When a traffic collision happens, a driver may choose to flee the scene of the accident for a number of reasons. There may be an outstanding arrest warrant, a lack of insurance, a suspended license, or impairment by drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t matter; in Florida, leaving the scene of an accident where there’s a death, injury, or property damage is a crime. Depending upon the amount of damage and the severity of injuries, leaving the scene of an accident may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony.
Sometimes, a driver can cause an accident and flee the scene without actually making contact with another vehicle. When an unidentified vehicle is part of the scenario leading to an accident but is not actually involved in the accident, and that vehicle or its driver cannot be located, it’s called a “phantom” vehicle. Such vehicles can make it difficult for personal injury victims to obtain the compensation they need for medical treatment and related expenses.
If the driver of an unidentified vehicle is responsible for an accident that injures you, your uninsured motorist coverage may be a source of compensation. Uninsured motorist benefits may be paid even in accidents where there is no direct contact between the vehicles. The most difficult cases are the accidents where it can be challenging to prove that the unidentified vehicle was at fault – or exists at all. Without some kind of corroborating evidence – video, perhaps, or additional witnesses – you and your attorney will carefully have to consider how to present your case.
If you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver in south Florida, you may feel like the unluckiest person in the world, but an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney may be able to help. The advice here can help you protect yourself and your rights in the event a driver injures you and flees the scene, but you’ll need to have a good car accident lawyer examine the details in any particular case:
- Do not pursue the fleeing driver. You could make a bad situation much worse. Just don’t.
- Get the best possible description of the driver and the vehicle.
- Call the police immediately. Some hit-and-run drivers still get away, but with most drivers now carrying cell phones, fewer get away now than in the past.
- Get medical attention for yourself and anyone else injured in the crash. Sometimes injuries are more serious than they seem initially; let a medical professional examine you right away.
- You’ll have to inform your insurance company. When a suspect isn’t identified, insurers handle hit-and-run accidents just like uninsured motorist accidents. Be sure that you understand the provisions of your automobile insurance policy.
- Consult with an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney. Your attorney can make sure that your insurance company is fulfilling its obligations.
Your lawyer can also determine if you have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim – many hit-and-run victims do. If you are injured in any south Florida traffic accident – whether the other driver flees or remains – protect your rights and speak at once to an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney.