Melbourne Hit and Run Lawyer
Serving Clients in Brevard County and Beyond
According to the Florida department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV), almost 25% of all motor vehicle accidents in the state every year are hit-and-runs. While most of these crashes result solely in property damage, many cause serious bodily injury and death.
Fleeing the scene of a car accident is not only a crime, but it also leaves victims with few options when it comes to securing justice and the fair compensation they deserve. If you were injured or if someone you love was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Brevard County or the surrounding areas, contact Nance Cacciatore as soon as possible. You do have options for recovering compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and other losses; our Melbourne hit-and-run accident attorneys can help you understand those options and develop a plan aimed at securing maximum compensation on your behalf.
What Is Considered a Hit and Run in Florida?
Florida law prohibits people from leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to provide their name, address, and driver’s license, insurance, and registration information to the other people/parties involved in the accident. If a collision only results in property damage (including damage to a parked car), the person who caused the accident has a duty to stop, check for damage, and do everything possible to contact the property owner and provide their information (e.g., leave a note). If the collision results in bodily injury or death, the driver has an additional responsibility to provide reasonable aid to the others involved (e.g., call 911).
Leaving the scene of an accident without doing these things is known as a hit-and-run, and it can not only put people’s lives at risk, but it is also illegal.
What is the Penalty for a Hit and Run?
Hit-and-run drivers who are located, charged, and convicted face significant criminal penalties. Offenders may face misdemeanor or felony charges, with penalties ranging from 60 days to 5 years in prison, driver’s license revocation for at least 3 years, and fines from $500 to $5,000 for hit-and-run accidents resulting in property damage and bodily injury.
On July 1, 2014, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act went into effect, enhancing penalties for those who cause fatal hit-and-run accidents. Under the act, offenders face a minimum sentence of 4 years in prison up to 30 years, as well as driver’s license revocation for at least 3 years, and a $10,000 fine.
Compensation for Hit and Run Victims
While these penalties are meant to punish offenders and help deter others from committing similar offenses, they do little to compensate the victims of these accidents. Fortunately, Florida motorists who are injured in hit-and-run collisions have several options when it comes to recovering compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, vehicle repair costs, and other damages.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to do the following:
- File a PIP Claim: Florida follows a no-fault system, meaning you are covered by personal injury protection (PIP) through your own insurance provider. PIP covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other specific monetary losses following a car accident. However, PIP coverage is limited, as the minimum required amount is just $10,000. Additionally, PIP does not cover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
- File an Uninsured Motorist Claim: If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you can file a UM claim following a hit-and-run accident. The purpose of this coverage is to protect you in the event you are injured or suffer property damage in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or when you cannot locate the at-fault driver. However, note that UM insurance is not mandatory in Florida. You only have this coverage if you have elected to add it to your policy.
- File a Lawsuit Against the Hit-and-Run Driver: If the police can locate the hit-and-run driver, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them and seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. You will have to prove that you suffered “serious injuries,” as defined by Florida law, and that the hit-and-run driver’s negligent/wrongful conduct was the cause of your injuries and damages. This means you will have to prove that they were at least partly at fault for the accident.
At Nance Cacciatore, our Melbourne hit-and-run accident lawyers can sit down with you to discuss the details of your case, inform you of your legal options, and help you develop a personalized strategy tailored to your unique concerns and goals. We bring more than 150 years of combined experience and a long-standing history of success to each and every case we handled. Our board-certified attorneys are experts in this area of law and can help you fight for the maximum recovery you are owed.
Start Your Defense Today
Being involved in a serious accident is always a frightening, overwhelming experience; when the at-fault driver flees the scene, you are likely to face a significant amount of worry and stress regarding how you will be able to pay for your medical expenses, make up for lost wages, and get back on your feet. At Nance Cacciatore, we believe that you deserve justice, and we are ready to fight for you.
To date, we have secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Our team is known for our aggressive approach to litigation. We prepare every case for trial and are known for zealously representing our clients in court whenever necessary. We are also known for our compassionate client service and dedicated, one-on-one attention throughout the legal process.
At Nance Cacciatore, we strive to not only help our clients navigate extremely challenging times in their lives but also to enact changes that make our community a better, safer place for all. Learn more about how our team can help you with your hit-and-run accident case by requesting a free consultation today.