1) Victims of a hit and run accident may seek restitution from the other driver
FICTION: Restitution is generally not available in a leaving the scene of an accident case where the other driver is criminally charged. Restitution may be available if the victim can show their injuries were worsened by a lack of immediate assistance due to the defendant fleeing rather than meeting their duty to render aid.
2) If I was partially at fault in the accident, I have no claim
FICTION: Florida follows the rules of comparative fault which means each party is responsible for their share of fault in a collision on a percentage basis. This does mean your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault, if any, if your case proceeds to trial. However, it does not mean you cannot recover. Your share of fault may not even factor into the damages analysis if your claim settles out of court.
3) My insurer already denied coverage, I cannot recover from them
FICTION: Insurance companies often deny your initial claim for coverage after any accident, especially a hit and run accident. This does not mean you are barred from continuing to pursue the claim. The claims process can be complicated, which is why it is best to have representation from a personal injury attorney who is experienced in proving these claims to insurance companies. Sometimes insurers need to see additional evidence of your injuries and damages, other times insurers must be taken to court over these disputes to get the compensation you need.
4) It’s been a few days and law enforcement still have not found the other driver – I should give up
FICTION: If you contacted law enforcement following your hit and run accident and provided any information you had on the other driver, they will likely open an investigation and attempt to locate the person. This process often takes time and patience. You should still consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options regarding opening a claim with your own insurance company and obtain assistance with cooperating with law enforcement in this investigation.
5) I should never chase the other driver after a hit and run accident
FACT: There are two reasons you should never chase the other driver following a hit and run accident. First, your safety! The other driver may be dangerous and cause you further harm. Second, you would also be leaving the scene of the accident and potentially breaking the law just like the other driver. Instead, you should remain on the scene and contact law enforcement for further assistance.