Finding and Holding a Hit and Run Driver Accountable
When a driver leaves an injured, or a potentially dying or dead, victim by the side of the road simply because they do not want to get in trouble, they are committing a crime. More than that, they are violating a moral code that humans have towards one another to provide life saving aid and to not simply look out for one’s own best interests. If you are the victim of a hit and run collision, your outrage at the party who fled the scene is entirely understandable. Whether police have caught the guilty party, are still searching, or have given up hope for finding the individual, you need to talk to an attorney.
Hit and Run Crashes and Fatalities Are on the Rise
According to a AAA study and ABC News, hit and run fatalities and collisions overall are rising dramatically. From 2009 to 2016, hit and run fatalities rose by 62 percent. Over 2,000 people are killed in hit and run crashes annually, while there was a staggering total of 737,100 hit and run crashes in 2016, the most recent year for NHTSA numbers.
Florida is One of the Worst States When it Comes to Hit and Runs
According to the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Palm Beach Post, 25 percent of all crashes in Florida are hit and run collisions. Of the 177 fatal hit and run crashes in Florida in 2017, 56 percent of victims were cyclists and pedestrians.
Pedestrians and Cyclists are the Most Common Victims
Hit and runs affect a disproportionate number of cyclists and pedestrians. In 65 percent of fatal hit and runs, pedestrians and bicyclists are the victims. They are so prevalent among pedestrians that hit and run crashes account for nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths. Read another way, one in five pedestrians who is killed by a driver is left at the scene to die. Only one percent of vehicle occupant fatalities are hit and runs. Drivers who hit vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians feel that they can get away—unlike in a car vs car crash where both vehicles are damaged—and a large number of them take that chance and end up fleeing the scene.
How Often are Hit and Run Drivers Caught?
Unfortunately, the chances of tracking down a hit and run driver is small. Hopefully police have found the person who fled the scene in your case. For most victims, however, this is usually not the case. While government statistics do not appear to exist when it comes to the percentage of hit and runs solved, the following is an estimate from various sources of data. Here in Florida, there are over 105,000 hit and run crashes in 2019, according to WTSP News. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 5,480 hit and run violations in 2019. That means that only 5.2 percent of hit and run crashes lead to an arrest. Moreover, only half of those citations lead to a “fleeing the scene” guilty charge. As such, only 2.5 percent of hit and run drivers in Florida are charged with the crime they commit. It is very difficult to locate hit and run drivers, particularly when it is not a high priority of law enforcement. If the hit and run is not solved in a few weeks, there is a very small chance that it will ever be solved. Yet, that does not mean that you should give up hope, or that you should let the police ease efforts on your case.
When the Hit and Run Perpetrator Is Never Found, Use Your UM Coverage
If you are fortunate enough to have purchased Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and the person who hit you and caused the crash is never found, you can at least pursue compensation with your own insurance policy. You still need an attorney in order to be fully and fairly compensated, however. Your insurer may deny your claim or try to reduce your claim’s value, which is why it is best to reach out to an attorney as soon as this process begins.
Our Naples Hit and Run Collision Attorneys Can Help Make You Whole Again
Victims of hit and run collisions deserve maximum compensation, and potentially punitive damages on top of everything else. Contact the Naples personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. today at 239-649-8050 to schedule a free consultation.