Fort Lauderdale Hit & Run Accident Lawyers
If you have ever been involved in a hit-and-run car accident, then you are aware of the issues it can bring. Not knowing who hit you and how to seek compensation can provide a world of stress, especially if you are dealing with large medical bills, a life-changing injury, and how to fix your vehicle.
Luckily, the experts at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can help.
We understand that these are difficult times, and we want to help you not only seek the compensation you deserve, but also exercise your legal rights at bringing justice to the person responsible for fleeing.
Hit-and-run accidents are vastly different than standard car accidents. Because the other driver is unknown, these cases can prolong and drag out longer than the typical car accident case. Additionally, there are criminal consequences the other driver may face that can prolong your case.
All hope is not lost. There are still ways you can seek compensation for car accident cases, and we are here to provide answers to the questions you may have. If you have been involved in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hit-and-run accident, here’s everything you need to know.What Is a Hit & Run?
A hit-and-run accident is when a driver involved in a car accident flees the scene without checking on the other driver or waiting for law enforcement to arrive.
Many people think hit-and-run accidents are limited to accidents between two vehicles, but hit-and-run accidents can also occur with:
- Road signs
- Parked cars
- Road workers
- Fixed objects
- Wild or domestic animals (in some states)
Hit-and-run accidents can also happen anywhere. Parking lots, neighborhoods, city streets, highways, town roads, and more are all susceptible to these types of accidents. And since car accidents happen so frequently—even daily—the best way to avoid being labeled as a hit-and-run perpetrator is to remain at the scene if you are hit or hit someone else and call the police.
Under Florida law, it is a requirement for victims of car accidents to call the police if damages of over $500 and any injury occur as a result of the accident. Since there are almost always damages exceeding $500, law enforcement should be called.Reasons Why Drivers Flee
It is common to view the driver who flees a car accident as a criminal, but there are several reasons why these drivers are avoiding doing their civic duties. Those reasons could be one or a combination of the following:
- Warrants out for their arrest
- Hiding from another crime
- No insurance to pay for damages
- Workers trying to avoid losing a commercial license or avoiding penalties
- Driving under the influence or having illegal substances in the vehicle
- Not a legal US citizen
- Expired or suspended license
There can also be emotional and/or psychological factors for fleeing. Studies have shown that the increased adrenaline pumping through a driver’s veins after an accident could result in extreme fear or panic that causes the driver to leave the scene.What to Do if You’re Involved in a Hit & Run Accident
Hopefully, you are never involved in an accident with a hit and run driver, but if you are, here are some steps to take:Write Down the Other Driver’s Information
If it’s possible and you’re not too injured, try to examine the other driver’s vehicle as they are driving away. If you have a notepad or phone, write down the color, make, and model of their car along with their license plate if you can see it. Also, if you can see inside the car, make sure you note down a description of the driver to give to the police.Call 9-1-1
The next thing you should do is call law enforcement to the scene. It’s imperative that you remain at the scene once you safely move away from the road. While you are on the phone with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, inform them that the other driver fled the scene so they can warn police beforehand. Once the police arrive, be sure to give them any information about the driver you may have recorded or written down.
Since you will be the only driver remaining at the scene, be as thorough as you can with the police about the details of the accident and how it happened. Hit-and-run drivers may face criminal charges for fleeing the scene, so you can use the information that is used in the police report later on if you need to file a lawsuit.Be Medically Examined
You should allow EMS to examine you for injuries even if you don’t see or feel any bruises, cuts, or scrapes. It’s possible that you could have internal injuries that can go unnoticed until later. Your lawyer can also use your medical records to help build your case if you decide to seek legal action.Contact an Attorney
Before you speak to insurance, it is well-advised to find a Fort Lauderdale Hit & Run Lawyer to represent you since your case will involve much more work than a standard car accident. Since you do not know who the other driver is, it will be more difficult to find their identity and information. Your attorney can help you speak to your insurance adjuster to accurately describe what happened and if needed, file a lawsuit on your behalf.Call Your Insurance
Florida’s car laws require drivers who have been in a car accident to contact insurance before seeking the possibility of a lawsuit, so you will need to file a claim with your insurance to receive financial assistance for your medical bills or other personal injury complications first. There will be an investigation that your insurance adjuster completes. This investigation can be lengthy and more complicated given the nature of the accident. In order to seek an adequate settlement, it’s important to have the right attorney working with you to advise and guide you throughout the process.Collect Evidence for Your Case
You should begin collecting evidence at the scene of the accident as soon as you can for your attorney to use. Take photos and video footage of the scene, as well as nearby buildings (in case there are security cameras). Additionally, make sure to obtain a copy of the police report and keep all your medical records.Legal Options After a Hit & Run
Sadly, there’s not much you can do in a hit-and-run case if the other driver is never found. The police will work as best as they can to find who is responsible, but until then, the only option you have at seeking compensation is to file a claim with your insurance.
