It is no longer news that motor vehicle accidents can be complicated and devastating. But then, the situation can even worsen if the at-fault driver flees the accident scene. This is one of the reasons why people are often more apprehensive about getting involved in hit-and-run accidents in Tampa.
For starters, you are more likely to suffer more damage from a hit-and-run accident than in most other accidents. Plus, getting fair compensation for your damages can be even more complicated. This is especially if you can not identify the vehicle or driver that caused the accident.
The worst thing is that we can not control our chances of getting into such accidents, considering that the other drivers are at fault most times. Also, hit-and-run accident occurrences have continued to multiply on our roads, especially in recent times. For example, recent Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports indicate that the Tampa Bay Area witnessed about 21,920 hit-and-run crashes last year.
Indeed, this is terrible news for Tampa residents, and the reason is not far from the fact that Tampa roads often experience heavy traffic. But, the good news is that authorities have recognized the vulnerability of hit-and-run accident victims. So, they have implemented schemes to ensure that these victims still get fair compensation for injuries and damages from such accidents.
This means that you can still file and win an accident claim in Tampa, even if the at-fault driver zooms off from the accident scene to escape the law. But then, you have to know some essential information to maximize the situation. Fortunately, this article will teach you some of them. Read on to discover more.
What Does a Hit-and-Run Accident Entail?
Perhaps, you are already wondering what qualifies as a hit-and-run accident in Tampa. Well, you should know that the accident occurs when an at-fault driver flees the accident scene after hitting another vehicle or person.
Of course, drivers must stop, offer help to other people involved in the accident, and exchange details about their license and insurance at accident scenes. However, some drivers prefer to zoom off and flee the scene to escape the law. When this happens, the situation is often described as a hit-and-run accident.
What are the Leading Causes of Hit and Run Accidents in Tampa?
Here are some of the most common causes of hit-and-run accidents in Tampa:
- Lack of license and insurance. All vehicles in Tampa are required to be adequately licensed and insured. This is so that insurance companies can help bear damage costs in accident cases. However, some drivers neglect this law and put their vehicles on the road without adequate licensing and insurance.
Such drivers also are more likely to flee accident scenes when they are at fault. They often do this to escape the cost they must pay for the damages they caused. This is especially as there is no insurance to help bear some of the cost. Moreover, they could get into more legal trouble because they are not adequately licensed.
- When the driver is obviously at fault. Some drivers also flee accident scenes because they can see that they are clearly at fault for the accident. When accidents happen, the responsibility of paying the costs for resulting damages often rests on the at-fault driver.
However, some of these drivers might be unwilling to pay or scared about the amount they will pay. When this is the case, they often opt for fleeing the accident scene.
- Breaking traffic rules. Florida and Tampa authorities have stipulated regulations for all types of vehicles that will use its roads. These regulations are often aimed at protecting road users’ safety and security. Also, there are often sanctions that go with disregarding any of the rules.
But then, some drivers go ahead to break these rules in the hope that they will escape being caught. Unfortunately, these drivers will likely get into accidents when breaking road safety rules. For instance, drinking and driving can cause you to lose concentration on the road, leading to accidents. In the same way, over-speeding can limit a driver’s control of his vehicle, also leading to accidents.
When this is the case, the driver is expected to pay for the damages from the accident and will also face sanctions for disobeying traffic laws. However, most of these defaulting drivers opt to flee the scene when the accident eventually happens.
- Fear of the damages they might have caused. Sometimes, damages from slip and fall accidents can be severe. And just the thought of how serious the damages are and its financial implications can cause the at-fault driver to flee the scene.
What Should You do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Tampa?
Indeed, the moments after a hit-and-run accident can be pretty confusing, especially if you do not have adequate information to guide you. Well, here are some of the first things you should do anytime you are in such a situation in Tampa:
Stay Calm and Assess Yourself for Injuries or Pains
Of course, you should know that your safety should remain a priority in all situations. So, the first thing you should do in a hit-and-run accident is to remain calm and check your body for any signs of injury.
Once you have confirmed that you are okay, you can also check around to confirm that other parties in the crash are fine. Perhaps, someone has been badly injured in the accident. In that case, you should help them by offering first aid until emergency workers arrive.
Contact Local Authorities
After checking your body for injuries, your next step should be to contact local authorities. This includes the police and road safety agencies. It is essential to make this call as soon as possible so they can come and collect evidence before anything is tampered with. Also, the sooner authorities arrive at the scene, the easier it is for them to meet and interview eyewitnesses for their report.
More importantly, contacting the police in time will make tracking the runaway driver and car easier. So, describe as many details as you can remember about the car and driver to the authorities once they arrive.
Contact a Hit-and-Run Lawyer in Tampa
Another crucial step after a Tampa hit-and-run accident is contacting a hit-and-run lawyer in Tampa. Doing this as quickly as possible will boost your chances of winning the claim. It will also help to reduce your confusion on how best to proceed with the accident claim.
You should know that these lawyers are often very experienced handling hit-and-run accident cases. As such, they already know the best way to approach your case. This means they will properly guide you on the best actions to take at each stage of the case until its conclusion. So, the earlier you contact them, the better it will be for you.
What if You Know the Registration Number of the Evading Vehicle?
One of the best things you can do in a hit-and-run accident situation is to identify and obtain the registration number of the fleeing vehicle. Doing this will make identifying the at-fault driver a breeze. Then, you only have to contact the local Insurance Regulatory Authority, which will track the driver’s details with this number. These details will include the driver’s name and insurance details.
You can file a compensation claim directly to the driver’s Compulsory Third Party Insurer with the information you have gotten from the regulatory authority. This means that you can still get a fair settlement for your damages. However, you should have a good personal injury lawyer’s guide to maximize this window.
What if You are Unable to Identify the Hit-and-Run Driver?
Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to identify or track a hit-and-run driver sometimes. However, if this is the case, you still do not have to worry much. This is because you can still file a claim for personal injuries and damages from the accident. This type of claim is often referred to as a “Nominal Defendant Case.” It is funded by a separate body, a Compulsory Third Party.
A good hit-and-run lawyer should help you navigate all the processes involved in making a Nominal Defendant Claim quickly after the accident.
We have established that the processes involved in filing for a hit-and-run accident claim can be pretty complicated, even more than some other accident types. This is because you are often left to navigate the situation alone, considering that the other driver has fled. This article has also provided enough information to guide you on what to do, especially when in Tampa.
Moreover, you can contact us at Coleman Law Group today. Rest assured that you will find the right hit-and-run lawyer for your case.