A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver collides with a person, vehicle, or another object and flees the scene without providing their insurance information or reporting the crash to police. This happens all too often in Sarasota, making it especially difficult for victims to recover damages from the car accident.
If you are a recent hit-and-run victim here in Sarasota County, consider consulting with a Sarasota hit and run accident lawyer from GED Lawyers first. Our Sarasota car accident lawyers know the relevant laws in your situation and can guide you through your compensation options.
Consequences of a Hit and Run
Both Florida Statutes § 316.027 and Florida Statutes § 316.061 prohibit motorists from leaving the crash scene without rendering aid to anyone injured in the accident. Furthermore, they must provide information to other involved parties, including:
- Their name and address
- License and vehicle registration
- Insurance details
Not only will violating these laws result in criminal charges, but they can also serve as additional proof of the at-fault party’s negligence and liability. Since they regularly study relevant accident and injury laws, your Sarasota hit and run accident lawyer can further investigate how the other driver is at fault for your injury. For instance, you could argue your injuries worsened because the motorist did not call for medical aid.
Since the at-fault driver fled the accident scene, it can also be difficult to fully recover from your expenses if you spent significant money on your injuries and property damages. In addition, you would not be able to file claims against them — after all, they did not tell you who their insurance provider is.
How to Recover Damages After Your Sarasota Hit-and-Run Accident
Fortunately, you still have options for recovering damages after the Sarasota hit-and-run crash. Florida’s auto insurance requirements can work to your advantage here. The hit and run accident lawyer can help compile your expenses so you can submit a more accurate summary of your damages to your insurance provider.
Using PIP Insurance for Injuries
Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance is mandatory coverage that pays for injury-related damages like medical bills, lost income, and replacement services. As such, you can file this claim with your auto insurer if you get injured in a hit-and-run accident. This coverage can also help shoulder funeral and burial expenses if you lost a loved one.
While PIP does not let you recover non-economic damages like trauma and loss of consortium, it will cover you even if you are more liable in a collision.
What About Property Damages?
In a normal scenario, you would have been able to file a property damage claim with the at-fault Sarasota driver. This is because Florida also requires its motorists to carry property liability insurance to pay for their victims’ property-related damages.
Since you cannot file a property damage liability claim, you must see if you have other coverages that could help. For example, collision insurance is an optional coverage that can pay for vehicle repairs or replacements regardless of who is at fault for the crash.
What If You Find the Hit and Run Driver?
Finding and identifying the Sarasota hit and run driver does not automatically mean you can take legal action against them—particularly if you want to file for injury-related damages. You must first meet at least one of the conditions in Florida Statutes § 627.737 before you can bring injury cases against another party.
However, remember Florida does not require injury liability coverage, so the hit and run motorist might not carry this. Therefore, instead of filing an injury claim with their auto insurance provider, you might have to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages. With a suit, the court will decide the recovery amount regardless of whether the liable party has enough insurance coverage or not.
The hit and run accident lawyer can help you file your liability claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver. They can also help you negotiate if you do not agree with the insurance offers. If the case goes to court, the attorney can represent you throughout all the proceedings until it reaches a verdict.
Comparative Fault Applies to Third-Party Actions
Florida’s comparative fault laws also apply to auto collision liability claims and lawsuits. Even if the driver is more at fault for crashing and leaving, you might still share some blame for the incident. This can reduce the settlement amount you can recover.
For example, suppose the court finds you are 25 percent liable for speeding when the accident happened. That also means your recoverable damages will get deducted by 25 percent.
Complying with Accident Filing Deadlines
Your hit and run accident lawyer can help you comply with your filing requirements, meaning they can also help you follow your case’s statute of limitations.
Conventional auto accidents typically have two years to file the hit and run case if you suffered injuries or property damages (Florida Statutes § 95.11.) If the collision kills a loved one, the deadline shortens to two years.
However, since the hit and run driver might be nowhere to be found, tolling exceptions will apply, which can pause the statute timer. These exceptions state the clock will not run for as long as the driver remains unidentified or is still in hiding.
Our Lawyers Fight for Your Right to Compensation
While hit and runs can be problematic to deal with, you can still recover damages for your losses. A Sarasota hit and run accident lawyer from GED Lawyers can work with you if you have such a case here in Sarasota. Our team can guide you through each step of the filing process and serve as your legal representative.
Our law firm has over 25 years of experience dealing with various injury settlements throughout Florida, including hit-and-run cases like yours. We are always here to provide our legal knowledge to you, so you can call us anytime for a free consultation. The team will examine the case and inform you of your rights and options.