A minivan carrying five people, including three children, was struck near Seventh Street and 22nd Avenue in Miami, Florida on November 5, 2011. After the crash, the driver of the car that struck them fled the scene. After driving approximately one block, that driver stopped his truck and ran away on foot. According to the police, he didn’t realize that he left his cell phone behind in his truck. Police were searching for his whereabouts.
This case brings up a few issues: Hit and run law, Car Accident claims, Punitive Damages, and Investigations.
Hit and Run Accident and Car Accident law in Florida
If you were injured in a hit and run, we are often asked who pays for what damages. Lets say the person who caused the accident is never caught. Your own insurance company in Florida would be responsible to pay for up to $10,000.00 of your medical bills and lost wages, subject to a deductible. Your medical bills are paid at 80% and your lost wages are paid at 60%. This is pursuant to your Personal Injury Protection benefits.
If you have health insurance, they should pick up the difference in your medical bills. In order to get money for pain and suffering, you would need to have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage would pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other out of pocket expenses under what we call Special Damages or Economic Damages, and would also pay you for your past pain and suffering and future pain and suffering, what we call Non-Economic Damages.
Punitive Damage Claim for Hit and Run
Florida law may allow you to get punitive damages if you were injured as a result of a hit and run driver. Insurance generally does not cover this, but there are some exceptions. You would generally have to prove that the person who caused the accident and fled the scene had a willful, wanton disregard for the safety of the public. It is fact specific and we may have to petition the Court to allow this type of claim. I’ve done this many, many times. Once we file a Motion with the Court to allow us to plead punitive damages and the Court grants it, the door is open for us to find out a financial picture of the person who caused the accident to determine their ability to pay a judgment or settlement.
Hit and Run Investigations
One of the most satisfying parts of my job is to catch someone who tried to get away with causing someone else injuries or, even worse, killing them. I have access to a plethora of investigative tools. With just a license plate number, we can often find out a person’s name, where they live, who their insurance company is, their criminal background, and many other details which help us to build a profile on them.
The Miami hit and run car accident will likely involve all of the above issues, as well as others. Now that the police have the vehicle located, that alone should allow them to find the vehicle owner. Running the vehicle’s license plate should give them the starting point to finding the hit and run driver and holding him responsible for hurting this family. His insurance should cover the medical bills and pain and suffering of this family, and he may even be subjected to punitive damages.
If you ever have questions on your hit and run accident or car accident in Florida, feel free to call me at 800-337-7755 or submit your question online. It’s always a free consultation.