A recent ruling in Florida might make it a whole lot harder for victims of hit-and-run crashes to get the justice that they deserve. The ruling states that drivers who are responsible for hit-and-run crashes cannot be prosecuted unless there is definite proof that they knew they had been involved in a crash.
This decision comes following the appeal of a case in which a Florida driver was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison after hitting a 15-year-old skateboarder with his truck. The teenager was dragged nearly 90 feet and was in a coma for weeks as a result.
Now, Florida’s Supreme Court has sided with the appeals court, which stated that the driver in this case may not have known that he hit the boy. The Supreme Court reasoned that in order for a felony conviction to be made in any case, the prosecution must be able to prove that the offender knew what he was doing and chose to willfully disobey the law.
What Does This Mean For You?
Florida is well known for a lot of things, but unfortunately road safety is not one of them. Each year, Florida sees 200,000 automobile accidents, thousands of which involve pedestrians. Worse still, the rate of hit-and-run accidents in Florida has been on the rise. In 2014, hit-and-run accidents were up by 23%.
Unfortunately, this recent ruling is a step backwards for Florida’s ongoing journey to make the roads safer for drivers and pedestrians. Although intended to protect the rights of drivers, the new ruling seems destined to backfire and could wind up leaving countless hit-and-run victims in the dust.
Do Not Be Discouraged—Your Case Matters
This new ruling may send the wrong message to Florida citizens: that hit-and-run drivers can be excused. The lawyers at The Injury Law Firm of South Florida know that that is not true. This ruling will likely change the way that hit and run cases are handled in court. However, it does not mean that it is now impossible for hit-and-run victims to receive compensation for their resulting injuries and trauma.
On the contrary, it just means that your lawyer may have to do a little more investigative work. Maybe the driver responsible for the hit-and-run truly did not notice that he had been involved in an accident, but how could he have missed it? Was he distracted? Was he texting, toying with the radio, smoking, or talking on his phone while driving? Was he looking away from the road at the time? Maybe he was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, or maybe he was driving without insurance and so chose to flee the scene before cops could arrive. Whatever the scenario, you deserve a lawyer who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.
Even though it may seem that the state of Florida is turning its back on victims of hit-and-run accidents following this, the lawyers at Slootsky, Perez, and Braxton will stand beside you and see to it that responsible parties are held accountable. If you have suffered personal injury as a result of a hit-and-run, do not let this new ruling prevent you from seeking the justice that you deserve and the compensation that you need to fully recover and get back to your normal life. Contact us today.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 15-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.