The sad truth is that the number of hit-and-run accidents is going up across the country and in the state of Florida. What is worse is that many hit-and-run accidents involve pedestrians. There is simply no match between someone who is on a bicycle or on foot and someone who is behind the wheel of a car.
In 2015, there were more than 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in the state of Florida. Most of them, approximately 80%, result in property damage. In the remaining incidents, 19,000 resulted in someone being injured with 186 people losing their lives in hit-and-run crashes. Of those fatalities, 93 of them were pedestrians. It is estimated that in 25% of pedestrian accidents, the driver will flee the scene.
The Florida Statutes on the matter are clear. According to FS 316.027 of the Florida Code, leaving the scene of an accident where someone is injured or killed is a third class felony. The result is a mandatory loss of a driver’s license for three years and those convicted of the crime could end up serving a number of years in prison.
Some of the reasons why someone may be tempted to flee the scene are:
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or distracted at the time of the crash.
- The driver was not legally licensed, either a suspended license or undocumented immigrant or uninsured.
- The driver was inexperienced or driving recklessly or as a result of road rage.
Whatever the reason might have been, today, drivers who flee the scene stand a greater chance of getting caught through the use of traffic cameras, security cameras at nearby businesses, and citizens who either witness such incidents or have cameras. Debris left at the scene of an accident or other evidence can be used to track down the vehicle involved in a hit-and-run crash.
Here is a recent example from the news as of this writing. In Fort Meyers, a man was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. According to a witness to the fatal accident, a Mercedes struck the man who was crossing Colonial Boulevard. Two other vehicles that were behind the Mercedes at the time had to swerve in order to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
A worker at a nearby gas station said that it was obvious that the man had been killed in the incident. Unfortunately, the driver that hit the pedestrian fled the scene and police are still on the lookout. We hope that the police are able to catch the perpetrator.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a hit and run crash, whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist or in a motor vehicle, you need to get the advice of a personal injury attorney who will inform you of your rights and help to protect your interests and those of your loved ones. Contact Neufeld, Kleinberg, & Pinkiert today for a free consultation.