Here’s a hypothetical situation. You’re driving in the environs around St. Augustine and another vehicle crashes into you and leaves the scene. How will you get full compensation for damage and possible injuries you’ve suffered? As we noted in a previous post, this amounts to a hit-and-run accident. No one imagines that such a thing will happen to them, but such collisions do occur. It’s hard to call them accidents since the perpetrator has chosen to commit a crime by fleeing.
In some states, that might pretty much be the end of things. Authorities might try to locate the other driver and they might succeed. Even if they do, though, there’s a good chance the individual will not have even the minimum insurance required by law. In Florida, it might be possible to recover from what’s called the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund. An experienced attorney can help decipher what’s possible.
Certain restrictions may apply
The range of issues for which a victim of a hit-and- run accident might make a claim is quite broad. If you incur medical expenses, suffer a loss of wages, face burial costs for a loved one or significant property damage, you may be able to seek compensation. It starts with going to your insurance company. The trust fund could be tapped, but certain eligibility requirements exist.
- Police have to have a formal criminal complaint on file within 72 hours of the event
- Any claim for trust fund compensation must be made within one year of the crash, or two years with a granted extension
- The victim can’t have contributed to events that resulted in the injury or death or been engaged in criminal activity at the time
Recovery for physical and emotional suffering, even after a hit-and-run crash, can be complex but not impossible. Those with skill in this area of legal practice also know it is easy for victims to underestimate how much total compensation they might require and so stand ready to offer assistance on a free consultation basis.