If you are a driver in Florida, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the state’s auto accident laws. This will come in handy in the event that you are involved in an accident with another driver. Taking time to understand auto accident laws is important whether you are a new driver or an experienced one. It’s always important to refresh your memory, even if you are not willing to retake driving classes.
Person Injury Protection Insurance
If you are a driver in Florida, you should know that the state requires all vehicle owners to have personal injury protection insurance. According to the lawyer, the coverage should be no less than $10,000. This amount will cover things like lost wages and medical costs. As a motorist, you are also required by the state to carry property damage liability coverage of no less than $10,000. This policy will cover you as a motorist regardless of who is wrong or who caused the accident. However, it’s important to understand that the policy protects the owner and not the other driver involved in the accident.
That said, these two types of insurance will not protect you from being sued if you are the at-fault driver. If the other driver sustains permanent injuries because of the crash, you, as the at-fault, will also be liable for your negligence. This means the other driver may be able to sue you. This is how auto insurance works in the state of Florida. Let’s move on to how the law applies to car crashes.
Florida Vehicle Accident Laws
There is a specific set of auto accident laws that governs car crashes in the state of Florida. These laws have been put in place to protect both passengers and drivers involved in car crashes. If you have been involved in a car crash, it would be greatly beneficial to you if you understand these laws. A clear understanding of the law will go a long way in helping you understand your rights and options regarding the crash. Here are some auto accident laws that you should be aware of:
- The state of Florida is a no-fault state. This simply means that each driver deals with their own damages in the event of a car crash.
- The statute of limitations for filing a vehicle accident claim is four years.
- In the event that you are involved in a car crash, you may be entitled to recover damages which include property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering.
These are some of the laws that govern auto accidents in the state of Florida. If you have broken these laws, it’s important to know how to go about things, so you don’t make the situation worse.
What to do Immediately After the Crash
If you realize that you are the at-fault driver, there are certain basic things that you need to do immediately after a car crash. Unfortunately, it may not always be clear who is at fault. However, this shouldn’t change how you react.
After you have just been involved in a car crash, it’s highly likely that you will be in shock. This can make you so numb to the extent that you won’t realize how much you have been injured. For instance, you may have broken bones, but it will be difficult to tell at that point. As such, calling 911 should be the very first thing you do as soon as you are safe. Also, depending on the severity of the crash, it may be a good idea to move your car away from the site, especially if it’s in a zone that might cause other car crashes. However, if the crash occurs where everyone can see you, you should leave the car where it is.
Tell the 911 operator where the crash occurred and, if possible, give them exact details like landmarks and highway mile markers. The more specific you are with the location, the sooner the first responders and police will get to you. One thing you should avoid is trying to tell the operator who is at fault. They only need to know your location and the extent of your injuries. You can also give a brief description of the scene.
Call the Police to File an Accident Report
In most instances, after you call 911, it’s highly likely that the operator will call the police as well. However, you can also just call the police to report the accident. You must never ignore small accidents and think you can deal with them without the knowledge of the police. This can come back and bite you later.
Write Down Everything You Can Remember About the Accident
As you are waiting for the police, try to note down everything you can remember about the accident. For instance, note down the direction you were coming from before the accident occurred. If there was a traffic light involved, all note down whether it was green, red, or yellow. Did you notice anything strange about the other driver’s behavior? For instance, were they speeding, swerving, or using their phone? This information will help you out later when hiring criminal defense or personal injury lawyers
If the other driver didn’t stop at the scene of the accident, note down everything you can remember about their car. You should have details like the color, make, model, and even smaller details like dents and stickers. If the driver stays at the scene, you can exchange insurance information and note down details about the car as well.
What Happens if You Do Not Report an Auto Accident in Florida?
The law in the state of Florida states that motorists involved in a car crash should report it to law enforcement. This is especially important if there is significant property damage or if there are injuries involved. If you run away from the scene of the crime or fail to report the accident, you may face penalties.
