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Hit-and-run accidents in Florida on the increase since 2012

Being involved in a car crash can be a frightening situation for all involved, especially if it was a serious accident involving severe injuries or fatalities. Drivers in such situations may be tempted to simply leave the scene of the crash, particularly when they were at fault. In fact, the number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida has become a real problem.

For five years now, the number of hit-and-run car accidents has increased in Florida. In 2012, there were approximately 72,000 hit-and-run accidents in the state. Four years later in 2016, that number rose to approximately 99,000. In fact, 25 percent of all accidents in the state in 2016 were hit-and-run crashes.

Back in February, the state had launched an initiative called "Stay At The Scene" to address the hit-and-run problem. The point of the initiative was to encourage motorists involved in car accidents to stay at the scene of the crash. However, according to a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, it is too soon to tell whether this initiative has been successful.

The spokesman also states that there are a number of reasons why motorists may flee the scene of the crash. Sometimes, the motorists are drunk or high. Sometimes, the motorists driver's license is currently under suspension. And, sometimes, the motorist does not carry car insurance.

With regard to hit-and-run accidents over the past five years, the number of fatal hit-and-run accidents has been on somewhat of a roller coaster. Five years ago, the state saw 160 fatal hit-and-run crashes. In 2013, that number had dropped to 149. Then, in 2014, that number increased to 184. The following year that number had gone up to 186. Finally, in 2016, that number dropped to 179.

Victims of hit-and-run accidents may feel at a loss when it comes to their legal options. After all, they have not had the opportunity to exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver, and, even if given the chance, they may not be able to identify the driver at all. However, they should not lose hope. Police investigators in Florida may utilize techniques that allow them to track down the at-fault driver. Witness accounts or tips from the public may also help officials find the at-fault driver. Once the driver is identified, it may be possible for the accident victim to pursue compensation for the damages they suffered.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Hit-and-run crashes on the rise in Florida," Tonya Alanez, June 27, 2017

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