Under a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling, it may become difficult to hold a driver accountable for a hit-and-run accident.
According to the ruling, drivers cannot be prosecuted for leaving an accident without proof that they knew they were actually involved in the car accident. The Supreme Court’s ruling sided with an appeals court decision involving a South Florida man, Zachariah Dorsett, who hit a skateboarder while driving in the rain.
Dorsett was originally sentenced to two years in prison for fleeing the scene of the accident that caused the 15-year-old victim traumatic brain injury. However, the appeals court overturned the decision because the jury was never asked to consider whether Dorsett had known he was involved in the auto accident.
Under the ruling, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver had knowledge of the crash before they can be convicted. Opponents to the decision argue that the ruling may make it easy for hit-and-run offenders to get away with this type of crime, allowing them to claim innocence by simply stating their ignorance.
Hit-and-run car accidents are prevalent in North Miami Beach. Florida is ranked one of the most dangerous states in the nation for these types of accidents. In the past, if a driver left the scene of a car accident that caused injury or death without providing information, they could be charged with a felony. Under the Supreme Court’s new ruling, however, perpetrators may be allowed to go unpunished simply by claiming they didn’t see a victim. When released back on our roads with minimal consequences, reckless and careless drivers can continue to make Florida roadways more hazardous for their fellow drivers.
Whether the driver was aware of their involvement or not, a hit-and-run accident can be devastating to its victims. Even if the driver is not arrested for the criminal offense of a hit-and-run, you should be able to secure compensation from their insurance company for medical bills, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. If the guilty driver is never identified and located, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages from uninsured motorist insurance or personal injury protection coverage.
The laws surrounding hit-and-run cases are generally more complex than other types of car accidents, which is why it’s highly advisable to hire a Florida accident attorney with experience in these types of cases. Below, we’ve explained some of the key ways a lawyer can help assist you in pursuing maximum compensation for medical fees and other losses.
Locating the at-fault driver. If you enlist the aid of a lawyer immediately after an accident, he or she may be able to assist you in identifying and locating the at-fault driver.
Identifying all avenues of recovery. An experienced attorney can review the circumstances and help you identify and seek recovery against all applicable avenues, from the at-fault driver’s insurance to your own uninsured motorist coverage.
Holding the at-fault driver for a hit-and-run crime. In addition, if you believe the driver was fully aware of his or her involvement in the accident that caused you or a loved one injury, a car accident attorney may be able to help you demonstrate this in court and hold them accountable for their criminal actions. If your injuries were exacerbated by the lack of immediate assistance due to the at-fault driver fleeing the scene, you may be awarded restitution if the driver is convicted.