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07 Jul

Central Florida Hit And Run Car Accident Lawyer Near You

cloud car accident lawyer 1080px hit and runWhen a driver is negligently operating a motor vehicle they can cause a lot of damage, and even wrongful death to other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and even pedestrians. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for negligent drivers to make even more bad decisions after an accident, and that includes fleeing the scene after hitting another vehicle. This only adds insult to injury as the victims are left with no one to hold responsible, on top of medical debt, loss of wages, and emotional suffering. 

After a hit and run car accident in Central Florida, victims are left without justice when they can’t identify the driver that caused their accident. Our hit and run accident attorneys at Cloud Law Firm not only represent hit and run victims, but also stand by them throughout all aspects of the case, including medical treatments, evidence collection, and much more. Our clients deserve to have the ability to recuperate fully and properly without having to deal with the stress and anxiety that emanate from hit and run cases in Central Florida. We can help our clients recover physically, emotionally, and financially even if the negligent driver is never found. 

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What Evidence To Collect

After a hit and run in Florida, the police should be called immediately to document the scene and collect evidence. It is important to collect as much evidence as possible and have the police do so as well to ensure there is proof that the accident was not the victim’s fault. This is done so that the insurance companies cannot assign any blame to the victim and reduce the amount of their compensation for damages. Our experienced hit and run car accident attorneys know exactly how to use collected evidence to prove there is no fault on our client’s behalf. 

Here are the types of evidence that should be collected after a hit and run accident in Florida:

  • Photographs
    • Overall Scene
    • Vehicle Damage
    • Tire Marks
    • Damaged Property
    • Street Signs
    • Weather Conditions
    • Injuries
  • Witness Statements and Contact Information
  • Victim Statements
  • Area Surveillance Footage
  • Physical Evidence Left at Scene

Will Insurance Cover A Hit And Run?

When driving in Central Florida, there is always a chance that someone will be driving negligently enough to cause an accident, and they end up leaving the scene of an accident. Victims may wonder whether the medical bills will be too much to bear while they recover. The accident may have impeded the victim’s ability to work, which in turn can cause them to miss rent or mortgage payments, and impact their ability to afford medical procedures. In cases where circumstances change and become more complex, our experienced car accident attorney can help any victim understand their options. Various factors will determine the best strategy for each individual case, such as whether the hit and run driver is caught or remains unknown. 

If the hit and run driver is never identified, the victim may have to turn to their own uninsured/underinsured coverage. They can expect to recover the cost of any damages from this type of coverage, as it is generally included in most car accident policies. When dealing with the victim’s own car insurance they can believe that the insurance company is on their side. This is not true, because insurance companies will do whatever they can to not pay the victim their fair share. Unfortunately, a victim may find that their insurance company is not interested in offering them what they truly need during their healing process. Our hit and run accident lawyers will protect our client’s rights to fair compensation. 

If the at-fault driver is identified and arrested, the victim can move forward by filing a civil lawsuit against them. This means they will file a claim for damages that will demand reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This will include compensation for medical expenses that have amounted while the at-fault driver was evading police. There will also most likely be criminal charges against the at-fault driver as well, especially if there are serious injuries, extensive property damage, or wrongful death. The victim’s claim can proceed even if the criminal case has not yet been decided. 

If you’re hurt or your vehicle is damaged in a hit-and-run, a personal injury lawyer will fight to ensure victims are fairly compensated for costs or expenses incurred as a result of the accident, including:

  • Past and future lost wages
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future rehabilitation costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Cost to replace or repair the damaged property
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of career
  • Wrongful death
  • Anything else that pertains to the individual person’s case

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What Is Considered A Hit And Run?

In the eyes of the law, a hit and run accident is defined as, “The failure of a driver to remain at the site of a vehicle crash and fulfill other statutory duties, when the crash at issue involves death, bodily injury, or property damage.” Hit and run Florida statute is precise and covers almost all types of car accidents. Leaving the scene of an accident in Florida is a serious offense, and the penalties are harsh. It is every driver’s responsibility to own up to their mistakes and negligence when they are the cause of an accident, especially when an innocent person is injured or even wrongfully killed. This is something every US citizen agrees to when they receive their driver’s license. 

