Experiencing a motorcycle accident can be horrifying. It becomes even more complicated when the other driver flees the scene. Even if you only suffer minimal injuries, you may still experience an overwhelming barrage of stress caused by the legal consequences of the accident. Though your physical wounds may be slight, you could suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.
Hit-and-Run Motorcycle Crashes in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 25 percent of Florida traffic accidents involve a driver who prematurely leaves the scene. The following statistics may help to put this percentage into perspective.
- Florida experienced 10,201 motorcycle accidents in 2015.
- More than 2,500 of these accidents were hit-and-runs.
- This statistic is an average culmination of both drivers and riders who fled. However, considering how the majority of motorcycle accidents result in severe rider injuries, it’s safe to assume that the drivers, rather than riders, are more likely to flee the majority of hit-and-run accidents that occur between motorcycles and cars. Motorcycle hit-and-runs generally involve pedestrians, not cars.
Hit and Run Liability and Consequences
It’s important to note that hit-and-run accidents are not only serious for the perpetrator but also complicated for the victim. Florida is a comparative fault state. Therefore, in the event of a hit-and-run, if the driver who caused the accident can’t be identified, you’ll most likely have to look to your insurance to cover the damages. For this type of situation, you’ll need to pursue an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.
If the driver who fled the scene can be identified by a license plate, witness statements, or other means, there's hope for justice. In addition to severe consequences for the driver, your claim settlement may also be greater as a result of the following driver punishments:
- Misdemeanor charge: For leaving the scene of an accident
- License revocation: At least three years for vehicular negligence.
- Fines: Up to 60 days in prison and $500 fine for leaving the scene, and up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for injury and malevolent disregard for human life.
- Second or third-degree felony charge: For negligence in causing injury and leaving a victim.
- Punitive damages: Fleeing a scene after hitting a motorcycle is morally unconscionable in the eyes of the law—the driver should have had a good reason to believe the victim might have been badly hurt and chose to disregard that reason for his own benefit. Therefore, abandoning an injured motorcyclist to fend for himself can lead to higher punitive damages than if he would have stayed to help.
Whether you can identify the hit-and-run assailant or a search is underway, Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. can help you pursue your claim to its fullest. With over 45 years of combined experience, our law firm has the knowledge, resources, and drive to make sure you’re not left alone in your fight. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.