It's never a good day when you find yourself the victim of a car accident, but that day can take a turn for the worse when a driver flees the scene of the accident. In a recent news release issued by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), every year a driver has left the scene of an accident in a quarter of all crashes since 2014. “Across the state of Florida, Hit & Run crashes are rising at an alarming rate,” says Chief Kevin Lystad, FCPA President. In response to these harrowing statistics, the DHSMV and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) in partnership with Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, are recognizing February as Hit and Run Awareness Month.
What is a Hit and Run in Florida?
A hit and run, also known as leaving the scene, is when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without leaving any contact information. All drivers have the responsibility to remain at the scene, regardless of where the incident has occurred. When a driver leaves the scene without providing any contact information, it can be a frustrating scenario that leaves you angry, confused and unsure of what to do next.
Hit and Run with Property Damage
According to Florida Statute 316.061, the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting only in damage to another vehicle or other property, the driver has a responsibility to remain at the scene. In an instance where a driver has hit a parked car in a parking lot or parking garage and cannot locate its owner, the driver has a duty to leave a note stating their full name, address, driver's license number and license plate number. Failure to do so is a second-degree misdemeanor offense, punishable by a $500 fine and up to 60 days in prison.
Hit and Run with Injuries or Fatalities
Per Florida Statute 316.062, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death has a duty to give their information and render aid to those who are in need. Drivers are required to give their name, address, and vehicle registration number. If requested, a driver may also have to present their driver's license or driver's permit.
When a Florida hit and run causes bodily injury, the penalties for this type of felony crime include license revocation for at least three years, up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the collision results in a fatality, in addition to license revocation for at least three years, this first-degree felony offense adds a mandatory minimum of four years in prison with up to 30 years sentenced and a $10,000 fine.
What to Do After a Hit and Run
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident, you may be tempted to chase after them, but don't. Not only will you be putting yourself at risk in a high-speed chase, but you endanger other drivers, passengers and pedestrians in your haste.
Instead, contact law enforcement and emergency services, and download the SKG Accident App to
- Gather the names and contact information from any witnesses at the scene
- Record information about the vehicle that hit you, including the model, make and license plate number
- Document the date, time and location of the incident
Get the Right Legal Assistance After a Hit and Run
After a hit and run accident, we know there's nothing you want more than for justice to be had. At SKG, we want that for you, too, and are committed to providing you with the most effective legal counsel and representation in your time of need. Should you or a loved one find yourself injured or with property damage as a result of a hit and run, contact our attorneys for a free, no-risk consultation at (800) 350-FIRM.