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Do Florida Laws Encourage Hit and Run Drivers?

Hit-and-run collisions pose a significant risk to Florida’s pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. When a driver flees the scene, it is less likely that a victim will get necessary medical care. To make a medical condition work, some victims will suffer additional injuries after being struck and dragged by a vehicle. According to recent reports, South Florida, as well as Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando are some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians. The analysis was compiled by the National Complete Streets Coalition and discussed in a CBS 12 report.

Pedestrian safety is a significant issue in South Florida and statewide. Due to the weather and number of state and federal highways, there are more pedestrians and a higher risk of accidents and injury. Florida not only has a high rate of pedestrian accidents, it also has a high rate of hit-and-run collisions. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are dedicated to representing the victims of hit-and-run accidents. We are also committed to raising awareness to prevent future accidents and to hold negligent drivers accountable.

Though Florida transportation officials have been working to improve pedestrian safety, records show that risks remain high for pedestrians. The state has passed the Aaron Cohen Protection Act to increase penalties for hit-and-run accidents, but Florida still ranks one of the highest for dangerous roads. According to a WFTV local news report, Florida laws may actually favor those who commit hit and run, rather than penalize them.

In one highlighted case, an intersection accident resulted in the death of a young girl and the driver was never arrested or penalized. Though the Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash, authorities were never able to identify the driver who killed the young girl and injured her brother. Accident reports indicated that the teens were crossing the street when they were struck in in the center lane, outside of a crosswalk. Both were thrown from their bikes and the driver continued on without contacting emergency crews.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the car, but no criminal charges have been filed because law enforcement officials cannot identify the driver behind the wheel. In this case, the wrongful death case is spurring legal action because the criminal case has not gained any traction. It is possible that evidence could be revealed through the civil trial that may allow for a criminal trial to proceed.

The problem for pedestrians is that Florida law currently provides lesser penalties for those who flee the scene than for those who stay. In some cases, those where stayed at the scene and admitted to being drunk face more severe charges than those who were arrested and caught for fleeing after an accident. Even law enforcement authorities admit that from a criminal standpoint it is better to flee the scene than to stay. Until penalties are made more severe for hit-and-run drivers, victims will risk getting the medical help that they need in the event of an accident.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Hit-and-run driver injures pedestrian, April 6, 2014, By Robert Nolin, Sun Sentinel

More Blog Entries:
Broward Pedestrian Accidents a Serious, Ongoing Safety Threat, April 15, 2014, Broward Pedestrian Accident Attorney Blog
Hollywood Car Accident Lawyers Prepared to Battle Insurance Companies, Feb. 28, 2014, Broward Pedestrian Accident Attorney Blog

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