A tragic accident occurred in Miami Beach, Florida, when a young man on vacation was hit by a BMW and killed by the impact. The driver, who was speeding at about 100 miles per hour, fled the scene. The at-fault driver was responsible for a devastating loss, and didn’t have the decency to remain at the scene of the accident and face what he had done. This is the kind of story that infuriates the family of the victim, the community where the accident occurred, and the auto accident lawyers of Miami, Florida.
Morality and Legality of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Anyone who is in a car accident, especially when someone has been seriously injured, is morally and legally obligated to remain at the scene. When a person has been struck by a vehicle, they are likely to endure life threatening injuries, and to leave the scene of the accident demonstrates that you have no moral care or concern for the value of human life. Florida Statute § 316.027(2)(a) indicates your legal obligation to remain at the scene as such:
Anyone involved in a car accident, “… which results in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash … and shall remain at the scene of the crash …” The law further states that anyone who ” … willfully violates this paragraph commits a felony of the third degree…”
Regardless of how the accident occurred, and no matter how desperate the situation may seem, you can only make things worse by leaving the scene of the crash. You may think that you can avoid facing the consequences of your action, but in reality, you are only ensuring that your crime is elevated to a felony offense.
Legal Rights of Injured Parties in Hit-and-Run Accidents
If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a loved one to a hit-and-run accident, you have a legal right to receive financial compensation for your damages from the at-fault driver. Compensatory damages and punitive damages are both accessible to victims of hit-and-run accidents.
The aim of compensatory damages will be to restore you to where you were prior to the accident. This means that your medical expenses and lost wages should be covered. You can also seek non-economic compensatory damages, like pain and suffering. Learn more about compensatory damages by reading Florida Statute § 768.118
Because of the moral obligation to remain at the scene of an accident, if the at-fault driver flees the scene, demonstrating indifference to the value of human life, the victims can also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment for the at-fault party and will be accessible to victims who have suffered from heinous and reckless behavior from the at-fault driver. The goal of these damages is to send the message that the at-fault driver cannot behave in such an immoral manner and get away with it.
Compensatory damages and punitive damages are both available to the surviving loved ones of a victim who lost his or her life to a hit-and-run accident. Some examples of damages that can be pursued in this case include funeral expenses, loss of service and loss of consortium.
When Should You Call a Miami Auto Accident Lawyer?
Any time you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, or have a loved one who was killed or seriously injured by a hit-and-run accident, you are wise to contact a Miami auto accident lawyer right away. You can get a free and confidential consultation and advice about how to move forward in your case. The sooner you contact an attorney, the stronger your case will be.