According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “nearly 25 percent” of all auto accidents in the state involve a hit-and-run. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it is clearly the wrong thing to do (and the fact that Florida law makes it a crime to leave the scene of an accident), many drivers still flee the scene after causing harm to others.
If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident in Miami, what are your legal rights? Just as important, what can you do to actually enforce those rights if the driver fled the scene?
3 Key Facts for Hit-and-Run Accident Victims in Miami, FL
1. Your Rights are the Same Regardless of Whether the Driver Remained at the Scene of the Accident
First, as the victim of a hit-and-run driver, your rights are the same as they are in any other type of vehicle collision. This means that: (i) you are entitled to file a no-fault claim under your personal injury protection policy (PIP); and, (ii) if you suffered a “significant and permanent” injury, you are entitled to just compensation for all of your accident-related losses.
2. It May Be Possible to Identify the Hit-and-Run Driver
Second, the fact that the at-fault driver fled the scene does not mean that he or she is off of the hook. While it will not always be possible to identify a hit-and-run driver, depending on the circumstances involved, there may be enough evidence to track down the person who hit you. If you can locate the driver (and if your losses exceed your PIP coverage), you can – and absolutely should – do everything possible to hold the driver accountable. Types of evidence that can be used to identify a hit-and-run driver include:
- Vehicle and license plate information – Did you see the vehicle that hit you? If you can remember any details about the vehicle that hit you, you should share them with your attorney.
- Eyewitness testimony – Did anyone stop to render assistance? If so, he or she may be able to help identify the vehicle that hit you.
- Traffic or security camera footage – Was the accident caught on video? Footage of the accident may contain the details necessary to track down the hit-and-run driver.
- Florida Highway Patrol – Have you reported the accident to the police? Florida Highway Patrol maintains a database of active hit-and-run investigations, and citizens can report sightings of vehicles with matching descriptions.
3. You May Be able to File an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claim
Finally, if it is not possible to identify the driver who hit you, you may be able to file a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance policy. In the case of a hit-and-run accident, UIM insurance can serve as a substitute for the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage. UIM insurance is optional in Florida and you will need evidence of fault in order to secure compensation; but, if you have this coverage available, it may be the best option for recovering your accident-related losses.
Contact Our Miami Auto Accident Lawyers to Learn More
Were you injured in a hit-and-run accident in Miami? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. To learn more about the options you have available, call (305) 265-2266 or tell us about your accident online now.