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Florida Hit-and-Runs


Watching the video of the accident is breathtaking.  A vehicle rolled through a stop sign, and then rammed into the side of Jonny Fitzcharles, who was riding a motorized scooter. The woman who caused the crash exited her vehicle, took a look at Fitzcharles, and turned away, leaving him writhing in the street. She re-entered her car and drove away, as Fitzcharles lay there wondering if his life was over.  It wasn’t, and after over a week in the hospital Fitzcharles considers himself lucky that he escaped the ordeal with just broken bones, abrasions, and cuts. It is another example of a heartless motorist involved in a hit-and-run accident in the Sunshine State.

Why Would Someone Leave? 

It seems unfathomable that someone could actually abscond from a scene such as this, but it happens all too often.  Their reasons are all likely based in fear: fear of consequences for their driving errors, sometimes compounded with other issues that could mean more severe penalties, such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At any rate, it is unconscionable, and could mean minor injuries become more serious because treatment is delayed.

 Stay at the Scene 

The number of hit-and-run collisions in Florida is astounding; over 100,000 occur annually.  Those incidents result in nearly 300 deaths each year, primarily of pedestrians and bicyclists. Hit-and-run month in Florida is in February, when the highway patrol (FHP) teams up with the department of safety (FLHSMV) to focus on the need to remain at the scene of an accident in order to help bring down the number of injuries and fatalities, not to mention to help families impacted by accidents to gain some semblance of justice.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene 

Florida law requires drivers to stop after being involved in an accident if there is any damage to property, bodily injury, or death. The penalties for leaving the scene are pretty hefty:

  • If only property damage occurred, violators could be fined $500 and spend a couple of months behind bars. That means even if you accidentally bump into a stranger’s vehicle in a parking lot, if you take off without leaving contact information you could face criminal penalties.
  • Leaving an accident where injuries were incurred is much more serious, and could result in a fine of $5,000, a revocation of one’s driver license for three years or more, and as long as five years in a state prison.
  • When someone is killed in an accident and a driver leaves the scene, they could face up to 30 years in prison, in addition to a $10,000 fine.

After a Hit-and-Run 

In addition to criminal penalties, hit-and-run drivers could be subject to a civil suit seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, and more. If you have been the victim of such an accident, call the experienced Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A today.



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