The hit-and-run investigation process involves police visiting the accident scene and witnesses giving statements about what they saw. Law enforcement may also review surveillance videos in an attempt to locate the at-fault driver. This information can help our legal team determine who to hold accountable for your accident-related damages.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that thousands of people are injured each year in hit-and-run crashes. If you were hurt in such an accident, our hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you seek compensation. We will work to identify the liable party.
What Goes Into a Hit-and-Run Accident Investigation?
When you notify police of a hit-and-run accident, they begin a multi-step investigation to identify the driver. Since leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, the results of the investigation give police the information they need to pursue criminal charges.
The police investigation can also provide the details you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim against the responsible party. Some of the steps that go into a hit-and-run investigation may include:
Police Respond to the Scene
If you are struck or injured by a hit-and-run driver, call 911 immediately from the scene, if possible. The local authorities will come to the scene to begin their investigation. They will examine the scene of the accident for evidence and take your statement about how the accident occurred.
Responding Officers Take Witness Statements
If there were witnesses who saw the accident, the responding officers will take statements. Between your statement and statements from witnesses, law enforcement aims to obtain enough information to identify the hit-and-run driver. Although the license plate number is the most common way to identify the perpetrator of a hit-and-run, police may also use descriptions of the vehicle and driver.
Investigators Review Video Surveillance
If there are no eyewitnesses, or if witnesses do not provide enough detail to identify the hit-and-run driver, officers may secure video surveillance from traffic cameras, dash cams, CCTV, and security footage from nearby businesses. Depending on the location, there could be enough video evidence to reliably identify the perpetrator.
Law Enforcement Officers Create a Traffic Crash Report
Using all the information they gathered from the accident scene, the investigating officers will file a Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form in accordance with Florida Statutes § 316.066. The crash report will include:
- The date and time of the crash
- Where the accident occurred
- Vehicle description and license plate number
- Names and addresses of the people involved
- Witness names and contact information
- Insurance information
The crash report will also include the investigating officer’s name and badge numbers, so you can contact them with questions. In the event of a hit-and-run, the officer will provide as much information as possible.
Law Enforcement Contacts the Responsible Party
If the investigators identify the driver responsible for the hit-and-run accident, they will try to contact them either in writing or in person to discuss the case. Depending on the severity of the hit-and-run accident, they may take the driver into custody.
Police File Criminal Charges Against the Hit-and-Run Driver
A hit-and-run is a serious crime in Florida. The seriousness of criminal charges varies depending on the amount of damage or injury the hit-and-run driver caused. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), penalties for a Florida hit-and-run include:
- Property damage: A hit-and-run that causes property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum $500 fine and up to 60 days in prison.
- Bodily injury: A hit-and-run driver who injures someone faces second or third-degree felony charges, license revocation for at least three years, and a maximum of 5 years in prison. They will also be charged a fine of up to $5,000.
- Fatality: If a hit-and-run accident causes someone’s death, the driver faces a first-degree felony. Their license will be revoked for at least three years, and they will face a minimum of 4 years of prison time up to 30 years. Fines for first-degree felony hit-and-runs may be as much as $10,000.
Criminal charges are brought by the authorities. The criminal proceedings are separate from any civil actions brought by the victim or their loved ones for personal injury or wrongful death compensation. Our hit-and-run accident attorney can provide additional details about the investigation process.
For a free legal consultation, call 863-250-5050
Filing a Civil Claim After the Hit-and-Run Investigation Process
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Florida hit-and-run accident, you can use the results of the investigation to support your civil claim. A personal injury lawsuit lets you pursue compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering following a hit-and-run accident injury.
If you lost someone you love in a hit-and-run accident, you can also use the investigation details to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages you could seek in a wrongful death lawsuit include funeral and burial costs, medical expenses associated with your loved one’s fatal injuries, loss of companionship, and emotional anguish.
Our Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You With Your Florida Hit-and-Run Case
Pursuing a personal injury case after a hit-and-run accident can be complicated. Instead of trying to navigate the hit-and-run investigation process on your own, let an attorney familiar with personal injury law help you.
The skilled hit-and-run attorneys at Dismuke Law can provide a free case review to help you understand the hit-and-run investigation process and decide on your next steps. Contact our team today to get started on your case.