Hit-and-Run and Uninsured Motorist Risks in South Florida
A teen has died after being found on a Broward County roadway in what police say was likely a pedestrian accident hit and run.
The Miami Herald reports the 14-year-old boy was reported lying in the road on Monday night after a motorist pulled over to help.
Florida is dealing with a hit-and-run crisis. Motorists leave the scene for a variety of reasons, including intoxication, lack of insurance, and lack of a driver’s license. In 2014, Florida passed the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, (section 316.027, Florida Statutes), which increased the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death.
Previously, motorists faced lesser penalties for fleeing than for staying and being convicted of DUI manslaughter. Under current law, (F.S. 316.061, 316.027), fleeing the scene of an injury accident is a second- or third-degree felony with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison, while fleeing the scene of a fatality carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 4 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years behind bars.
Still, in Florida, approximately 1 in 4 motor vehicle crashes involves a hit-and-run driver, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In 2017, more than 98,000 hit-and-run crashes were reported, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Florida
The risks are compounded by the large number of uninsured motorists on the road, the state’s 50th place ranking when it comes to mandatory minimum insurance coverage, and the lack of required uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Our Miami car accident lawyers want motorists to know that purchasing uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is vital when it comes to protecting you and your family in the event of a serious traffic accident.
The Insurance Information Institute reports more drivers are on the roads without insurance in Florida than anywhere else in the nation. More than 1 in 4 Florida drivers are uninsured.
Florida’s mandatory minimum auto insurance law also carries the lowest limits in the nation: $10,000 personal injury protection coverage (PIP) and $10,000 property damage coverage. Personal Injury Protection is no-fault coverage meant to cover minor medical expenses in the immediate aftermath of a collision.
Those are both sobering statistics. But it’s the state’s lack of mandatory uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that leaves motorists most vulnerable. This coverage is meant to cover your losses in the event you are in a collision with a hit-and-run driver, an uninsured driver, or a driver who lacks sufficient coverage to compensate you for losses. This coverage will also protect you if you are a passenger in another vehicle, or are injured as a bicyclist or a pedestrian.
Florida insurers are supposed to offer you this coverage, but UM/UIM is often omitted to reduce the cost of an insurance policy. The problem with that is that you very well may be purchasing a worthless policy in the event you are injured through the fault of another motorist. Motorists who purchase UM/UIM will also be required to carry bodily injury liability coverage with similar coverage limits. However, the nominal increase in cost is well worth the peace of mind.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to carry auto insurance coverage with limits sufficient to cover serious injury and the replacement cost of an expensive vehicle. Limits of $50,000 per victim/$100,000 per accident with $50,000 property damage coverage are among the most common, but you can find policies with both higher and lower limits.
If you’ve been injured, call the Miami personal injury lawyers at the Flagler Personal Injury Group at 305-424-8445 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
We handle a variety of cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Car Accident Attorneys.