February is hit and run awareness month in Florida. According to a statement by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), hit-and-run crashes in Florida increased by:
• 18% for fatalities
• 20% of severe injuries
• 17% for crashes overall (over the last year)
To help reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes in the state, the FLHSMV and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are spearheading the “Stay at the Scene” campaign. This campaign is designed to prevent these incidents and reduce needless fatalities and injuries.
What should you do if you were involved in an accident that may have caused damages, injury, or even death to another motorist, pedestrian, or cyclist?
Florida Highway Patrol Director Colonel Gene Spaulding answered that question by saying, “If you are involved in a traffic crash, it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s your responsibility to remain at the scene and immediately contact law enforcement. With hit-and-run crashes on the rise, we need the public’s assistance in solving these cases and bringing justice to families who have lost a loved one, been injured, or had property damaged because someone left the scene in violation of Florida law.”
What should you do if you were not directly involved in an accident but witnessed a motorist fleeing the scene?
Aside from staying at the scene as a responsible citizen, you can also:
• Dial 911, especially in the event of an injury or apparent injury
• Report the hit-and-run to law enforcement
• Provide a witness testimony with information about the fleeing driver and a description of the vehicle to law enforcement
It is crucial to remember that whether you are an injured party, a responsible party, or in any way involved in a hit-and-run, you should not leave the scene. Leaving the scene prior to law enforcement arriving may compound the situation and result in criminal charges being filed against you.
Hiring the Right Personal Injury Attorney for your Case
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, either as a motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian, contact The Briggs Law Firm at our Ocala, Florida office at (352) 671-4600. We can help you understand your options and the strengths and weaknesses of your case. There is no obligation when scheduling an appointment with one of our experienced North Central Florida accident attorneys, and the consultation is free. Let us help you file a claim to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Call our office today for more information.