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Will “Stay at the Scene” campaign lower hit-and-run crashes?

Hit-and-run accidents can spin one’s life upside down. It can change a person’s life in a moment, forever, so that they are never the same again. Although a large share of such accidents result in damages to property and vehicles, serious bodily injuries and fatalities cannot be overlooked. Sadly, hit-and-run crashes contributes one-fourth of all the crashes take place in Florida every year. According to preliminary data published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2018, Florida witnessed a total of 101,151 hit-and-run crashes. Of those, 1,162 resulted in serious physical injuries and 198 were killed.

In Florida, when a motor vehicle accident involves injury or death of another person, or damage of property, the state traffic laws require that the driver who caused the accident to stay at the scene of the crash, share essential information, make available medical aid for victims if required, and wait for the authorities to arrive. Fleeing the scene of crash is a big deal and is often charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. FLHSMV often organizes “Stay at the Scene,” a program to educate drivers about their responsibilities and the consequences they may face in case they fail to follow these laws.

Under Florida laws, in the case of a hit-and-run crash that causes damage to property, leaving the scene is labeled as a second degree misdemeanor and the driver may punished up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. Crashes that result in injuries are classified as a second or third degree felony and the driver may face revocation of license for at least three years, up to five years in jail, and $5,000 fine. For hit-and-run crashes that resulted in fatalities, the offense is categorized as a first degree felony and the penalties include revocation of one’s driver’s license for at least three years, mandatory imprisonment of four years which may extend up to 30 years, and a $10,000 fine.

A hit-and-run crash can be very distressing because the driver at fault has fled the scene. However, after a crash, there are a number of things that an aggrieved party can do to safeguard their right to damages. They may claim damages for medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering incurred as a result of the incident. In case of death, surviving family members are entitled to seek compensation for their financial losses that result from the person’s death, as well as damages for personal injury to the decedent.

Tags: Car Accidents