Were you injured in a collision with a driver who fled the scene in Winter Haven? Are you frustrated that you have to deal with injuries, vehicle repairs, and other losses with no one to hold accountable? If so, reach out to a proven hit and run accident lawyer at Brooks Law Group for help.

Hit and run crashes are a serious problem in Florida, impacting thousands of victims each year. Statistics from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that there were more than 600,000 hit-and-run accidents in Florida over a recent five-year period. Of those crashes, almost 1,300 people died.

Not all hit and run accidents are fatal, but they can still leave victims with severe injuries, staggering medical bills, and costly personal and financial losses.

If you suffered injuries in a crash where a driver left the scene, a Winter Haven hit and run accident lawyer will help you seek compensation and justice. At Brooks Law Group, our Florida car accident attorneys have more than 20 years of experience fighting for the money injured people deserve, and our case results speak for themselves. Call or contact us today for a free initial consultation.

What Is a Hit and Run Accident?

State law requires drivers to stop and call 911 if they strike another motorist, pedestrian, or cyclist and the collision causes a death, injury, or more than $500 in property damage. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow the law. Instead, they flee the scene. This is known as a hit and run accident.

Practically speaking, it’s not always easy to tell whether someone is hurt after a collision. For that reason, drivers should always stop to check on others, no matter how minor the crash may seem.

Motorists flee accident scenes for various reasons, such as:

  • They were driving while impaired.
  • They were texting or distracted in some other way.
  • They don’t have auto insurance or are underinsured.
  • They don’t want their insurance premiums to increase.
  • They’re scared to face criminal prosecution for their actions.

Who Pays in a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Figuring out who will pay for your injuries after a hit and run accident in Winter Haven can be confusing. Florida uses a no-fault system for car accident claims. This means the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries works differently than in most states.

All Florida drivers must carry a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. After an accident, your first step is to file a hit and run accident claim with your own insurance company requesting PIP compensation.

However, PIP benefits are not guaranteed, and they’re not always enough to cover your injuries, lost wages, and other losses after a hit and run accident. An experienced lawyer can identify whether there are different ways to pursue compensation for you.

If you can identify and find the driver who hit you, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them if your injuries are serious enough under Florida law.

But many hit and run drivers are never caught. In that case, you could file a claim with your insurance company under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Florida does not require drivers to purchase UM as part of their policies. If you decline it, your options for recovering hit and run compensation may be limited.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Winter Haven

It’s essential to act quickly after a hit and run accident to protect your rights to compensation. Take these steps if you can:

  • Try to identify the car and driver that hit you — If possible, use your phone or write down the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate. This will help the police as they try to find the driver.
  • Don’t chase after the vehicle — It’s tempting to pursue a driver who tries to leave the scene of a crash, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to catch them. You also need to rule out any injuries, which could worsen if you drive off right away.
  • Call 911— First, you may have sustained severe injuries that need medical attention. Second, you need the police to file an accident report. Otherwise, it will be difficult to prove the collision even occurred.
  • Document the crash scene — Take pictures of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the surrounding area. Look around for any surveillance cameras that might have captured the accident. That footage could help police catch the fleeing driver.
  • Notify your insurance company — Tell them that an accident occurred, but limit your report to the basic facts. A prompt report is required to get your PIP claim underway, but saying the wrong thing could hurt your ability to recover the full amount of compensation you’re due.
  • Talk to a hit and run accident lawyer in Winter Haven — Regardless of whether or not the driver who hit you is ever found, an attorney can help you review your options and help you find a way to recover the money you need. Even though no-fault benefits are supposedly guaranteed, there’s no promise that your insurance company will make it easy to get the money you deserve.

Common Injuries from Hit and Run Accidents

A hit and run injury can cause lasting harm, especially in cases where drivers are traveling at high speeds or strike a pedestrian or bicyclist.

Some of the most common injuries from hit and run accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Road rash
  • Amputation
  • Burns
  • Wrongful death

Can I Get Compensation for a Hit and Run Accident in Winter Haven?

At a bare minimum, Florida drivers should be able to collect their PIP benefits after a hit and run crash. While this may not be enough to cover your losses, it’s a start.

The real question is whether you can file a hit and run lawsuit or recover additional compensation through your uninsured motorist coverage. The best way to get answers is by getting a case review from a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.

To file a personal injury claim in Florida, you must first demonstrate that your injuries reach the “serious injury” threshold set by state law. With help from the right high and run injury lawyer, a lawsuit could provide extra compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress