What To Do if you are the Victim of a Hit and Run Auto Accident in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Plant City, Clearwater (or Beyond!)
Per the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department in 2015, 25% of all auto crashes involve a hit and run. Out of the 374,000 crashes in 2015, this means that approximately 93,000 car accidents were hit and runs.
Getting in an automobile accident is an unpleasant experience, and if the other driver leaves the accident scene, then the situation will become even more difficult and unpleasant. As soon as you notice that the other driver leaving, do your best try to catch or note the license plate number, make and model of the car (or truck or motorcycle), and immediately write it down or take a picture with your cell phone if possible. If there are any possible witnesses to the hit and run, ask them to stay for the police and if it is not possible for them, then at least get their contact information, so you can provide that to the police and an attorney if necessary. Call the police and stay in your vehicle. Once the police arrive, report the incident and provide the witness information to the police if they were unable to remain at the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the damage and the scene once it is safe to exit your vehicle. Make note of the time and location of the accident. Take pictures that support your claim (i.e. paint from the other car, any distinctive marks), where your car was in the road at the time of the collision as well as the accident site itself, the intersection or how the road is laid out for a better understanding of how the accident occurred. If the accident is in a busy area, look to see if any businesses nearby have video surveillance that could’ve recorded the accident (hit and run). Make note of these businesses, if possible ask the business about their camera and how long they keep the footage. Some businesses have a loop system and therefore the accident footage will be overridden the following day or sometime later. If they do not keep the footage, ask them if they can either provide you a copy or to please not tape over the accident footage. Provide that information to the police as well as your attorney as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of losing the surveillance footage.
Throughout the US and in the Tampa Bay metro area, most insurance policies cover accidents caused by uninsured drivers, and because uninsured drivers are more likely to flee the scene of a car or truck accident, a hit and run will be covered by this premium. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury will cover medical expenses, while comprehensive and collision insurance will cover the vehicle repairs. In Florida, it is not required to have bodily injury coverage nor uninsured motorist coverage, and both are crucial to have if you are the victim of a hit and run. It would be wise to obtain such coverage considering the large number of uninsured/ underinsured motorist that drive our roads. If your financial situation allows, we also recommend that you consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy.
If you are involved in a hit and run, we encourage you to speak to your Florida Auto Injury Attorney before your insurance company to ensure that they will accurately file your claim. For a no-obligation consultation, please call Franco Law at (813) 873-0180 or use the online form below to submit an inquiry.
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