West Palm Beach Hit & Run Lawyer
Anytime you are involved in a car accident where there may be personal injury or property damage, Florida law requires you to stop and render aid to the other people involved. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. Unfortunately, that is just what many drivers do. Sometimes they are simply unaware they even hit another car or person. But in many cases, the driver simply does not want to deal with the potential legal consequences of causing an accident.
Even if the other driver is never identified or located, you still have options for seeking compensation from your own insurance company. A qualified West Palm Beach hit and run lawyer can help. Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather is a team of experienced Florida personal injury lawyers who represent hit-and-run victims throughout Palm Beach County. So whether you are a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian who was hit by an unknown driver, we can advise you of your rights under the law.
What Should You Do Following a Hit & Run?
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are in excess of 100,000 hit and run accidents reported throughout the state each year. In 2021 alone there were 23,193 injuries reported in hit and runs. Of that number, nearly 1,200 people suffered “incapacitating injuries” and 306 individuals lost their lives.
If you are in a hit and run accident, the first thing to remember is not to panic. You should call 911 and ask for a police officer to come to the accident scene and prepare an official report. You should also identify anyone who might have witnessed the accident and take down their contact information for future reference. And if you have your smartphone on you, it is a good idea to take pictures of your own vehicle and the accident scene.
Of course, you should always seek medical attention following any car accident. Many hit and run victims are able to get up and walk away from the scene. But they may still suffer from serious injuries that are not immediately obvious, such as a concussion (traumatic brain injury) or internal bleeding. It is especially important to seek prompt medical care as that can help prove the extent of your damages when later seeking insurance benefits.
Florida has a “no-fault” system for car accidents. This means that if you are injured in a hit and run, your own insurance carrier is required to pay you certain medical and lost income benefits. You must carry at least $10,000 of this Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage by law. Unfortunately, PIP benefits only cover 80 percent of your medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages. If you have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage as part of your auto policy, however, your insurer may also be liable for any additional damages you were unable to collect from the hit and run driver.
Contact Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather Today
A hit and run accident can leave you struggling looking for answers, especially when the driver is never found. Our West Palm Beach hit and run lawyers can help you in finding some answers. Contact Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather today to schedule a consultation.