What To Do In A Hit And Run Accident

The moments during and after a hit-and-run accident are the most important because once the negligent driver has fled the scene, almost all the evidence leaves with them. Therefore it is important to recognize what exactly a hit and run accident is, and what to do in the event it happens. According to the NHSTA, in 2015 there were approximately 766,000 hit and run accidents in the United States, which equates to one hit and run accident every 43 seconds. The more knowledge a driver has about hit and run accidents and what to do following them, the better chance they will have at receiving full compensation for any damages. 

Gathering information on the vehicle or driver in a hit and run accident can be incredibly valuable in a hit and run case. If you are able to do so safely, try to get as much information as possible, including:

  • Fleeing vehicles license plate number
  • Fleeing vehicle’s make, model, and color
  • Where damage is on the fleeing vehicle
  • The direction the vehicle fled in
  • Photos of damage to the victim’s vehicle
  • Date, time, location, and cause of the accident
  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Copy of police report (this will be available about 2 weeks after the accident)
  • Video surveillance footage from nearby businesses or dashcams
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Should I Seek Medical Attention?

The answer is always yes. Even if the individual believes that they are not injured, they could have internal injuries that haven’t presented themselves yet. A lot of the time, the force of a car-on-car impact can jolt the internal organs around enough to damage them. Sometimes the symptoms of internal injuries are masked by adrenaline, or take time to appear, therefore being examined is very important. If not the victim could wind up with very serious medical complications, or even succumb to their injuries. 

The other reason why it is important to seek medical attention after a hit and run is to establish that there are injuries. Any injury from the accident will be documented in a medical record that can be provided in court or to insurance companies when requesting compensation for damages. The individual will also want to record any symptoms or pain they are feeling so that there is a paper trail of emotional and physical pain caused by the accident. Injuries that can be sustained in a hit and run car accident can include, but are not limited to:

  • Whiplash
  • Nerve damage
  • Concussion
  • Internal bleeding
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Many more

Parked Car Hit And Run

Obviously, when a car is parked at a grocery store or at work, the owner is not there to witness when their vehicle was hit. Therefore the process to follow after parking lot hit and runs is a little different. The police should be called to document the incident, and they should collect as much evidence as possible. The difference is they cannot identify the driver or the make and model of their vehicle unless there is an eyewitness or video footage. This means the owner of the hit vehicle should ask the store or surrounding businesses for any footage they have that could identify the driver. 

Hit And Run Investigation Process In Florida

In Florida, the hit and run investigation process is not very thorough for a misdemeanor or minor damage to property. Most of the time they will take photos, and write a report, but finding the perpetrator is almost impossible. However, if the accident results in serious injury, death, or extensive property damage they will conduct a full investigation and try their hardest to find the at-fault driver. 

After the police arrive on the scene, they will immediately give first aid or call for emergency medical personnel in order to help the victims of the hit and run accident if they are seriously injured. Once medical personnel arrives, or if there are no injuries, they will process the scene by:

– Conducting interviews with eyewitnesses, victims, and passengers to obtain a description of the at-fault driver and their vehicle. 

– Conducting a full search of the scene of the accident and surrounding areas to try and locate the negligent driver. 

– View video surveillance footage from traffic cameras and local businesses. 

cloud car accident lawyer 1080px hit and run accident floridaIf the at-fault driver is identified they will be arrested if the victims sustained serious injuries or were wrongfully killed. If the accident caused minor property damage, they will receive a summons in the mail. 

Penalties For A Hit And Run In Florida

The penalties for a hit and run car accident in Florida, depending on the severity of the accident. For example, the penalties for only property damage will be less than if someone was seriously injured or wrongfully killed. Florida Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) states the penalties for hit and run car accidents are as follows:

– Only Property Damage – If the hit and run accident only results in property damage, the penalty is the least severe. It is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalty for this type of hit and run accident is 60 days in prison and at least a $500 fine. Don’t let this fool you, 60 days in prison is no walk in the park, and a hit and run conviction on anyone’s record is damaging no matter the severity of it. 

– Injuries – When the victim of the hit and run accident sustains injuries, the penalties are far more severe. Leaving the scene of an accident in Florida after the victim has sustained injuries is a second or third-degree felony depending upon the severity of the injuries. This means that the negligent driver could face up to 3 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and a revoked license for 3 years. 

