Florida is experiencing an increase in hit and run accidents and the severity of hit and run car accidents has become greater according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Hit and run accidents rose 7 percent from 2013 to 2014, hit and run accidents involving fatalities increased 23 percent from 2013 to 2014, and approximately 25 percent of all accidents in Florida are now hit and run accidents.
A hit and run that involves a fatality is a first-degree felony, a second-degree felony if it involves an injury, and a second-degree misdemeanor if it only involves property damage under Florida Statute §316.027 (2014). Further, punitive damages, aside from the compensatory damages, can be awarded to victims of a hit and run accident. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, options are available to you.
Let us begin by examining how auto insurance will cover damage to your property and any medical bills that may be incurred as a result of the hit and run accident.
What if I Can’t Identify the Hit and Run Driver?
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run, more than likely you will not be able to identify the other driver thus your insurance will cover your property damage. However, it should be noted that the basic requirements in Florida for auto insurance do not provide for property damage recovery. Additional coverage in the form of Collision Coverage is needed in order to have coverage for your property damage.
What if I Can Identify the Driver?
If you are lucky enough to have information on the driver, such as a license plate number, then the at fault party’s insurance will cover the property damage. If the at fault party has no insurance, then your Uninsured Motorist coverage, if it is a part of your policy, will cover the damage. If the at fault party is underinsured, the insurance policy is not large enough to pay for the damage to your vehicle, then the Underinsured Motorist portion of your policy will cover the remaining property damage. Neither Uninsured Motorist nor Underinsured Motorist coverage is a requirement in Florida.
Your auto insurance policy will cover any medical payments under the No-Fault Property Damage Liability portion of your policy, a minimum of $10,000 is required in Florida, regardless of the who the at fault party is.
If you have been involved in a hit and run, it can be a scary and overwhelming process. Recovery is often slow and your insurance may be left to foot the bill. An experienced attorney can help ease the recovery process and explain the options available to you after your hit and run car accident.