The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that nearly 25% of traffic crashes are hit and runs. The penalties for hit and run are harsh – the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, Florida Statutes § 316.027 imposes a mandatory minimum four-year prison term for hit and run causing death and up to five years in prison for hit and run with injured victims.
People have all kinds of reasons they hit and run – drunk driving, no license or no insurance – but that doesn’t make it right. Victims are left to suffer – and wonder what they can do about an insurance claim.
In Florida, only 1 out of every 8 hit and run drivers is ever charged – about 12% of offenders. Whether or not the offender is brought to justice in your case, you need to know how to pursue the insurance compensation that is available to you, and the compensation that you deserve.
Our Coral Gables auto accident lawyers at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC explain hit and run insurance claims in Florida.
FAQs About Florida Hit and Run Insurance Claims
Will insurance cover a hit and run in Florida?
Your PIP insurance should cover a hit and run in Florida up to your policy limits. For additional coverage, it depends on whether you purchased uninsured motorist coverage and the terms of your policy.
Does uninsured motorist coverage cover hit-and-run in Florida?
Uninsured motorist coverage typically covers hit-and-run in Florida. Review your policy language for details.
Do the police investigate hit and run in Florida?
Yes. You should always call the police to investigate a hit and run in Florida. Hit and run is a crime, and the police can attempt to locate the offending driver. In addition, the police can document the accident and create a report for your insurance claim.
Can I sue a hit and run driver in Florida?
Yes. If you locate the hit and run driver in Florida, you can sue them. In addition to damages for fault for the accident, the driver is liable for additional damages that result from leaving the scene. They may also be liable to pay punitive damages for acting willfully or with reckless indifference.
At a Glance – Hit and Run Insurance Claims in Florida
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance is required: You should have it, and it should provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages up to policy limits.
- You may have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This coverage will apply to your hit and run claim.
- Be sure to report the accident to the police: Let them investigate the hit and run.
- Talk to a lawyer: Investigate all opportunities to receive compensation.
Insurance For Florida Hit and Run Victims: PIP Coverage
Your PIP insurance coverage applies even when an accident is a hit and run. Likely, PIP is the first place you will look for coverage following a hit and run. All drivers must purchase a minimum of $10,000 PIP insurance. (Florida Statutes § 627.737).
PIP insurance pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to policy maximums, without regard to fault. You’re entitled to these payments, even if a driver flees the scene. In addition, Medical Payments coverage can bridge the gap of the remaining 20% and cover 100% past the PIP limits up to the Medical Payments maximum.
With many people choosing the minimums for PIP insurance, you may quickly find yourself at your policy limits. The next place to look for insurance coverage should be uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist for Hit and Run Victims
When you purchase car insurance, the insurance company must offer you uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. (Florida Statutes § 627.727). Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers you when you are otherwise entitled to recover damages from an owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury, death and other harms.
When you’re the victim of a hit and run, the other driver isn’t there to provide their insurance information for a claim. Therefore, your uninsured/underinsured coverage is triggered. It may pay compensation for your actual damages up to policy limits.
Does Florida require uninsured motorist coverage?
No. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional in Florida. It’s something that you must choose or reject when you purchase your insurance.
When you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, your uninsured motorist coverage is critical. It can be a welcome relief when a hit and run occurs.
Other Sources of Compensation for Hit and Run
There may be other sources of compensation, too.
- The hit and run driver: In about 12% of cases, the hit and run driver is located. You may pursue compensation.
- Other parties involved in the crash: If another party is involved in the crash, you may pursue compensation through their insurance. Florida’s comparative negligence law applies.
- Vehicle manufacturing or design defect: A vehicle manufacturing or design defect may have played a role in the collision. The vehicle manufacturer may be liable through defective product liability.
- Government for road design or maintenance: Government entities can be responsible for poor road conditions. There are special procedures that apply when a claim involves a unit of government.
An attorney can assist you to evaluate possible responsible parties and sources of compensation.
Why have an attorney?
If you’re the victim of a hit and run, an attorney can help you investigate, determine your options and pursue your compensation. You need to know what insurance is available to you and what your damages are. You may need representation to get fair payment from the insurance company. If a legal claim can help you get fair compensation, an attorney can represent you in the claims process.
Reach Out to Our Hit and Run Accident Attorneys
At Maderal Byrne & Furst, we know how challenging it can be to be the victim of a car accident, especially a hit and run. We help the injured in hit and run accidents get justice.
When you need high-quality representation that goes above and beyond, we invite you to contact us. Talk to a lawyer today about what you can do after a hit and run.