If the police are able to track down the hit-and-run driver responsible for your injuries, you may then have the right to file a lawsuit against them for additional compensation, if needed. You could also be able to financially recover from their at-fault driver’s insurance unless they aren’t insured. This is one of the reasons why it may be worth it to have uninsured motorist coverage. Florida is one of the top states for the most uninsured drivers.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver will require you to proceed in a timely manner. Florida law states that a person has four years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit or claim. Because you may not have the other driver identified, it can take time for the legal process to begin.When to Speak to an Attorney
It is in your best interest to speak to a qualified hit-and-run attorney as soon as possible regarding insurance and other legal options. If you are severely injured, you should consider contacting an attorney once you’ve had some time to recover.
Car accidents are matters that need to be handled quickly due to strict deadlines and there’s no one more suited to help you during this time than a lawyer. You can use their expertise when filing a claim with your insurance and have them answer the questions on your behalf. Insurance companies will look for ways to reduce your claim, but your lawyer will be on your side to help.
Your attorney can also help you with a lawsuit if you meet the eligibility requirements. These legal experts can give you the best legal guidance while keeping your best interests in mind.Qualities to Look For in a Hit & Run Attorney
If you are searching for a trusted attorney to consult with after your accident, then it may take some time to find the right one. There are many law firms in and around the Fort Lauderdale area, but you need to trust and feel confident in the one you choose to hire.
Investing in an attorney is a big deal, which is why you should know what to look when you begin consulting with various firms. It is highly advisable that you take advantage of the free consultation most firms offer so you can speak with the attorneys to determine which one is right choice for you.
Here are the top qualities you need to look for in every hit-and-run attorney you speak with:Past Reviews
Before you pick a law firm to work with, look them up by reading ratings and reviews from previous clients. This will help you have a better understanding of how successful the firm is and how easy the attorneys are to work with. You should look for firms that have reputable backgrounds and high ratings.Their Experience
Hit-and-run cases are meticulous. You should inquire about their previous experience handling similar cases and their success rate. You will want your attorney to have extensive experience and successful court skills.How They Communicate
You will need to converse with your attorney throughout the legal process. You’ll want to know what is going on throughout and always be kept in the loop. Your lawyer will also regularly check in with you and possibly ask you more questions. Because of this, you should ask how they plan to communicate with you and how you can go about asking questions if you need to.Budget
You should keep your budget in mind when choosing which attorney to hire. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis so you should choose a high-quality lawyer within your price range. Ask your attorney what their fees are and how they prefer to be paid but do not let price steer you to a lesser-skilled attorney. Ask your attorney if there are payment options or ways to agree to a more affordable price.What to Know About Hit & Run Lawsuits
You should know that hit-and-run lawsuits are unpredictable. If you are ever placed in a situation where you need to file against the apprehended driver, know that you will need specific evidence to further your case.
Depending on how complex your case is, it can take up to a year or more for everything to be settled. Factors of your case depend on how long it takes to find the driver, how cooperative they are, and what the evidence is surrounding your position.
To obtain the best understanding of what you can possibly expect from your case, consult with your attorney.How Hit & Run Lawsuits Are Settled
Hit-and-run lawsuits can be settled either by a settlement offer or in court. If an agreement can be reached, there will be no need to go to court unless it is for a separate lawsuit. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, then your case can go to court where your attorney will present the evidence.
There is no minimum or maximum amount that you may be awarded in court for these types of cases. It depends on how much relevant evidence you have, the severity of your injuries and other damages, and what the jury ultimately deems is adequate. Your attorney can give you better insight on what you can expect.When to Pay Your Attorney
You will likely pay your attorney at the end of your case if they agree to a contingency fee or have an hourly fee you can pay all at once. A contingency fee is how most personal injury lawyers prefer to be compensated, which is an agreed upon percentage of your final earnings (most attorneys have a contingency fee between 33-40%).
Let’s say your attorney’s contingency fee is 33% and the jury awards you with $60,000 in your case. Meaning that out of this $60,000, you will owe your attorney $19,800 for their hard work. It will then leave you with $40,200 in compensation.Speak to a Hit & Run Accident Lawyer Today
We understand that you probably have a lot of questions surrounding your hit-and-run case. If so, we would be happy to answer them for you.
Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers is a law firm in Florida that has over 40 years of experience helping residents in Fort Lauderdale recover damages from their injuries (by appointment only). We have helped many hit-and-run victims seek compensation from insurance and through lawsuits. We are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help.
Begin by calling us at (561) 800-8000 to schedule your free consultation or simply leave your information on our online form. During your consultation, please bring your insurance declaration statement, any photos from the accident, and other information that can be helpful to review your case.
Our attorneys are skilled and compassionate and want to help you seek justice when it’s deserved. Call us today to get started with your claim.