an extended period recovery period. During this time, they would miss time at work, as well as the potential for a promotion or other workplace benefit. As a result, these losses could be calculated into a claim with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.
Who is Pursued for Compensation When a Driver is Unidentified?
While a person might still be entitled to compensation for a hit and run injury, these cases are often different with regards to who they must request recovery from. If an injured motorist is fortunate enough, the policy will identify and apprehend the fleeing driver, and that driver will have insurance. Under these circumstances, the injured person can pursue compensation against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, just as they would for a standard car crash claim.
Many times, however, fleeing drivers do not have auto insurance. If this is the case, a claimant would have to proceed with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against their own insurance company. Unfortunately, these claims are often more challenging, because of the proof that insurance companies require, as well as the fact that they try to deny that a motorist has this form of coverage.
Under Florida law, however, all insurance policies that are issued to drivers which contain liability insurance are required to also be delivered with uninsured motorist coverage—unless there has been a clear and knowing rejection of that coverage in writing. A lawyer who is familiar with hit and run cases could help a claimant to pursue damages for a hit and a run collision, including negotiating with aggressive or difficult insurance companies.
Are Punitive Damages Applied to Drivers Who Fled the Scene?
Punitive damages are applied to hit-and-run accident cases. In Florida, these damages differ from compensatory damages and are instead designed to punish a defendant. However, punitive damages are only reserved for at-fault drivers whose conduct was so egregious that the court rules they should be punished for their behavior. In cases with fleeing drivers, these damages may arise if the at-fault motorist was drinking or driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
In this scenario, an injured claimant’s persistent attorney might file a motion for the court to allow punitive damages to be assessed against the intoxicated driver. The lawyer might make the case that, because the motorist was willfully ignorant of traffic rules, they should be punished.
How a Lawyer Could Help to Pursue St. Petersburg Hit and Run Collision Damages
After being involved in a crash, it is important to understand what to do when a driver flees the scene. However, any resulting injuries may leave you traumatized and overwhelmed.
Instead of trying to pursue compensation alone, consider reaching out to a compassionate lawyer for help with assessing your damages after a hit and run accident in St. Petersburg. To learn more about how a steadfast attorney might help, call today.