Hit-And-Run Driver Doesn’t Run Far
Police apprehended a woman who allegedly smashed into a car in an intersection after she tried to ram a patrol car.
As officers responded to a disturbance call in Port St. Lucie, a 41-year-old woman, who was involved, knocked a man to the ground, got into a Kia, and left the area. As she departed, she narrowly missed ramming a patrol car passing in the opposite direction. Shortly thereafter, the woman collided with a Chevrolet Cruze in an intersection; the man was seriously injured but was able to flag down an officer. Police later found the woman parked nearby, and arrested her on various charges.
The woman was jailed pending a $33,750 bond and possible referral to a mental health facility.
The woman in the above story is one of the many hit-and-run drivers that are caught and prosecuted. However, many of these drivers are either apprehended near the scene or voluntarily turn themselves in. The trail quickly grows cold in these cases, and many law enforcement agencies lack the resources to aggressively pursue these matters once two or three days go by.
That’s where an assertive personal injury attorney who is committed to maximum compensation for victims steps in. Since they have other priorities, many first responders do not follow up on all possible angles. Therefore, attorneys often team up with private investigators, who do things like:
- More Witnesses: First responders only interview witnesses at the scene, but other people in the area may have seen something as well.
- Extended Stakeout: There is nothing exciting or glamorous about waiting for hours to see if a vehicle matching a description ventures into a certain area, but it can sometimes be the key to fair compensation.
- Thorough Investigation: First responders often do not have the time to inquire at local body shops about damaged vehicles, and the owners are not always as willing to cooperate with police as they are with private investigators.
Some victims believe that if the hit-and-run driver is not caught then they have no legal options for recovery, but that is simply not true, at least in most cases. Typically, injured hit-and-run victims can file claims against their own insurance companies, and an attorney will assist in this trial-like process.
For victims to sue in court, there must be a reasonably ascertainable tortfeasor (negligent driver); typically, in civil court, the vehicle owner is presumptively also the tortfeasor. Furthermore, for victims to sue in court, they must have sustained a serious injury as defined by 627.737(2) of the Florida Insurance Code. According to this section, a serious injury is:
- Death: A wrongful death is the most serious of all injuries.
- Permanent Injury: Subsection (b) is probably the most commonly-used category, because it is quite vague and could therefore include a large number of different injuries.
- Loss of Function: The paralysis or sensory loss must only be “significant;” victims do not have to be completely paralyzed or completely blind.
- Scarring: Jurors typically award larger sums to women than men and are also more inclined to find that the scars are serious in these instances.
Speaking of jury tendencies, juries are also more prone to award punitive damages in hit-and-run cases. These additional damages are available if the tortfeasor showed a conscious indifference for the property and safety of others, and hit-and-run certainly qualifies as such.
Partner with Assertive Attorneys
For prompt assistance with a car crash or other negligence case, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Port St. Lucie from Eighmie Law Firm, PA today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.