It never ceases to amaze that someone would even consider leaving the scene of an
automobile accident given the harsh penalties for doing so under Florida law. Leaving the
scene of an auto accident where only property damage occurred carries
the most lenient penalties of up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and
up to six months of probation. Leaving the scene involving the death of
another person is a third degree felony. A person can receive 5 to 15
years in prison, 5 to 15 years of probation, and a $5,000-$10,000 fine.
That doesn’t seem to stop people from committing hit-and-runs. Several
accident have occurred recently in Florida involving a person directly
involved in an auto accident leaving the scene.
Katherine Godwin, 37, of Bradenton, was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk
of U.S. Highway 41 at 53rd Avenue East when she was struck by vehicle
that failed to stop for a red light. One witness described the suspect
vehicle as a blue Dodge Charger. Godwin was taken to a local hospital
where she was treated for minor injuries and released.
Police in Manatee Florida are looking for the driver of a 2006 Chrysler
300 that was last seen traveling north on 20th Street West. According
to police, witnesses said the driver was approaching the intersection
and was out of control, hitting a stop sign before striking two parked
vehicles. The driver then fled on foot. A witness stated that the driver
is a white male about 20 years old with dark hair. He was last seen wearing
blue jeans and a t-shirt.
The issue of hit-and-runs in South Florida have become so out of control
that Huffington Post even published several articles
dedicated to the subject. Miami-Dade County, Huffpost says, ranking highest in the state with 12,813
hit-and-run accidents in 2012.
The Sun Sentinel reported in December that between November 22nd and the
end of the year, at least six women and children were killed from hit-and-run
drivers in South Florida. Only two of the cases have seen arrests made
for the drivers.
On December 22nd, 2014, 15 year-old Khiar Raymond of Boynton Beach was
struck and killed by a female driver who is seen on security tape outside
the fire station in front of which the accident occurred stepping out
of her car, looking over the boy’s body, and then getting back in
her car and fleeing.
In Jupiter, 20 year-old Ashley Southard was struck by a driver on Indiantown
Road on Christmas Eve, who left her for dead. Thankfully, she survived,
but is in reportedly in serious condition, still recovering at St. Mary’s
Medical Center. Police are looking for the unknown driver, whom together
along with possible accomplices abandoned the black Toyota Tundra that
was used in the crime.
In both of these instances, the families of these victims should consider hiring a
wrongful death personal injury lawyer and an
auto accident lawyer.
Leaving the scene of a Florida accident laws have been put in place for
a reason. Most importantly, auto accidents often involve serious injuries
and you could provide critical first aid and save the injured person's
life. At the very least, you could use your cell phone to call 911, rushing
emergency personnel to the scene. If you leave the scene of an accident,
you could be leaving someone who is seriously injured alone to die.
If you or someone you know has lost a loved one as the result of an
auto accident with a hit-and-run or unknown driver, you should consider hiring a personal
injury lawyer immediately. We may be able to recover compensation from
an insurance company to pay for the injuries and treatment sustained,
even if the driver remains unknown. Hire a law firm with experience in
the area of law that governs unknown and hit-and-run drivers. Call 561-444-4440
to speak with a case specialist at our firm today.