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Florida Among the Worst States for Fatal Hit-and-Runs Over the Last Decade

The evidence left after a hit-and-run auto accident.

An Orlando car accident attorney provides the critical details

Car accidents involving hit-and-run drivers claim far too many lives in Florida, as the state ranked third in the nation in fatalities from 2010 to 2019. Here are the numbers and how to handle such crashes.

Hit-and-runs take a deadly toll in Florida

Tragically, Florida is among the nation’s leaders in fatal hit-and-run accidents. From 2010 to 2019 (the latest available data), the state accounted for 10% (or 1,792) of the nation’s hit-and-run fatalities, trailing only California (17%, or 3,056 deaths) and Texas, (12%, or 2,054). The research was compiled by ValuePenguin, a personal finance website.

The state’s fatal hit-and-run rate per 10 billion driver miles was 8.4, third in the nation behind California and Arizona, which tied at 8.8. The national average was just 5.5.

Among age groups nationwide, the most frequent deaths were:

  • Ages 25 to 34, 22%.
  • Ages 45 to 54, 18%.
  • Ages 35 to 44, 16%.
  • Ages 21 to 24, 11%.

The numbers are part of a national trend that saw yearly fatal hit-and-runs rise from 1,342 in 2010 to 1,939 in 2019. Deaths skyrocketed 44% from 1,393 in 2005. Overall, hit-and-run fatalities totaled 17,531.

What to do after a hit-and-run

ValuePenguin also offers advice to Florida motorists on what to do following a hit-and-run accident.

Tips include:

  • Check everyone for injuries and call for medical assistance.
  • Move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible.
  • Call the police and cooperate fully by sticking to the facts of what you know. Later, secure a copy of the official accident report, which could prove crucial in your case.
  • Try to see the hit-and-run vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number. Also, make notes about the appearance of the other driver, if possible.
  • Note any distinguishing characteristics of the suspect vehicle, including bumper stickers or damage.
  • Collect the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
  • Check with local businesses that may have security cameras that recorded the accident. If the hit-and-run occurred near a signaled intersection, traffic cameras may have also captured the crash on video.
  • Take pictures and video of the crash scene.
  • Check the scene for pieces of the other vehicle and other debris, such as a mirror or bumper. This can help law enforcement identify the hit-and-run driver.
  • Never attempt to chase down a hit-and-run driver. A pursuit carries its own dangers that are not worth your efforts. The other driver could be dangerous, armed, and fleeing the scene of a crime.

Legal help is available

If you were injured or a loved one died in a Florida hit-and-run, you can still potentially recover compensation for your losses even if the police can't locate the at-fault driver. Depending on the specific details of your case, you may have multiple options.

For instance, drivers in Florida are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on their auto insurance policies. As such, your insurance policy may cover your medical expenses up to policy limits (minimum PIP coverage in Florida is $10,000). Other accident-related expenses may be covered if you chose to purchase the optional uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) on your policy. And of course, if the hit-and-run driver is located by law enforcement, you have the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.

The key thing to remember after you've been injured in a hit-and-run is that you need to have a clear understanding of your legal rights and options. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to thoroughly review your auto insurance policy to see what sources of compensation are available to you. An attorney can also build a strong case on your behalf that's based on fact and designed to maximize the value of your claim.

At The Cerasa Law Firm LLC, we're proud to protect the rights of crash victims in the Winter Park and Orlando area. Attorney Michael Cerasa is a highly skilled personal injury lawyer who has the knowledge, experience, and resources to fight for every dollar you deserve.

Our law firm offers free consultations and we take cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there's no money required upfront and you pay no legal fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf (e.g., settlement or court verdict).

Find out how we can help you. Contact us today.

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