– Fatalities – When fatalities occur in a hit and run accident, the penalties are the most severe. It is considered a first-degree felony, which the most damaging and serious felony an individual can be convicted of in Florida. This conviction means the negligent driver will have to spend a minimum of 4 years in prison but could spend a maximum of 30 years in prison. They will also have to pay a fine of at least $10,000. Their license will also be revoked for at least three years. 

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How A Hit And Run Conviction Alters Your Life

A hit and run conviction not only has legal consequences, but it also has life-altering consequences. This is because a hit and run conviction is serious and shows up on background checks, job applications, etc. When an individual is convicted of a felony hit and run offense, they will lose even more such as their right to own a firearm or deadly weapon, and further their educational opportunities. 

The potential consequences of being convicted of leaving the scene of an accident or a hit and run in Florida can be incredibly serious. From legal consequences such as fines and community service to social and interpersonal ramifications such as loss of employment or child custody, a hit and run conviction can have life-altering significance. Some of the potentially lifelong impacts that may be overlooked while focusing on legal concerns include:

– Employment Opportunities – When an individual is convicted of a hit and run they may lose their job, or may not have the same employment opportunities as previously. This is because most job applications require individuals to list any criminal convictions they have. This can result in the application being tossed out, or not considered. It can also exclude the individual from applying for certain jobs they may want. For example, any job related to operating or driving vehicles will not accept any application that has a hit and run conviction on it. 

– Housing – Landlords often do background checks on prospective tenants. Therefore anyone who has a hit and run conviction on their record will have a hard time finding a place to live due to most hit and run convictions being felonies. Landlords do not look kindly on felony convictions, as they have a duty to protect their other tenants. 

– Immigration Status – The immigration status of an individual can be significantly affected by a hit and run conviction. Deportation, denial of citizenship, and denial of the right to enter or remain in the United States are possible penalties.

– Child Custody Agreements – When discussing child custody, the judge is required to consider the best interests of the child. The character and ability to provide and be a good parent are serious factors that are called into question in custody battles when the individual has a hit and run conviction.

– Voting – Any individual who has been convicted of a felony will lose their right to vote. 

– Traveling – Some may not be able to ever experience their dream vacation if they are convicted of a criminal offense in Florida. Countries like Canada refuse entry to individuals who have been convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanor offenses. 

– Reputation and Social Life – The reputation and social implications of a felony conviction can be severe. Friends and professional colleagues may not want to be associated with a convicted felon.

Average Settlement For Hit And Run Car Accidents

cloud car accident lawyer hit and run accident floridaThere is no average amount for a hit-and-run car accident in Florida. This is because each case is unique and has varying factors that can affect the amount of compensation they receive. For example, victims who receive minor injuries will not receive as much pain and suffering compensation as those who sustained severe injuries or even wrongful death. 

The best way to fully understand and calculate a settlement amount for a hit and run car accident is to obtain legal representation from an experienced hit and run lawyer, like the ones we offer at Cloud Law Firm. We know exactly how to maximize settlements so that our clients are not left feeling as if they got the short end of the stick. Damages that can be claimed in a serious hit and run car accident settlement can include but are not limited to:

  • Economic Damages
    • Medical Expenses
    • Lost Wages
    • Property Damage
  • Non-Economic Damages
    • Pain and Suffering

We know that insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to lower compensation amounts for a victim even if it is the victim’s policy that is covering the damages. Our clients use their hard-earned money to pay their insurance policies on time and responsibly, therefore the insurance companies need to be held to their responsibilities as well when the victim is in a time of need. We will make sure that they are. 

How Cloud Law Firm Can Help

The Cloud Law Firm can help you or someone you love get the justice they deserve after a Florida car accident. You can speak with one of our experienced Florida car accident attorneys near you for free in an initial case consultation. With millions of dollars in compensation recovered every year for our clients, and over 30 years of experience, our knowledgeable and diligent hit and run car accident attorneys are well versed in all the hit and run laws. We serve the residents of the central and northwest regions of Florida, so contact us or call today to learn what your options are, and how we can help protect you against insurance companies. 

And see more information on rear-ended car accidents, T-boned accidents, and more.

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See What Our Clients Have To Say About Us

“Cloud Law Firm helped me with my motor vehicle accident. Mia gave me peace of mind from the beginning. She explained things to me so I understood what was happening. She never gave up on me or my case until it was settled.”

Peg M.
Rating 5/5

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