Kissimmee Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a car accident is bad enough. The medical bills, lost time at work, and, lengthy recovery are all things that no one should have to go through. But when the at-fault driver flees the scene, the situation can become much more serious. On top of any criminal prosecution that may await the person who flees, the injured party may have difficulty properly identifying the at-fault driver.
All of these issues combine to make hit-and-run car accident cases more complex than the traditional car accident claim. Kissimmee hit-and-run accident lawyers work with people who have been injured in car accidents where the at-fault driver leaves the scene. An experienced car accident lawyer can fight for the fair compensation that victims deserve for their injuries.
Florida Hit-and-Run Laws
Florida has strict laws concerning a person’s responsibilities following a car accident. Florida Statute 316.062 states that in any crash involving the injury or death of a person, or any damage to property, all drivers must give their name, address, and car’s registration number. All people must provide any reasonable aid for injuries. Any violation of this statute is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction. Anyone who has been involved in an accident where the other driver fled the scene should contact a Kissimmee hit-and-run accident lawyer as soon as possible.
While the above section lightly punishes people who remain at the scene but do not provide the required information, the situation becomes far more serious when a person leaves the scene entirely. Florida Statute 316.027 says that any person who leaves the scene of an accident that results in injury or death is guilty of a third-degree felony. These laws are crystal clear: any person involved in an accident involving property damage, injuries, or death, must remain at the scene, provide contact information and render aid if able.
Car Accident Negligence Cases
Most car accident cases involving personal injury are pursued under the legal theory of negligence. Negligence has five parts, or elements, that a plaintiff and a Kissimmee hit-and-run accident lawyer must be able to prove. These are:
- Duty – The law sometimes places responsibility on a person to care for another. This is known as the duty of care. All drivers have this responsibility to care for all other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
- Breach – When the duty of care is broken, a breach is said to have occurred. This can be by ignoring a rule of the road, such as a stop sign, or even a criminal statute, such as leaving the scene of an accident.
- Cause – The plaintiff’s injuries need to have been caused by the breach of the duty of care.
- Scope – The injuries need to have been foreseeable from the facts of the case.
- Damages – The plaintiff needs to base their case upon actual physical harm.
In cases where a person flees the scene of the accident, they are in violation of the criminal code. They have automatically breached their duty to care for the injured plaintiff. This is the core of the legal doctrine known as negligence per se. This means that the defendant’s actions are illegal on their face and are automatically perceived as negligent. In these cases, a plaintiff’s claim need not prove that the duty to care was breached, the law will assume it.
Contact an Attorney
Leaving the scene of an accident, especially one where are someone is injured, is one of the most egregious acts that a person can do. Even if they are not at fault for the original accident, they can be prosecuted for a crime and, if convicted, be held civilly responsible for the accident.
A criminal conviction for leaving the scene of an accident is very important to these cases. If a criminal court convicts the defendant of a crime in a car accident case, the defendant can no longer argue that they were not at fault.
While the District Attorney’s office maintains the responsibility to initiate any criminal proceedings, an injured person is the only one who can start a civil claim for monetary damages. Kissimmee hit-and-run accident lawyers are here to provide representation in these cases. There is limited time to file a case so time is of the essence.