Being seriously injured in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence can be a painful, difficult, and frustrating ordeal. But if you have that driver’s name, their insurance information, and a skilled and aggressive car accident injury attorney on your side, there’s a good chance you can hold that driver accountable and obtain compensation for your injuries and losses. If, however, the irresponsible driver who hit you fled the scene of the accident and has seemingly disappeared, you may feel like there’s nothing you can do and nowhere you can turn.
But there is always hope. At Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our tenacious Tampa car accident lawyers leave no stone unturned to get our clients the compensation they need and deserve after a hit-and-run.
Hit-and-Runs Are Increasingly Common
Even though fleeing the scene of an accident is both wrong and illegal here in Florida and elsewhere, hit-and-run accidents are all too common. Hit-and-run drivers are responsible for thousands of accidents, injuries, and deaths every year. In 2016 alone, there were just under 100,000 hit-and-run accidents in the state of Florida, and those numbers were going up every year before that.
Sometimes, an intoxicated driver will flee rather than face the consequences of a DUI. Perhaps an undocumented or uninsured driver fears what could happen if they stay at the scene. Other times, panic or a disregard for human life leads a driver to abandon an injured victim.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run
Regardless, the injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by a hit-and-run driver are no different than those caused by a driver who stays at the scene. The difference comes after, when a victim tries to hold that unknown driver responsible for their actions. Sometimes, the driver is identified and caught by law enforcement and the injury victim can pursue damages from the driver and their insurance company as in any other car accident case.
When the driver remains at large, though, there are steps victims should take which can increase the chance of justice being done and compensation being paid.
- Try to ID the driver and the car. You may be in shock or disoriented immediately after a collision, but whatever information you can note about the other driver or car if it pulls away may help the police in their efforts to track the driver down. In Florida, fleeing the scene of an accident that results in serious injury or death is a felony which could lead to years in prison. Police and prosecutors will want to find who did this to you and will seek to put them behind bars. Anything you can do to help them will ultimately help you.
- Check your insurance policy. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which is optional but not mandatory in Florida, not only can provide you compensation if you are seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver but may also cover losses caused in a hit-and-run. Check your policy to see whether you purchased such coverage. If so, make a claim for your losses.
- Contact a car accident attorney. Even if you have UM coverage, you may still run into challenges getting paid by your own insurance company. Your insurer is in the business of protecting their bottom line, not yours. They may try to deny your claim by asserting that the accident was your fault or otherwise provide you with less compensation that you deserve. That is why you should always retain an experienced car accident lawyer to negotiate with the car insurer, even if that insurer is your own.
Alley, Clark & Greiwe: Tampa Hit-and-Run Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured by a hit-and-run driver, please call one of our Tampa car accident attorneys today at (800) 840-0977 or contact us online to arrange for your free initial consultation and case evaluation. We look forward to assisting you.