A 56 year-old bicyclist was the victim of a hit and run in Orlando late last week. The accident happened at approximately 7:45am along an industrial stretch of Taft-Vineland Road. There were no eye witnesses to the accident; however, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) was able to obtain a grainy video showing a gas-tanker approaching the victim. Once the tanker moves past the area, the cyclist is no longer visible. Unfortunately, the quality of the video does not lend itself to identifying the tanker in any way.
Hit and run accidents occur when a driver collides with a person or a fixture and fails to stop and notify the appropriate authorities. All jurisdictions consider this a crime, but finding the perpetrator can be difficult and in the absence of witnesses, seeking and securing justice becomes a daunting ordeal for law enforcement as well as the victim and loved-ones.
In 2012 alone, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported the number of hit-and-run crashes reached nearly 70,000 – equating to pedestrians struck in hit-and-run crashes accounting for 60% of all fatalities. That is a huge number and leaders at FHP insist the number is still growing, citing the investigation of 20-25 cases per day in Central Florida alone – up from approximately 10 per day five years ago. These numbers tell us that a great many people are leaving the accident scene instead of stopping and reporting the incident – and even worse – they are failing to provide assistance for the injured. So, why do people leave?
When asked why hit-and-run drivers flee, Dr. Paul Clements, Associate Clinical Professor at Drexel University said, “A lot of the people who are doing these kinds of things have some sort of personality issues.” He believes the perpetrator blames the victim for getting in their way and causing the accident or feels the victim should have been paying better attention. Clements admits that there is usually no malicious intent; just a deep desire for self-preservation. When faced with the choice of dealing with the legal repercussions of having hit someone or fleeing the scene without consequence, the driver chooses the latter. It comes down to a lack of good moral judgment.
Unfortunately, the victim is not usually in a position to simply get up and leave the accident scene. There are injuries to be dealt with. Even worse, the accident could result in death. Florida law requires drivers to stop, remain at the scene, and provide reasonable assistance to injured parties. Leaving the scene carries varied penalties – ranging from misdemeanor to felony charges – depending upon the level of property damage or injury involved.
If you or a loved-one has been the victim of this type of bicycle accident, you need the right team of personal-injury attorneys to help fight to bring you justice. The lawyers at Steinger, Iscoe, and Greene fill this role each day and have a wealth of knowledge and resources to help get you and your loved-ones the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a no obligation case evaluation.