You should keep in mind, however, that the responsibility of submitting a written car crash report does not lie with you if the police came to the scene of the accident. Once you report the incident orally or over the phone, no further reports will be needed from you. If you fail to report an accident, the consequences you will face are non-criminal in nature. This means there is no risk of jail time. Instead, you may be charged a penalty of about $30.
Fleeing the Scene of an Accident
The law is a bit more serious when it comes to fleeing the scene of a car crash without reporting. You should know that leaving the scene of a car crash is a criminal offense. This means you could go to jail for this. The charges are quite serious, especially if the crash involved serious injuries or death.
A hit-and-run offense in Florida is considered a misdemeanor or a felony. How the charge is classified depends on the circumstances of the crash. If you leave the scene of an car crash after causing property damages but without injury, the offense is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. The offense carries a punishment of up to 60 days in county jail. You may also be charged a fine of $500. If you leave the scene of a car crash after causing injury, the case is treated as a third-degree felony. Such cases are punishable by up to five years in prison. They can also carry a fine of $5,000. Lastly, a hit and run that involves death is treated as a first-degree felony. This can attract a maximum jail sentence of up to 30 years or a $10,000 fine.
You must always notify the policy of a car crash using the fastest communication methods possible. This usually means calling them from the scene. Once you do this, you will have satisfied your duty to report an accident.
When You Must Provide a Written Report of a Car Crash?
There is one situation where you will be required to provide a written account of the accident. If you call the police and they don’t investigate, you should submit a report to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Ideally, this should be done within ten days of an accident.
Finding an Attorney After Breaking Any Auto Accident Laws in Florida
Have you broken the auto accident laws in Florida in any way? Maybe you were speeding? If so, you need to find a speeding attorney as soon as possible. The only instance where you might be able to handle things on your own is failure to notify the police. As mentioned before, this is not treated as a criminal offense. However, if you have broken more serious laws like DUI or hit and run, you should find DUI attorneys or hit and run attorneys right away. You may also want to consider finding personal injury attorneys.
If you have broken the law by fleeing the scene of an accident, the best thing to do would be to contact a hit and run attorney. As mentioned before, if you are convicted of a hit and run or fleeing the scene before the police arrive, you will face some serious consequences. To avoid this, as soon as you have broken the law, find a hit-and-run lawyer. Their representation can be the difference between a long jail time and a sentence that’s not too harsh. The attorney will also help you present your side of things without making statements that will incriminate you down the line. Did you know that an attorney can also find ways to have your charges dismissed? They can also help you find alternative resolutions, such as having your record expunged or sealed.
If you were recently accused of breaking the auto accident laws in Florida, you should find a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to find a lawyer who has handled lots of similar cases. For instance, there are lawyers who specialize in dealing with hit-and-run offenses. They will be familiar with the process, and they are your best chance of having the issue resolved without costing you too much. As such, you should always find a lawyer who deals with your type of criminal traffic offense on a daily basis. With their help, you can have the charges dismissed or your sentence reduced.
How to Find an Auto Accident Attorney in Florida
There are several ways to find an auto accident attorney in Florida. As mentioned before, it’s important to find an attorney who specializes in the type of criminal traffic offense that you committed. As with any other type of service provider, you can get recommendations from your friends, family, or colleagues if you know someone who has dealt with auto accident charges in the past. The lawyer that helped them can also help you. Apart from that, you can conduct your own search until you find someone to represent you.
The first place to search if you are looking for auto accident attorneys on your own is the internet. All you need to do is search for auto accident attorneys near you. You can then sift through the results and find someone who handles cases like yours. Once you get a list of possible hires, you should go through their reviews and check if there are any major concerns. You should then arrange an interview with a few and ask them specific questions about their experience, how they approach representing their clients, and how they communicate. The idea is to find an experienced lawyer who has a good winning track record. That way, you can rest assured that your case is in the best hands.
If you have broken any auto accident laws in the state of Florida, you should do all you can to ensure that you don’t make things worse for yourself. If the case is more serious than failure to report, you should consider hiring a criminal defense attorney. This will be your best chance to have a favorable outcome. Take your time to find the right attorney for your case. You may also want to hire a local personal injury attorney.