With the recent news that a Sebring teenager was severely injured in a hit and run, it is important to know what your rights are in such an accident and what you can do to protect yourself.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that most of the money for injuries sustained in an accident involving a motor vehicle are paid for by your household’s motor vehicle insurance and in order to collect pain and suffering or other damages, you have to meet a threshold in the severity of your injury. In a case such as a hit and run, where the driver of the vehicle that caused the injury is not able to be found, a victim is limited to getting medical bills and related expenses paid for, but cannot collect pain and suffering damages unless the driver can be found.
In the case in Sebring, this was a pedestrian, not someone in another vehicle. However, under no-fault law, if someone is injured at all by a vehicle, their injuries must be covered under the policy that covers their household vehicles. Under their no-fault policy, medical bills, lost wages, replacement services and other direct expenses must be covered. This can greatly help someone that has a lot of medical bills related to a hit and run such as the teenager in Sebring who had major back injuries and a long hospitalization.
If the driver can be found, they would be liable for pain and suffering damages in this case because the injuries are severe and most likely permanent. In Florida, like other no-fault states, there has to be a severity of injuries to go after another party for damages outside of those mentioned above.
What one has to keep in mind, however, is that the minimum coverage that a driver has to have in Florida is only $10,000. What this means is that you try to sue a driver in a pedestrian related accident you may be limited in the amount of money that you get if they only carry the state minimum. It is for that reason that you should always carry uninsured/underinsured insurance along with your own policy. For a few dollars extra a month, you can be covered for extra expenses that arise out of your injury, even if the other driver has no insurance or only has the state minimum. This is very important with a statutory minimum insurance coverage of only $10,000 as it can help cover the gap between what the driver’s insurance will cover and what the actual damages are.
The problem of where a person injured in a hit and run can be complicated in a case of someone that has no household vehicle that is covered by insurance. Usually in the case of an accident like this, a person injured as a pedestrian would be covered by the driver’s insurance. However if the driver cannot be found because they flee the scene, it is important that the person injured contact an attorney so that a proper party can be found to cover the injuries sustained in an accident.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, it is important to protect your rights and contact a lawyer right away. There may be time limitations for filing a claim and the longer you go without a lawyer, the more chances there are that evidence will be lost or witnesses will disappear. Contact Brooks Law Group for a free consultation today at 888-WE-MEAN-IT (888-936-3264).