Tragic Hit and Run Crash Takes Three Lives
As utility workers stood in a ditch trying to restore electricity alongside State Road 77, a vehicle towing a U-Haul came careening toward them. With no time to react, the three workers didn’t stand a chance. All three died soon after the collision. And the driver? The maddening fact is that the driver was intoxicated, and fled the scene. He was later arrested and charged with felony vehicular homicide, felony DUI manslaughter, and felony leaving the scene of an accident. Three families and three communities are reeling from the loss of loved ones. If you find yourself suffering due to a hit and run driver, securing the services of an accomplished personal injury attorney could be a smart move for you.
Remain on the Scene
For years now, about a quarter of all crashes in Florida involve drivers who flee the scene following an accident. Thankfully, the majority of these cases involve simply property damage, such as dings and dents in parking lots. According to Florida statute, drivers are required to leave a note with contact information and a license plate number in such situations.
All to often, however, injuries and deaths are left in the aftermath. Florida law requires drivers to remain on the scene of an accident. In addition to exchanging names, addresses, insurance and registration information, drivers are required to provide reasonable assistance and to get medical support if anyone is injured. Even if there are no injuries, the accident must be reported if property damage exceeds $500.
If the vehicle is blocking traffic and is able to be driven to the side of the road, this should be done as soon as possible. If the vehicle is incapacitated, a tow truck should be called.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene
A 2012 hit and run incident involving a young father who was on his bicycle inspired the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act. This law assigns a mandatory minimum sentence of four years, and as many as 30 years in prison, along with a fine of $10,000, for any driver who is convicted of fleeing the scene of a fatal accident.
The penalty for leaving an accident that caused only property damage is a possible 60-day prison stint and $500 fine. For leaving an accident involving injuries, one faces as much as five years behind bars, along with a $5,000 fine.
In addition to these penalties, restitution may be ordered to address the expenses faced by victims, particularly if outcomes were significantly worsened due to the perpetrator’s leaving the scene.
Following a Hit and Run
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit and run accident, your frustration is justified. At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, our experienced legal team will conduct a thorough investigation and provide the aggressive legal fight you deserve. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.