No one wants to get in a car accident, but it can be even more stressful if you’ve been involved in an accident where the other driver left before exchanging information or waiting for law enforcement. Hit and run automobile accidents are frustrating, and while they happen in Florida, they aren’t as common as other types of automobile incidents. The most difficult part of dealing with a hit-and-run incident in Florida is knowing how to proceed after the accident. Fortunately, if you can find the offending party, they can be held accountable under Florida hit and run laws. If you’ve seen an uptick in hit and run incidents in your area, you can check your insurance coverage to ensure you have coverage to address the issue. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to prevent hit and run accidents, so your best option is to ensure you are equipped to protect yourself and manage your affairs if you’re involved in one.
Hit-and-Run Laws in Florida
According to Florida law, if a driver is involved in an auto accident, they must remain at the scene long enough to meet two legal requirements.
According to Florida Hit and Run Laws, found in section 316.06, drivers have a “duty to give information and render aid.” —
The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall give his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and shall upon request and if available exhibit his or her license or permit to drive, to any person injured in such crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash and shall give such information and, upon request, exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash and shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
First Requirement: Drivers involved in an accident must exchange personal information, like automobile insurance, license and registration, and name and contact information.
Second Requirement: Drivers must remain at the scene long enough to provide aid if the other party is injured.
Consequences of Violating Florida Hit-and-Run Laws
In 2014, Florida's hit and run laws were made even stricter after a hit and run driver killed a cyclist. The father of two was the inspiration for the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, found in section 316.027 of Florida law.
- If a driver leaves the scene of an accident where there was property damage, they could face second-degree misdemeanor charges, up to 60 days in prison, and a $50 fine.
- If a driver leaves the scene of an accident where someone was injured, they could face second or third-degree felony charges, up to 5 years in prison, and a $5,000 fine.
- If a driver leaves the scene of an accident where someone was killed, they could face a first-degree felony charge, a revoked driver’s license, and a minimum of 4 years in prison or as many as 30 years.
What Should You Do if You’re Involved in a Crash?
Now that you know the law, you need to know how to protect yourself and take charge at the scene if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident. If you are able, the first thing you should do is call authorities and wait at the location. It’s important to remain at the scene in case the other driver is injured and incapable of contacting lifesaving assistance.
Law enforcement professionals advise drivers involved in a hit and run or any automobile incident should:
- Remain Calm as Possible
- Exchange Information With the Other Driver When Possible
- Attempt to Provide Aid Where Needed
- Take Photos of the Scene and Share Details With Authorities
All automobile accidents are scary and frustrating, but prematurely leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident can have life-altering consequences for everyone involved.
Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident in Florida, you may need the assistance of the Fort Myers car accident attorneys at Pittman Law Firm, P.L. Our lawyers can work with you to review the details of your case and determine if you have legal options available to you. Call us today at (239) 603-6913 to schedule a consultation and case review.