If you were injured in a crash with a driver who fled the scene, you may feel unsure of how to proceed. Because of the nature of these incidents, it is important to understand what to do after an accident, as well as to speak with a skilled lawyer to discuss your options. While you may be able to seek recovery for your damages through a civil claim, a well-versed attorney could help to explain the unique factors of a St. Petersburg hit-and-run case.
How Do Hit-And-Run Accidents Differ?
The primary aspect of a hit-and-run case that differs from other accident claims is the way insurance is involved. Many times, the fleeing driver will escape the scene before the injured motorist or any witnesses can get a complete or even partial description of their vehicle, license plate, or the driver themselves. Therefore, the injured party would be left without any possible recourse directly against the at-fault driver.
In this scenario, the person would instead have to proceed with a different type of insurance claim—this would be against the insurance policy on their own vehicle, known as an uninsured motorist claim. Essentially, in Florida, all insurance policies that contain liability coverage must also provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. In fact, insurance companies must provide this coverage at the time that a policy is purchased.
Complications with Pursuing a Hit-and-Run Injury Insurance Claim
If an insurance company has not provided an injured motorist with uninsured motorist coverage, they would need an attorney to investigate why. For example, there are statutory requirements that insurance companies must follow in order to get someone to decline uninsured motorist coverage. This would have to be done through a form explaining the benefits of the coverage, as well as the declaration that these benefits were being denied. This form would then have to be approved by the state of Florida. Because of this, an insurance company would have to produce this form if they are attempting to deny coverage on this ground.
Because of the nuances of pursuing an insurance claim, it may prove useful to have an experienced attorney involved. If a claim is valid, however, it would be similar to a claim against an at-fault driver. For example, proof of injuries would have to be demonstrated through medical bills and records, an accident report, statements of witnesses, and photos showing damage to their vehicle.
How a Driver Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Might Impact a Criminal Charge
When a driver flees the scene of an accident, there are often witnesses to the wreck and to the driver trying to escape. At the very least, the injured party is often able to see the vehicle speed off after it has been involved in a crash.
If a good enough description is able to be given by either the witness or the injured motorist, police may be able to apprehend them—either that day or at some point in the future. If so, charges would most likely be brought against that fleeing motorist not only for the accident they were involved in, but also for the act of fleeing from the scene. In Florida, this is a statutory violation, as well as a criminal violation. Therefore, the person would be facing criminal charges. Often, witness statements are one of the best forms of proof in connection with a criminal charge.
A Lawyer Could Help to Explain the Unique Factors of St. Petersburg Hit and Run Crash Cases
If you were involved in a hit and run collision, you may be traumatized and feel as though you have no legal recourse. Even if the escaping driver is never caught, however, you might still be able to pursue compensation through an insurance claim.
By consulting with a seasoned attorney about the unique factors of a hit-and-run accident case in St. Petersburg, you could assess your legal options and decide how to best proceed. Call a legal professional today to learn more.