Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on March 21, 2021
A hit-and-run is one of the most devastating types of car accidents, as the injured victim may not receive the immediate medical care he or she needs to survive. Unfortunately, many drivers in Tampa, Florida commit hit-and-runs each year out of a fear of facing the consequences of their actions. If you get into a hit-and-run accident in Tampa, take the following steps to protect yourself.
Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
If a hit-and-run driver strikes your vehicle, pull over to the side of the road in a safe place, out of traffic. Turn your hazard lights on and use road triangles or flares, if you have them. Check yourself and others involved in the car accident for injuries. If you were struck as a pedestrian, try not to move unless you are in danger of imminent harm. Moving too suddenly or in the incorrect way could make a serious injury worse, such as exacerbating a spinal cord injury and causing paralysis.
Call the Police to Report the Hit-and-Run
Call 911 immediately after any hit-and-run accident, major or minor. Request paramedics if anyone is injured. Fleeing the scene of a car accident is against the law in Florida. The police will want to know about the crime and investigate to try to find the culprit. The police can help you gather important evidence from the scene of the crash, such as eyewitness statements.
If the police do find who hit you, this can help with your insurance claim. The police can also hold the driver accountable with an arrest. A hit-and-run conviction can lead to criminal penalties such as a fine of $500 to $10,000 and/or 60 days to 30 years in jail, as well as driver’s license revocation.
Write Down What You Remember
While the memory of the hit-and-run accident is still clear, write down as much as you can remember. Include everything you can recall about the crash, such as the color, size, make or model of the other driver’s vehicle, as well as a description of the driver. If you saw even part of the driver’s license plate numbers, write them down.
Gather Evidence and Information
If you can, collect evidence from the scene of the crash before you leave. The police can help you with this task. Talk to anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run. Get their names and phone numbers and ask if they are willing to give statements. Look for pieces of the other driver’s vehicle at the scene. Try not to touch anything; instead, tell the police if you find anything. Take photographs of the scene of the crash, if possible, before you leave.
Go to a Hospital in Tampa
Go to Tampa General Hospital or the closest emergency room to you immediately after a hit-and-run accident if you have any injuries. Even if you do not feel injured, see a doctor to make sure. Your adrenaline may be hiding the symptoms of an injury. Explain what happened to the physician and request copies of your medical records.
Contact Your Car Insurance Provider
Call your own auto insurance provider to report the hit-and-run. In Florida, whether or not you are at fault for a crash, your insurance company will pay for your losses through your personal injury protection coverage. Under Florida’s no-fault law, you do not need to know the identity of a hit-and-run driver to obtain insurance benefits from your own carrier. If you have collision, comprehensive or uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, your company will pay for property damage repairs, as well.
Consult With a Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney
A hit-and-run accident can cause serious to catastrophic injuries that surpass the limits on your insurance policy. In this scenario, the at-fault driver should pay for your remaining expenses. If the police do not find the culprit, however, you may be forced to pay out of pocket.
Contact a car accident attorney in Tampa for assistance with an insurance claim or injury lawsuit after a hit-and-run. An attorney may be able to find a third party that shares liability for the crash, such as the City of Tampa for a dangerously designed roadway. Your lawyer can also help you with a first-party insurance claim in Florida.