Hit and Run Accidents
The injuries, medical bills, and property damage that can result from even a minor motor vehicle collision can cause a major upheaval in a person’s life. A hit and run accident may be even more stressful and complicated. If you or a family member has been the victim of a careless or reckless driver who fled the scene of a car accident without stopping to check on the victim, the Pembroke Pines hit and run accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith are here to help you as you pursue damages from those responsible for your harm.Holding Hit and Run Drivers Liable for Your Injuries
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that the number of hit and run crashes is on the rise, with approximately one in four Florida car accidents being designated as a hit and run. Between 2012 and 2014, there were nearly a quarter of a million hit and runs in Florida, many of which involved serious injuries or death for other motorists or pedestrians. Because of this growing problem, the state of Florida passed the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act” in 2014. In accidents in which someone has been seriously hurt, the Act requires the drivers of the involved vehicles to stop immediately and to remain at the scene. Failure to do can result in a felony conviction, time in jail, and the loss of driving privileges.
While these criminal penalties may serve to deter some drivers from fleeing the scene after an accident, they do very little to compensate the victim of such a crash. To pursue a monetary judgment against a hit and run driver, a person who is hurt must pursue a negligence action against the driver in civil court. In a negligence case, the person seeking to recover usually must show four key elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim;
- The defendant breached the duty of care;
- The accident was caused by the defendant’s breach; and
- The claimant incurred quantifiable damages.
If all four elements of negligence are proven, the question then becomes the amount of damages to which the injured person (or the estate of a person killed in a wrongful death case) may be entitled. Depending on the circumstances, these damages may include payment of medical expenses for injuries caused by the accident, reimbursement for lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, and compensation for pain and suffering. Different types of damages may be available in wrongful death actions, including payment of funeral and burial expenses as well as loss of support and services and loss of companionship and protection in some cases.Avoid Delay When Filing a Claim
There are several important deadlines that may play a role in a hit and run case. First, there is the general four-year personal injury statute of limitations that covers most car accident cases. There is also a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death actions. In cases that must proceed against the claimant’s own uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance company because the driver cannot be located or lacks the proper insurance, another time limit may apply. Since there are so many potential pitfalls in these types of cases, it is imperative that a person who has been injured or lost a family member in a hit and run accident retain counsel as soon as possible after the crash. A delay in seeking counsel can be costly in terms of spoliation of evidence and other important issues. Furthermore, it takes time to investigate and pursue any type of personal injury case, and a delay in hiring an attorney means a delay in getting the case settled or tried in front of a jury, if necessary.Contact an Experienced Hit and Run Accident Lawyer in Pembroke Pines
The attorneys at Cohn & Smith are experienced in all of the nuances and complications that may arise in hit and run crash cases. Our injury lawyers have decades of combined experience helping residents of Pembroke Pines and the surrounding cities seek the maximum payout available after a motor vehicle collision. We will be glad to put our experience to work for you as you seek compensation for your harm or your loved one’s wrongful death. Many of our clients have come from Davie, Aventura, and Hollywood, among other Florida communities. Call our Pembroke Pines hit and run accident lawyers today at 954-431-8100 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.