Much like other cases we take on at Zweben Law Group, no two hit and run cases are the same. Location of the accident, if there were any witnesses, how much vehicle damage occurred, and the extent of personal injury all play an important role in the outcome. However, one thing is the same, if there is no insurance to pursue, you will have an extremely difficult time obtaining compensation for your damages.
This blog will answer some questions about hit and run cases.
First things first: don’t forget the seven things to do after an accident. Number five (document the accident through pictures and notes) is especially important in hit and run cases because the other driver isn’t around to offer any information or evidence. In these cases, it is helpful to remember information about the other driver like their license plate or the make and model of their car. If possible, ask any bystanders if they recall specifics about the other party as well. Because it’s difficult to remember every last detail of the accident, try to run through as much as you can with the police as soon as possible. It is important to note that everyone involved in an accident is legally required to wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene. The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident ranges based on the extent of the damage to property and persons.
As Florida is a no-fault state, it is important to remember that your insurance will cover at least some of your medical expenses (the amount is determined by your policy), regardless of fault and even without the presence of the other driver. However, your recovery for additional medical bills above your policy coverage, lost income, and pain and suffering could be limited. If the other vehicle is found at fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should compensate you for these damages. If the other driver is never found, hope is not lost. Your damages could still be covered using uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
In cases where a car accident results in injuries or property damage, all parties must immediately stop and wait for police to arrive. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen and sometimes cars leave the scene, never to be found. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) can pick up the slack when the other party doesn’t have car insurance to cover them in the event of an accident or if the at-fault party leaves the scene and are never found. A UM policy can cover pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, lost income, and general inconvenience. UM will also step in when the at-fault driver has low limits of liability insurance (insufficient to cover your damages) or when the at-fault driver has no liability insurance (see the previously mentioned UM blog).
Whether you were on the interstate or a quiet neighborhood street, whether you remember the make and model of the car that hit you, whether you suffered property damage as a result of the accident, as well as the extent of your injuries, are all elements that can vary the outcome of a hit and run case. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of a hit and run accident, remain calm, keep in mind the key details of the accident so you can report it to police, and remember that all is not lost if the at-fault driver is never located or is uninsured, as long as you have UM coverage. Lastly, if your policy does not have UM coverage listed, it is imperative that you still contact an attorney to review the policy. Even without it being listed, it is still possible that you have UM coverage. Please contact Zweben Law Group if you have any questions related to this blog or another legal issue.