Leaving the Scene of an Accident Is IllegalDecember 6, 2017 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share
Leaving the scene of an accident is frequently the topic of local news reports. Even with this publicity, it still happens.
“Lives may be saved, and more serious injuries prevented, if drivers involved in accidents stop and do the right thing by rendering ‘reasonable assistance.’ Driving is a privilege, and with this privilege comes responsibility,” said Naples Personal Injury Attorney, Randall Spivey.
Most recently, on September 14, 2017, a man was found guilty of leaving the scene of a 2015 crash involving a death, second degree arson, two counts of tampering with evidence, driving without a license and making a false report of a crime. According to the Fort Myers News Press, the case involved a driver hitting a 23 year old riding his bike in Fort Myers. When the accident happened, the driver did not call for help, but moved the victim off the road, concealed him with palm fronds so he would be invisible to passers-by, and fled the scene. He also went so far as abandoning and setting his vehicle on fire after which he reported it stolen. A seven-month investigation ensued resulting in the charging of the vehicle driver. The guilty driver faces up to 55 years in prison.
What the law says about hit and run accidents
Under Florida law (316.061) a driver MUST stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property, which results in injury or death. In Florida, the penalties available for leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run) will depend on the nature of the harm or damage caused by the crash.
Accidents Involving Injury: If the crash at issue involved personal injuries to another person, the offense is classified as a third degree felony, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Accidents Involving Death: For accidents involving the death of the other person, the offense will be classified as a first-degree felony, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the defendant leaves the scene involving injury or death and the defendant is found to have been driving under the influence, the offense is subject to a mandatory minimum prison term of 2 years. In all leaving the scene cases involving death or injury, the offending driver is also subject to mandatory driver’s license revocation as determined by the court.
With regard to accidents causing injury or death to another person, a driver’s statutory duties in Florida are as follows:
- The driver must stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash (or as close thereto as possible);
- Give his or her name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver;
- Exhibit his or her license or permit to drive, if requested;
- Provide license, registration, address, and other information to any investigating police officers;
- If it is apparent that medical treatment is required or if it is requested by the other person, render “reasonable assistance,” including carrying or making arrangements for the carrying of the person to a hospital, physician, or surgeon for medical or surgical treatment;
- If the other driver or person is not in a condition to receive the information specified above, the non-injured driver must report the crash to the nearest police authority.
Naples Personal Injury Attorney Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.