The sudden, jarring impact of a car accident causes shock and fright in most people.  In the aftermath, those involved may not act the way they would under normal conditions. The natural human instinct for flight can take over, causing one party to flee the scene of the trauma. Or, sometimes, just the opposite occurs. An accident may cause so little impact that the driver is unaware that a pedestrian, bike or other vehicle has even been hit.

Either way, if a driver involved in a car accident that resulted in damage or injury leaves the scene of the accident before fulfilling certain legal duties, the driver can be charged with a serious crime. Those charged with an offense involving leaving the scene of a crash are advised to consult with a knowledgeable Ft. Lauderdale hit and run accident lawyer to work toward the best possible resolution. A skilled defense attorney is essential. En Español.

Legal Duties When an Accident Causes Property Damage

In a situation where a motor vehicle accident results in damage to the vehicle or other property of another but does not cause an injury, Sections 316.061, 316.062 and 316.063 of the Florida Statutes require the driver to:

  • Immediately stop at the scene of the crash or as close to the scene as possible
  • Move a damaged vehicle if it is obstructing traffic
  • Provide other involved parties and law enforcement officials with the driver’s name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle driven, and display a driver’s license if requested to do so.
  • If the accident damages a vehicle or other property that is unattended, the driver must immediately try to locate the owner to provide the above information or, if unable to locate the owner, must conspicuously place a notice with this information and notify the nearest office of the police.

When these actions are not taken following an accident, an individual may be charged with hit and run and should then consult with a Ft Lauderdale lawyer.

Legal Duties When an Accident Causes Injury or Death

If the accident causes injury or death to another, the driver must:

  • Immediately stop at the scene of the crash or as close to the scene as possible
  • Provide other involved parties and law enforcement officials with the driver’s name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle driven, and display a driver’s license if requested to do so.
  • Render “reasonable assistance” to the injured party, including bringing or arranging for the injured party to be taken to a suitable medical treatment facility if treatment is apparently necessary or such help is requested by the injured party.

These duties remain the same regardless of whether the accident happened on public or private property, with the exception of motor sports events or a closed-course motor sport facility.

A “serious bodily injury” is defined as one which “consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.” A Ft. Lauderdale attorney could help someone build a defense if they are accused of a hit-and-run accident.

Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident

The penalties that someone may face after fleeing the scene of an accident depend on the damage or injury they caused. For instance, if the accident only resulted in property damage, the defendant may face up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. However, if someone suffered serious injuries, the accused may be charged with a second- or third-degree felony. In these situations, they may face up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and a license revocation for a minimum of three years. Finally, if someone dies as a result of a hit and run, the charged individual may face up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Because of the severity of these penalties, it is important for someone accused of a hit-and-run accident to contact a lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale.

Working with a Ft. Lauderdale Hit and Run Accident Attorney

Leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious offense that can be classified as a felony when injuries are involved. It goes without saying that the penalties are severe, including substantial jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and other life-changing consequences such as a felony record.

An experienced Ft. Lauderdale hit and run accident lawyer could help represent the facts of your situation in the best possible light and advise you as to how to proceed to work toward a favorable outcome. Contact our office for a free consultation with one of our legal professionals now.

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