There were close to 70,000 hit-and-run crashes in the state of Florida in 2012. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), about 170 people died in these accidents.
It’s a story that’s all too common here in South Florida. Consider the accident that happened just a few weeks ago that took the life of Miami Beach executive chef Stefano Riccioletti. Luckily, the fleeing driver in the accident was busted because he was followed by a witness from the scene. Not everyone is so lucky. In this accident, the 63-year-old chef was hit by a passing motorist while driving his bicycle, according to 7News.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers understand that fleeing drivers are usually fleeing for a reason. Many times, they have no insurance, no driver’s license or they’re under the influence. Whatever the reason, they choose to leave the scene of the accident and leave the victims helpless to fend for themselves. It’s an act that has to be stopped and officials throughout the state are working to educate drivers about the risks.
During a recent press conference, officials and victims met to help to raise awareness of the problem. In attendance was Jennifer Richards on the ninth anniversary of her daughter’s death. Her daughter was killed in a car accident in which the driver left the scene of the accident and was never found by officials. In many of these types of collisions, the victim may make a claim with his or her own insurance carrier. Consulting an experienced personal injury law firm is a vital first step in the immediate aftermath of such crashes.
It’s important to remember that leaving the scene of a collision when someone has been injured or has died is a felony traffic offense. You can wind up facing prison time if you decide to leave the scene of an accident — even if there is only property damage. You are required under law to remain at the scene of the accident. You can’t flee the scene avoiding the consequences because officers will come looking for you. You can see all of the Active Hit & Run Cases on the DHSMV website.
If you have information on any hit-and-run car accidents in the area, you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers:
“We hope the education awareness campaign and our partnerships with Florida law enforcement agencies and FDOT will help us meet our mission goals of traffic safety,” said Col. David Brierton with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP).
If you’re involved in an accident, you’re asked to remain calm. Contact law enforcement for assistance. Make sure you take note of the scene. Gather information from drivers, vehicles and witnesses involved. You want to make sure any injured parties get the help they need, too.
Staying at the scene of an accident is not only the right and moral thing to do, but it’s illegal if you don’t. We understand that accidents happen. Do the right thing if you’re involved in one.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic crash, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Rollover Accident Kills Port St. Lucie Driver, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 17, 2013
Congestion Costing South Florida Drivers More than Time, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 12, 2013