Did you sustain injuries in a hit and run car accident? Do you need help with your legal case? If so, contact Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., and we’ll recover the compensation you deserve for the suffering you experienced. Our team of legal professionals has the experience, knowledge, and resources to investigate the cause of your car crash and locate the at-fault driver. We’ll fight hard to hold them accountable for their actions. If we’re unable to track them down, we’ll explore other options for pursuing financial compensation.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, the other party could face a misdemeanor or felony charge. Leaving the scene is a crime in Florida and comes with penalties ranging from a fine to prison time. When you hire us, we’ll begin working on your case immediately and resolve it efficiently. We’ll provide you with ongoing guidance and support from start to finish.
If you’re ready to seek justice for your hit and run car crash, call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. at 561.689.8180. One of our West Palm Beach hit and run accident lawyers will be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.
Collect Crucial Evidence at the Scene of the Crash
Hit and run accidents are difficult to prove. Since you don’t know who the driver is, you have to collect as much evidence as possible to show you weren’t responsible for your injuries.
Before you look around for useful evidence, you should call 911 and wait for an officer to arrive to perform an investigation. They will write a traffic crash report that you can request a copy of when available online. On it, you’ll find necessary details, such as:
- Names and phone numbers of witnesses
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Contact information for anyone else hurt as a result of the crash
- Type and area of damage to your car
- Description of events
- Determination of fault
While you’re at the accident scene, you should take pictures of everything around you, including your vehicle damage, damage to things like street signs, road debris, and skid marks. Photos can tell a story, and if you provide them to the insurance company, it might convince them that you didn’t cause the accident yourself.
You can also collect physical evidence you find nearby. Maybe a piece of the other driver’s taillight broke off during the collision. That could help law enforcement track down the vehicle. Bloody or torn clothing could also serve as proof that you got hurt.
Get Witnesses On Your Side
During your case, it’s important to remember that the insurance company is looking out for themselves first. Their priority is to save money and pay out as little as possible in a settlement. If they can find a legitimate reason to deny your insurance claim, they will. That’s why you should hire an experienced West Palm Beach hit and run accident lawyer to assist you with your case.
If anyone saw the accident occur, you’ll need to write down their names and phone numbers while you’re at the crash scene. If your injuries prevented you from getting up or you were unconscious, we’ll look at the traffic crash report for their information. We’ll be able to track them down and obtain an eyewitness statement.
Providing an eyewitness statement to the insurance company can strengthen your case. If multiple people can back up your recollection of events leading up to the crash, the more likely it is that the insurance company will settle your claim.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
As soon as you leave the accident scene, it would help if you went to the hospital or your medical center to treat your injuries. The doctor will perform an evaluation and come up with a diagnosis. If they determine you need follow up care, they will refer you to specific medical providers or facilities. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might require ongoing physical therapy or a surgical procedure.
Insurance companies will often deny claims or provide a low settlement offer when there’s a gap in treatment. They’ll assume that the accident victim is lying about their injuries, or they’re not severe enough to require medical treatment.
You should seek medical attention right after leaving the accident scene. Don’t wait for days or weeks before seeing a doctor to discuss your injuries. You must also show up for every appointment and don’t allow more than a month to pass between them. Insurance adjusters will look at your sparse treatment schedule as proof that medical intervention isn’t necessary for your recovery.
How to Hold the Hit and Run Driver Liable
Florida follows a no-fault system that allows your own auto insurance company to cover payment of your medical bills and other associated costs. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident, and you don’t have to submit evidence proving fault.
If you want to hold the other driver financially responsible for your losses, your injury must meet at least one of the following thresholds:
- Bone fracture;
- A significant limitation of a bodily system or function;
- Significant disfigurement,
- Permanent impairment of a body organ or member; or
- Full disability for 90 days.
To seek compensation from the at-fault party, you can file a claim with their auto insurance carrier. Liability insurance can compensate injured victims for their damages after a car crash up to policy limits. Damages are the losses associated with an accident or injury.
When filing a liability claim, you can seek the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket costs
- Car repair or replacement expense
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
You also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the other driver. There’s a deadline you must follow, known as a statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for car accidents is four years. That means you must sue the at-fault party within four years of the crash date to be eligible for a financial award.
Most people use the legal theory of negligence to prove someone else should pay for their damages. Negligence is a person’s failure to exercise a degree of care a reasonable person would exercise under similar circumstances to prevent another from harm. There are five elements you must establish to prove the hit and run driver was negligent:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a reasonable duty of care to prevent an injury;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty:
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their actions, you wouldn’t have suffered harm;
- Proximate cause: Their breach was the direct cause of your injury; and
- Damages: You incurred damages from the accident.
Pursuing Compensation When the Hit and Run Driver Isn’t Identified
Unfortunately, there are times when law enforcement isn’t able to determine who caused the crash. If your West Palm Beach hit and run accident lawyer and the police department can’t track down the driver, you still have legal options for compensation of your damages.
Personal injury protection (PIP) is the initial coverage you can turn to under Florida’s no-fault rules. State laws require all motorists to purchase a $10,000 minimum limit. The following damages are available when filing a PIP claim:
- Medical expenses, such as out of pocket costs, prescription medications, and physical therapy (up to 80% of the insurance limit)
- Lost wages (up to 60% of the insurance limit)
- Reimbursement of mileage to drive to and from doctors appointments
- Up to $5,000 in death benefits (for surviving family members of the deceased victim)
Typically, $10,000 isn’t enough to cover all medical expenses and lost wages. If you require additional compensation, you can use the UM coverage on your policy. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM) provides accident victims with an insurance settlement when one of the following situations occurs:
- The at-fault driver doesn’t have liability insurance;
- The at-fault driver’s liability coverage isn’t high enough for the injured party’s total damages; or
- The accident victim’s damages are the result of an unidentified hit and run driver.
If you choose to file a UM claim, you can seek the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Speak With a Dedicated West Palm Beach Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
At Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., we understand the effects of a car crash. It’s especially traumatic when the person who caused it decided to drive off without checking if you’re okay. You shouldn’t be liable for the resulting injuries and expenses. You have the right to hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions and fight for the justice you deserve.
When you hire us, we’ll work hard to recover the maximum financial compensation you need. You might face financial hardships while paying for your medical treatment. Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys will make sure the insurance company provides a full and fair settlement for all your past and future damages.
Call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. today at 561.689.8180 if you were the victim of a hit and run car accident in West Palm Beach. We’ll schedule your free consultation to discuss the details of your case and provide legal advice.