It may be possible to sue for a hit-and-run. However, you will need to identify the driver. In addition, to file a lawsuit in Florida, you must have suffered damages that exceed your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This generally covers minor and moderate collisions.
If you have questions about your legal options after a collision, speak to a Boca Raton car accident lawyer who can assess your case and handle your claim if necessary. Ged Lawyers provides free initial consultations for crash victims, and we can explain your options now.
When Can I Sue for a Hit-and-Run in Florida?
Florida law limits when you can sue another driver for any crash. When an accident involves a driver who flees the scene, there are additional considerations. A lawsuit may be possible when:
You Suffer Serious Injuries
Florida law requires drivers to carry no-fault PIP insurance policies. These are generally their first option for compensation following a crash. This policy pays for medical care and a portion of lost income up to the policy maximum. Crash victims who suffer serious injuries can pursue additional compensation in a fault-based claim.
You Know the Identity of the Liable Party
For those hurt in a hit-and-run crash, the potential defendant has left the scene. Sometimes, they are identified by a witness, the victim gets a tag number, or the police identify them during their investigation. This is imperative if you want to pursue a fault-based claim.
Unless you identify the at-fault driver, you cannot sue them for the injuries, expenses, and losses you incurred.
You Have Time Left Before the Deadline
The statute of limitations in a Florida injury crash is generally only two years from the date the accident occurred. If you do not file your lawsuit before this deadline, the court will likely stop you from doing so. This makes it difficult or impossible to recover fault-based damages.
Who Is Liable for My Hit-and-Run Injuries?
Whether you were in a car crash or a truck accident caused by a commercial driver, an attorney will know how to collect evidence to show fault and liability. Generally, the driver of a passenger vehicle is liable for a crash they caused.
In a crash involving a commercial vehicle, however, the driver and their employer are likely both liable. In the event of a hit-and-run, it might be possible to identify the driver and sue a trucking company for compensation.
To show a driver caused a crash, you will need to have evidence that shows the four elements of negligence. This includes:
- The driver owed a certain duty of care, usually created by a traffic law.
- They breached this duty of care, often violating that law.
- The breach caused the collision.
- You suffered injuries and damages.
You must prove that the other driver caused the accident to recover compensation for damages beyond your PIP coverage, even if you do not sue the at-fault driver for a hit-and-run. Your insurance company will require this evidence before it pays an uninsured motorist claim, too.
What Recoverable Damages Are Available to Me After a Hit-and-Run Crash?
Working with a personal injury lawyer helps to ensure you seek fair compensation based on the insurance coverage available to you. Alternatively, they can pursue compensation by holding the hit-and-run driver responsible on your behalf.
The recoverable damages in your case will depend on the circumstances. Your PIP policy will cover a portion of your medical care and lost income if you miss work. This will pay up to the policy’s limits, which is generally $10,000.
A fault-based case—whether a lawsuit against an at-fault driver or an uninsured motorist claim—allows victims to recover additional expenses and losses. These damages could include:
- Medical care costs, current and future
- Related expenses, such as ambulance transportation and long-term care
- Income losses if you miss work
- Reduced ability to work and earn a living if there are lasting injuries
- Property damages
- Miscellaneous expenses with receipts
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages, such as disability and disfigurement
A Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Seek Damages After a Loved One’s Passing
Sometimes, victims in hit-and-run crashes do not survive their injuries. When this occurs, a wrongful death lawyer can help survivors pursue compensation under the state’s wrongful death laws. Financial recovery in these cases can include funeral costs, burial fees, and the decedent’s end-of-life care costs.
What Are My Options for Recovering Compensation After a Hit-and-Run?
The two key factors that determine your legal options after a hit-and-run accident include:
- Whether you know the identity of the driver who caused your accident
- The severity of your injuries
An auto collision attorney can assess your options based on Florida law and the circumstances of your crash. Your options could include:
Recovering Compensation Through Your No-Fault Coverage
Those with minor and moderate injuries can recover up to the liable policy’s limits by filing a no-fault claim with their PIP insurance provider. If you do not have serious injuries, this might be your only option for compensation.
Identifying and Suing the At-Fault Driver
If you, the police, or your attorney can identify the at-fault driver who fled the scene, you can sue them for any serious injuries you suffered. Often, these cases settle out of court. Most do not go to trial.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim With Your Insurance Carrier
If you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver (or they did not have auto liability coverage), you can recover compensation for your serious injuries through an uninsured motorist claim. This is a fault-based claim filed with your own insurance carrier. You can recover a range of damages, including pain and suffering, up to the policy’s maximum.
Discuss Your Legal Options After a Hit-and-Run Crash With Our Team for Free
Ged Lawyers provides free consultations for victims hurt in Florida hit-and-run crashes. We can assess your legal options and explain how our auto accident lawyers can help you pursue fair compensation for serious injuries.
Contact us today to learn more.