In 2021 alone, there were close to 200,000 non-fatal hit-and-runs, up 21% from the 159,000 in 2012.
Getting justice for a hit-and-run starts at the scene of the accident. Because the at-fault driver decided to flee, the crime becomes more serious, but the burden of proof is more difficult to obtain. There’s nothing more important than evidence when prosecuting a hit-and-run.
In today’s post, we will guide you through handling a hit-and-run in Florida. Specifically, we’ll tell you what evidence you need to bring to the table to ensure a positive outcome.
After a serious accident, the most important thing is to look after your health and then account for the property damage. The next thing is to see to it that the driver who fled the scene is subject to penalty under Florida laws.
With an understanding of how the process should work and a good legal team, proving liability can be easy. Don’t let this heinous crime go unpunished. Keep reading and learn more about hit-and-run evidence.
What Is a Hit-and-Run in Florida?
According to Florida laws, a hit-and-run is defined as any accident where the at-fault party leaves the scene. Under normal circumstances, all parties are to remain at the scene of the accident until the authorities allow them to leave.
When injuries are involved, they are always the first priority. Regardless of the at-fault driver’s injury status, however, they must speak to the police after the accident. Fleeing turns a potentially small civil case into a much larger criminal one.
The Penalty for a Hit-and-Run
Hit-and-run penalties depend on the severity of the accident. For example, leaving the scene of an accident where the primary concern is property damage results in a 2nd-degree misdemeanor. The driver will be subject to up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
When injuries are involved, it becomes a 2nd or 3rd-degree felony. This comes with a revoked license and up to 5 years in prison with a $5,000 fine. If a fatality occurs, the driver gets a minimum of four years in jail but up to 30 with a $10,000 fine.
What Evidence Do You Need to Prove a Hit-and-Run?
Being the victim of a hit-and-run conjures every emotion in the book. A prominent one is the desire to seek justice. The police may find the driver, but proving liability will depend on what evidence you and your lawyer bring to the table.
Photo and Video Evidence
Any photo or video evidence you can provide will bolster your case. Many people use dash cams, which will not only capture video of the accident and the person fleeing but can also capture their license plate. There are countless examples of this helping police catch a suspect.
Having such hard evidence will make it extremely easy to prove your version of events. If there are any witnesses to the accident, check to see if they’ve got dashcam footage. Following that, an experienced lawyer could also obtain traffic camera footage to support your case.
When there are witnesses to the hit-and-run, your life is going to be a lot easier. Being able to draw from eyewitness testimony to prove unequivocally what happened – who the defendant is, that they caused the accident, and that they opted to flee in the aftermath.
Oftentimes, however, people decide to flee because there are no obvious witnesses to the accident. That is when you will have to rely on first responder testimony and physical evidence.
First Responder Testimony
First responders, whether it is the fire department, EMTs, or police, are essential in the immediate aftermath of any accident. When you are dealing with a hit-and-run, however, first responder testimony can go a long way in proving your side of the story.
For example, an EMT will be able to effectively act as an expert witness to tell the court if your injuries are consistent with those caused by a car accident. Police testimony comes in handy if they’re able to find and detain the driver who fled the scene.
Skidmarks and Paint Scuffs
When it comes to physical evidence, you are going to be looking at the damage to your vehicle and any skid marks at the scene of the accident. Pictures of the scene of the accident can go a long way in determining what likely happened.
The other kind of physical evidence will be on the fleeing driver’s car. If the police can track down the other driver before long, they can see whether or not there’s any damage consistent with the accident. Time is of the essence in this scenario.
Medical Records and Lost Wages
Proving the defendant’s liability is one aspect of dealing with a hit-and-run. Once you’ve done that, you will need to prove how the accident has impacted your life and livelihood.
One of the reasons it is so crucial to get checked out by a doctor after an accident, regardless of whether you feel injured, is to prove your injuries in court. Showing your medical bills and having a doctor’s testimony will ensure you are properly compensated.
Another thing to showcase is your missed wages due to the recovery. Your employer should be able to clearly show that the injury has made it impossible to work and the lost wages therein. Any damage caused to your car should be factored in, as well as the mental anguish the accident has caused you.
Why You Need a Legal Expert’s Help
In presenting as much clear evidence as possible, you can ensure a better outcome after a hit-and-run in Florida. If you plan on seeking justice against someone who caused an accident and fled, you are going to need good legal counsel.
A good personal injury lawyer will leave no stone unturned in their quest to find the necessary evidence to prove your case. RHINO Lawyers is Tampa’s premier legal team for handling car and motorcycle accidents. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to book a consultation and put the trauma of this hit-and-run accident behind you.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.