West Palm Beach Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers
Hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is devastating when a vehicle speeds through traffic, hits an unsuspecting driver, and then drives away without leaving their information. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Florida. As a result, drivers may flee the scene because they fear facing charges. Contact a West Palm Beach hit-and-run accident lawyer for help if you or a loved one is injured in a hit-and-run collision.
Hit-and-run accidents can be aggravating and deadly. Therefore, it’s never a good idea to leave an accident scene whether or not the driver is at fault. Furthermore, this type of collision can be complicated as injured victims may be unable to identify the at-fault driver and not know who to hold accountable for their injuries.
Whether the victim was driving, walking, or bicycling, they deserve the right to fight for compensation. We advise you to hire a skilled lawyer to help determine the best legal strategy for a possibility of a favorable outcome. Contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers to hear more information.Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents in West Palm Beach, FL
Hit-and-run crashes are one of the most reckless kinds of collision. It is never excusable. Unfortunately, they occur more frequently than they should in West Palm Beach County. This is because of the dangerous roads and intersections in the county.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), nearly 25% of all crashes in Florida involve hit-and-run.
Common causes of hit-and-run accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Fatigued driving
- Running stop signs
- Unsafe lane changes
- Improper turns
- Failing to yield right of way, etc.
When a driver is involved in a vehicle crash that results in property damage, bodily injury, or death and fails to remain at the scene, it is considered a hit-and-run under Florida law. There are many reasons why people flee the scene of an accident. Understanding the reason why these accidents happen can help victims better prepare if they are ever involved in this situation.
The at-fault driver may be driving without a license or insurance. In addition, they may be driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, none of these are valid reasons to leave an accident scene without helping a victim.
When a crash happens in West Palm Beach, the at-fault driver has statutory obligations to fulfill under Florida law. For accidents involving only property damage to another vehicle or object, the law requires that the driver must:
- Immediately stop the car at the scene or close to the location
- Give their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the operator or owner of the car
- Without unnecessary delay, notify the nearest police authority.
- Upon request and, if available, exhibit their license or permit to the other party.
- Provide license or permit to any police officer at the scene or the investigating law enforcement agency.
- If the property damaged in the collision is unattended, the at-fault driver must locate the property owner and comply with the above duties. Alternatively, the driver can attach their information in a conspicuous area or with a written notice stating their name, address, and registration number on a vehicle.
In addition, when the accident results in bodily injury or death, the hit-and-run driver must:
- Render reasonable assistance to the person injured. This includes making arrangements for transporting the victim to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical treatment.
- If the other driver is not in a condition to receive the information specified above, the non-injured driver must report the crash to the nearest police authority.
FLHSMV explains the potential penalties for hit-and-run in Florida as follows:
- When the accident results in property damages, it amounts to a misdemeanor of a second degree punishable by 60-days imprisonment or stringent fines. When it results in injuries, it is a second or third-degree felony. It is possible for it to result in a revoked license for three years, up to five years imprisonment, and a fine of $5,000.
- When it results in fatalities, it is a first-degree felony with a revoked license of at least thirty years. In addition, the person faces a minimum of four years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.
- Victims can also file a civil lawsuit against the hit-and-run driver in court.
Hit-and-run accidents can be one of the most disheartening auto collisions. When it occurs, the injured party can feel hopeless and alone. In addition, if the driver fails to stop and deal with their actions, they can leave you with financial issues.
In this kind of situation, you might wonder what to do. What someone does immediately after a crash is crucial when seeking justice and compensation. While the victim cannot ask the at-fault driver for their information since they fled, they should take other actions to protect themselves.
From our extensive years of experience, we advise victims to do the following:Pull Over to a Safe Location
We advise that you pull your vehicle off the side of the road, away from oncoming traffic. If the driver flees, you should refrain from chasing them. Being involved in a high-speed chase can result in even more injuries and damage.Call the Police
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, report to the authorities immediately. The police accident report will indicate a hit-and-run, even if you have no information about the driver. When the responding officer arrives, describe everything you can about the collision. This includes any distinguishing features you remember about the driver or the vehicle.
Once the report has been filed, one can obtain a copy at the police department or the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. In addition, this report will be essential in making your insurance claim. Failing to report the accident can make the injured party’s insurer deny or limit the claim.Do Not Refuse Medical Attention
It is advisable to seek medical evaluation when involved in a hit-and-run accident. A proper physical record of your condition is essential whether you think you are injured or not.
Several injuries can result from this type of collision. Delayed injuries can also emerge after some time. It's best for medical professionals to identify them early on and begin immediate treatment.
Common injuries sustained in a hit-and-run collision include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Loss of limbs (in extreme cases)
- Death, etc.
This involves taking photos of the damaged vehicle, injuries sustained, and the accident scene. Write down everything you remember about the car and the driver, including what happened before and after the crash.
It also helps to obtain the contact information of any witness who saw the crash. Witness testimony is important in corroborating your version of events. This will help provide information to the authorities and your insurance company.Contact Your Insurance Company
Most insurance companies require you to file a report within a specific period after an accident. However, you should stick to the facts and don’t say anything that infers fault or blame. Failure to comply with the strict deadline might cause you to lose your ability to make a claim.
