It’s the question most people hope they never have to ask in their lifetime: how do you recover compensation if the other driver leaves?
In a lot of cases, this question means there was a hit-and-run accident. There was probably damage to your vehicle. But most importantly, it likely means that you suffered injuries too. Regardless of who was at fault, Florida law entitles you to compensation. But who pays and how do you recover damages?
Just because the driver left the scene of an accident does not mean you will have to shoulder the entire burden of your medical bills. That’s because, under Florida law, drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as well as $10,000 in property damage liability insurance.
PIP, as you may or may not know, will cover up to 80 percent of applicable medical expenses and 60 percent of your lost wages. If someone is killed in the crash, PIP will also provide $5,000 in death benefits.
Underinsured motorist (UM) insurance also applies in hit-and-run scenarios and is in addition to what PIP covers. It’s important to note, however, that UM insurance is not required in Florida. You must purchase this separately in order to have it applied in the event of an accident.
Since fleeing the scene of an accident is considered a crime in Florida (Florida Statutes 316.027 (2)(c)), hit-and-run victims also have the option of recovering compensation from the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund.
Making sure you get fair compensation
It’s very important to point out that just because compensation is available through PIP, UM insurance and the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are receiving the full compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are known to pushback on injury claims in hopes of settling for less or avoiding paying out altogether.
Only in-depth knowledge of your policy and personal injury law will ensure you are getting full compensation, which is why many hit-and-run victims turn to a qualified attorney to help them in these types of accident cases.