After most traffic accidents in Miami, you can usually get the insurance and contact information of the other driver so you can take legal action if necessary. But hit and run accidents are much more complicated. Because you generally don’t know who it was that hit you, you can’t take legal action against them unless the police catch them later.
It’s important for you to understand that YOU SHOULD NOT CHASE THE OTHER DRIVER! Doing so constitutes leaving the scene of the accident, which is illegal according to Florida Statutes 316.061 and 316.063. Not to mention, chasing another driver is highly dangerous. Instead, call 911 with as much information as you can about the other car, including what part of their car may be damaged. That can help the police track down the other driver.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident in Miami
In the meantime, you should speak to a Miami car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you understand your legal options after a hit and run accident, including:
1. Using Your Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Every driver registered in Florida is legally obligated to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Under this no-fault insurance law, drivers can receive compensation for their injuries. However, PIP will only cover 80% of your medical treatments, if the treatment is considered an emergency. Otherwise, you will only receive $2,500 in compensation.
PIP will also cover some of your lost wages. Under Florida law, PIP will cover 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. Your policy will cover actual lost wages, as well as daily tasks like housekeeping that you are unable to handle due to your injuries.
Finally, if your loved one is killed in a hit and run accident in Miami, PIP will cover some of the associated expenses. The decedent’s next of kin is entitled to $5,000 to cover funeral and burial expenses, end-of-life medical costs, and lost wages.
2. Using Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Though not required by law, it’s always a good idea to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage covers you if the driver you’re in a wreck with doesn’t have insurance, as the name implies. It will also cover you if you are involved in a hit and run accident since you technically can’t get compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
The compensation you receive will depend on the amount of coverage you carry. Generally, UM coverage is equal to your liability coverage. If your insurance company refuses to give you compensation through your UM coverage, an experienced car accident lawyer in Miami can take on the insurer to get the compensation you deserve.
3. Filing a Personal Injury Claim
In some cases, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. However, this only applies if the police find the other driver. What’s more, that other driver must be at least partially at fault for the accident. Florida follows a pure comparative negligence statute, which means you can receive compensation for injuries after a wreck, even if you were partially at fault. However, the amount you receive will be lessened by the percentage you were at fault.
In addition, you can’t file a lawsuit unless your medical and other expenses covered by PIP is above $10,000. While this may seem like a high standard, consider the fact that serious accidents can lead to medical expenses well over $50,000. As such, a personal injury lawsuit after a car wreck isn’t all that rare, even in Florida where PIP is mandatory.
How a Miami Car Accident Attorney Can Help You After a Hit and Run Accident
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our Miami car accident lawyers are well-versed in the laws surrounding hit and run accidents. We’ve also taken on some of the biggest insurance companies in the country to make sure hit and run victims can get the compensation they deserve.
Every car accident case involves an investigation. We will work with local authorities and other professionals in hopes of finding the driver who caused your accident. If the other driver can’t be found, we will fight for every dollar you are owed by your insurance company, whether that’s just through PIP or also through uninsured motorist coverage.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, you have legal options. Our Miami car accident attorneys are here to help. Give us a call today at 800-560-5059 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will review your case at no cost to you to help you determine your best path forward.