Additionally, if a driver in a hit-and-run accident is unidentified, it is considered similar to an uninsured motorist. Florida offers uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to policyholders. Your policy documents should state the specific information you need to know.Contact Your Attorney
Understanding your legal rights to seek compensation through your insurance policy is important. A West Palm Beach hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you understand the options when seeking financial compensation for the resulting damages. In addition, we can implement legal strategies to protect your rights.
We can also investigate further and gather relevant evidence to build a solid insurance claim on your behalf. We also help file an uninsured motorist claim against your insurer under an Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) policy for damages. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.Hit-and-Run Accident and Uninsured Motorist Claim in West Palm Beach, Florida
Victims of a hit-and-run accident are often confused and stressed about how to obtain compensation for their wounds or property damage. Even if they do everything correctly, the police might not find the other driver, or if the at-fault driver was found, they might not have insurance.
If you suffered from a hit-and-run accident, you should be able to seek recovery for your incurred expenses due to the incident. However, this type of claim is not easy to navigate without the help of a lawyer. Many victims don’t have experience with personal injury law. A personal injury lawyer can help with the process.
When there is no information about the driver, you can file an uninsured motorist claim. Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) provides coverage when the policyholder is in an accident with someone who does not have insurance. Florida requires that auto insurance policies buy uninsured motorist coverage.
This insurance provides coverage in a hit-and-run when the driver cannot be identified. Insurance companies require those filing uninsured motorist claims to prove they are legally entitled. This is done by proving that the hit-and-run driver caused their injury and property damage.
In addition, Florida administers a no-fault auto insurance system. This requires drivers to carry $10,000 in personal insurance protection (PIP) for their injuries, lost wages, and vehicle damage.
This insurance is a type of no-fault coverage as Florida is a no-fault state. This means that regardless of the driver at fault, each driver is responsible for paying for their injuries.
However, this coverage does not cover compensation for pain and suffering. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage for your vehicle, you should consider adding it now. If your PIP insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the expenses or you do not have UM insurance, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver if they are caught. The best chance of success is to have the police and a lawyer investigate the crash and identify the driver.What Compensation Am I Entitled to Through Civil Court for My Hit-and-Run Case?
Motorists who fail to remain at the scene of a collision can be found guilty of criminal charges. In addition, they can face civil action if identified. Thankfully, with the advancement of technology, it has become difficult for negligent divers to escape from an accident scene without leaving evidence of their identity.
Victims can choose to file a lawsuit if their insurance policy does not fully cover the cost of their medical treatment. Therefore, you can seek compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages if you cannot work as a result of the hit-and-run accident
- Vehicle damages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering compensation
Hit-and-run accident lawyers are trained to handle these types of situations. Pursuing your accident claim without a lawyer is not advised. You may assume that you won’t have trouble because a PIP claim involves filing with your insurer. Unfortunately, this puts victims in an adversarial role with the policy that is supposed to protect them.
Seeking financial compensation for resulting expenses is not always easy. Regardless of your relationship with your insurer, the insurance company is still a business. They aim to profit. The insurance adjuster can try to maximize the company’s profits by minimizing your claim.
To seek the benefits that you deserve, we advise victims to work with a lawyer. Having an attorney by your side increases your chances of success.Time Limit for Filing a Hit-and-Run Claim in West Palm Beach, Florida
The Statute of Limitations for a hit-and-run accident in Florida depends on whether the victim suffered harm or lost a loved one. If the accident resulted in the death of a loved one, the victim has two years to file a claim.
Victims that are not familiar with the time limit can contact us immediately. However, failing to file within the prescribed period can bar your right to compensation. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we will inform you of these statutes and how they apply to your case. The sooner you begin, the better.Why Do I Need a West Palm Beach Accident Lawyer if I Am Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?
In our field of law, we have seen a lot of accident victims who don’t reach out to a lawyer when they should. They settle quickly with the insurance company and are underpaid for their medical expenses and other financial losses. However, this does not have to be the case.
A West Palm Beach accident lawyer can help in the following ways:
- Offer legal support at every stage of the legal process
- Gather all necessary evidence to prove the victim's case
- Prove liability and fault of the hit-and-run driver
- Hold the insurance company accountable
- Handle all legal paperwork and communication with the insurance company
- Demand and recover full compensation for the injuries and property damage suffered from.
A lawyer that specializes in these kinds of cases knows the steps to take to help victims seek adequate compensation. As a result, you can save time and focus on recuperating while the lawyer handles the legal aspect of the case.
In addition, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we believe your case is meritorious, we will accept an agreed-upon percentage only if you win your case.
In addition, we offer a free initial consultation. During the consultation, we will evaluate and assess your case. You may not know whether you have a valid claim if you don’t have the case evaluated by an attorney.Work With a West Palm Beach Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Today!
Hit-and-run auto accidents can be stressful and devastating to victims and their family members. Sometimes, at-fault drivers escape liability for their wrongdoings. However, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we will gather all the available evidence to build your case.
In addition, we go to great lengths to identify the responsible party. We will protect your rights and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact us at (561) 800-8000 to speak with one of our West Palm Beach hit-and-run accident lawyers today.