Most people don’t think too much about the risks they are taking every time they get into their car. The fact is, though, that accidents happen, and an already bad situation can become much worse if the person who caused it decides to flee the scene. Suddenly, a hit-and-run driver has left you alone to deal with your injuries and your damaged vehicle.
Under Florida law, anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident has a duty to stay at the scene of the accident, render aid to accident victims if safe and possible, and exchange personal contact and insurance information with the other driver, people involved in the accident, and first responders.
If You’re a Victim of a Hit-and-Run Driver, Take Action Now
Unfortunately, in hit-and-run accidents, the at-fault driver tries to avoid responsibility by leaving the scene. This is when you need a compassionate hit-and-run lawyer to protect your legal rights.
The experienced Orlando car accident lawyers at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney, are dedicated to helping hit-and-run victims obtain the financial compensation they need and to ensuring the driver who caused the crash is held responsible for their actions. As a victim of an Orlando hit-and-run car accident, here are the most important steps you should take:
- File a police report. Call emergency personnel without delay. Once they’ve arrived, the police will collect evidence from the scene that can help prove your case.
- Get medical attention. Even if you believe you have not sustained any injuries in the accident, it’s important to see a doctor soon afterward. Oftentimes, adrenaline will cover up the pain you might otherwise feel right away, and you may not realize the extent of your injuries and the damage that has been done.
- Contact your insurance company. You will need to let your insurance company know what has happened. In Florida, you would start by filing an insurance claim with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) carrier. If your injuries meet certain requirements, you may be able to file an insurance claim against the hit-and-run driver’s insurer if you can find and identify them. A hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you understand how different insurance companies are responsible for paying the financial obligations that arise from your accident.
- Talk to witnesses at the scene. It’s possible that someone might have caught the license plate number of the vehicle that fled or may be able to provide other information about the vehicle or the driver. This can be extremely beneficial to your case and can help the police and/or your insurance company find the person responsible for causing the accident. A tenacious personal injury lawyer can also perform this part of the accident investigation on your behalf.
- Contact a Florida auto accident attorney. With an attorney by your side, you can work with your insurance company to get the best possible settlement. Or, if the driver who hit you is found, your attorney can negotiate with that person’s insurance company to help make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
How a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Can Help You Seek Compensation for Medical Bills, Lost Wages, and Other Financial Losses
As a hit-and-run accident victim, you may have several legal options to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible for your hit-and-run injuries. PIP coverage only applies to medical bills and lost wages. You cannot request payment for pain and suffering under your PIP policy. Also, depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of your out-of-pocket expenses, your PIP benefits may not be enough to cover your losses.
If you know the identity of the at-fault driver, you may be entitled to bring an insurance claim against that driver’s insurance company. Or you might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to request compensation for all of your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages and income, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. A seasoned car accident lawyer at Michael T. Gibson, P.A. can explain the law and how it applies to your unique circumstances.
What If We Can’t Find the Hit and Run Driver?
Last year, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported more than 580 cases of leaving the scene of an accident in Orange County. This number only reflects the drivers who were caught after the fact. Undoubtedly, some drivers who caused an accident and then fled the scene were never identified.
If a hit-and-run driver can’t be located, they cannot be held responsible. In that case, the victim’s only recourse is to file a claim against their own PIP insurer. However, if the victim also carries uninsured motorist coverage, they may have another resource to help pay for their losses.
It’s crucial to find the responsible driver to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and damages. When you work with a lawyer who understands hit-and-run accidents, they can investigate your accident to find evidence that might lead to the responsible driver. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better chance you have of finding the person who injured you.
Knowledge Equals Power in Orlando Auto Accident Cases
If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney can help you with your case. Here at Auto Justice Attorney, our goal is to make sure you get a fair and reasonable settlement. Call (407) 490-1271 or reach out online for a free case consultation today.
Michael T. Gibson P.A.
2420 S. Lakemont Avenue
Orlando, FL 32814