South Florida: Record Hit-and-Runs & Increasing Insurance Rates
When it comes to bragging rights, South Florida has quite a few: among them are beautiful beaches and tropical weather. But unfortunately, as our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are also particularly notable in a not-so-pleasant category: number of Hit and Run Car Crashes per year.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach County, FL, ranked third in 2016 Florida hit-and-run crashes. Palm Beach was behind Miami-Dade and Broward counties which topped the the rankings. Astonishingly, there were, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, 7,694 hit-and-run accidents in Palm Beach County in 2016. As a result of the accidents, 102 people were injured and 12 more people were killed. The Sunshine State overall saw a dramatic increase in the number of hit-and-run car crashes. In 2016, there were more than 99,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida, up from under 77,000 in 2013.
This uptick in hit-and-run accidents is having serious effects on residents of the State of Florida. In addition to leaving individuals hurt and dead and families broken and grieving, they are also likely having an impact on the pocketbooks of residents who live and drive here. According to one study, Florida drivers are paying an average of $132 more in annual premiums in order to cover a driver not at fault in Jacksonville, FL. Additionally, according to the Palm Beach Post, “Florida drivers already pay among the nation’s top five highest premiums. Major insurers have raised [the required personal injury protection] rates in Florida 25 percent since the start of 2015.”
Driving negligently, hitting another vehicle and causing damage, and then fleeing the scene can lead to both criminal and civil liability. That is, state prosecutors can arrest the driver and charge them with the crime of leaving from the scene of an accident in which they were involved and the victim in the crash can bring a civil suit against the driver for negligence.
If you should find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run accident, do not chase after the negligent driver who fled the scene. Instead, while you should certainly try to take a mental picture of the vehicle and the license plate, and then jot down a note of that, you should call 911 as soon as possible. Reporting the crime to police, and having them create a police report, will certainly be helpful to you in any civil case which you may be able to bring if the negligent driver is ever identified.