Hit-and-Runs on the Rise in Florida
Hit-and-run accidents are a major issue in the State of Florida, and these accidents result in many injuries and fatalities each year. Pedestrians and bicyclists are especially susceptible to hit-and-run accidents, and Florida had more fatal bicycle accidents than any other state in 2009 and was second only to California in pedestrian fatalities that year.
Duval County has consistently reported some of the highest hit-and-run numbers in the State of Florida. For instance, in 2008, Duval County reported the third-highest number of hit-and-runs even though the county’s population is seventh largest in the state. While Jacksonville has a busy downtown area, officials indicate that many hit-and run accidents occur in Duval County’s various rural areas that do not have sidewalks. Some officials blame the increase in hit-and-run accidents on the use of cell phones while driving. Technology now provides more modes of distraction, leading many drivers to be oblivious to their surroundings.
Under Florida law, leaving the scene of a hit and run is a misdemeanor offense when no injuries occur. However, if injuries occur, the offense becomes a felony. A driver who leaves the scene of a fatality faces first-degree felony charges, and the penalty for leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and- run can be up to 30 years in prison.
Unfortunately for many victims, hit-and-run perpetrators are often unidentifiable. Because accident witnesses typically focus on the victim, it can be difficult to collect helpful information or evidence.
While many hit-and-run cases are difficult to litigate, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run, it is important to hire an experienced Jacksonville auto accident attorney who has the experience and tenaciousness to track down the perpetrator and fight to maximize your compensation.