Car accidents are some of the most traumatic incidents that can occur in someone’s life. And when someone leaves the scene, it can add stress to an already difficult situation.
By law, in the United States, you are legally required to stop if you have been involved in a car accident. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), Florida has over 400,000 accidents every year. Worryingly, over 100,000 of these accidents are hit and run car accidents. That’s roughly one in four of all accidents. It is common for drivers to make a foolish decision to leave the scene because they were driving under the influence or driving without insurance.
Hit and run accidents are complex, as you have the task of identifying and locating the runaway driver. This becomes even more challenging if there were no witnesses. If the accident was severe, then a hit and run driver could put lives at risk by leaving the scene and failing to call for medical attention.
At The Law Place, we are here to help. We think you deserve compensation for an accident that was not your fault, and we want to bring reckless drivers to justice. Contact us today on (941)444-4444 for a free consultation.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
When a hit and run happens, you should contact The Law Place for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, They will at the very least, offer some initial advice about what your next steps should be. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with. They are often looking to pay out as little as possible, therefore getting legal advice may protect you from ending up with less than what you deserve.
Immediately After the Hit and Run
If you witness someone leaving the scene of a car accident or you are involved in a hit and run yourself, here is what you should do immediately:
- Call emergency services. With any hit-and-run, you should contact the police, even if the accident was minor. The other driver may have fled the scene because they were intoxicated and may even go on to cause another accident. A first responder may also be required to assist anyone who could be injured. Furthermore, following a hit and run, the police report may be essential for your claim.
- Following a hit and run, it is important that you write down as many details as you can about the other car, the color, the make, the condition, the registration, and anything else you can think of. Any information you can gather could help the police to track down the driver.
- Get the details of as many witnesses as possible; one person could make all the difference.
- As soon as you are able, contact an attorney. Following a hit and run accident in Clearwater, the sooner you speak to an attorney, the better as they will be better able to start gathering evidence.
- You are required to inform your insurance company that you have been in an accident; however, try to stick to the facts and do not give too much information at this stage. Anything you say could be used to devalue your claim.
After the Accident
After the accident, there are certain things you can do to help you make a successful claim.
- Keep note of any expenses, including medical bills, transportation, and any changes you have had to make to your home.
- Keep note of any impact that your injuries are having on your daily life, including any pain.
- You may need to wait to get your car repaired while there is an investigation. However, if the police give you the go-ahead, make sure you have taken plenty of photos and that you keep records of what repairs are done.
- Keep track of any lost wages as a result of the incident.
The No-Fault Insurance Laws in Florida
Florida is a no-fault state; these laws are a part of Florida Statute 627.7407. This means that after an accident in Clearwater, regardless of fault, you should initially seek damages from your own insurance company.
Furthermore, Florida Statute 627.736 states the minimum insurance coverage every driver in Florida is required to carry. The minimum insurance cover you must have is:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
- $10,000 in liability insurance for property damage.
Following a Clearwater car accident, your personal car insurance company is required to pay 80% of your medical expenses up to your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit. Unfortunately, this is insufficient for a lot of accidents and leaves many people out of pocket.
If you have been in a hit and run that has resulted in substantial property damage or severe injury, then your damages are likely to exceed your policy limits. Usually, following a car accident like this, you would approach the other driver or their insurance company for compensation. If the driver left the scene, then this can be difficult. A Clearwater car accident attorney will help you to get the compensation you deserve,
What Will a Clearwater Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
When you contact The Law Place after a Clearwater hit and run, here is what we will do for you:
- On the phone, they will offer some free, unbiased advice as to what you on what to do next.
- If we believe that we could help you to get the compensation you deserve, we will invite you to a free consultation. During this meeting, we will ask some simple questions so that we can get more information about your case and determine what your next steps could be. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have, and we will clearly outline our fee structure. We work on a contingency basis, so we take a percentage of your eventual settlement, this is monitored by the State Bar Associations. This is no-strings-attached, and at this point, you can decide not to continue.
- Once you have signed the dotted line, you can relax while we do all the hard work. From this point on, your attorney will do the investigations and speak to all of the relevant parties, such as the police, witnesses, and insurance companies.
- Once they have completed their investigation, they will determine they think you are entitled too, and they will then seek this from the insurance company. If we are unable to reach a settlement that you are happy with, then we will be prepared to go to court. However, most cases in Clearwater never need to go as far as that.
What If a Hit and Run Driver Is Never Caught?
Unfortunately, there are instances where hit-and-run drivers are never found in Clearwater. If you have uninsured motorist insurance, then you will still be protected.
However, if not, it is possible that you will never be fully compensated for your damages.
That is why you should speak to a Clearwater accident attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the better they will be able to gather evidence and, hopefully, find the culprit. There could be CCTV, which gets deleted or witnesses whose memories fade over time.
Call The Law Place Today!
Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you ring up, we can give you some free no-strings-attached advice that could make the difference between you being compensated, or not.
We have a collective experience of over 75 years dealing with car accident cases in the state of Florida. We review your case as a team so that you can benefit from our combined knowledge and experience. Contact The Law Place today on (941)444-4444.