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Hit and Run in Florida: Laws Penalties and Legal Obligations

Hit and Run Accidents in Florida: Understanding the Laws and Consequences

Imagine driving on a Florida road when suddenly you collide with another vehicle. Since nobody’s hurt and the damage doesn’t look serious, you assume the other driver isn’t pressing charges and drive away.

That’s a hit and run in Florida, and it’s a serious offense. In this article, we’ll explore Florida’s hit and run laws, helping you understand what’s required of drivers after an accident, the penalties for hit and run, and defenses for those accused of this crime.

Evidence Required for Conviction

To be convicted of a hit and run crime, the prosecution needs evidence to support the charges. In some cases, eyewitnesses can attest to the accident and possibly identify the vehicle responsible.

The police may also use surveillance footage from cameras installed in the area. In cases of car accidents, there is typically physical evidence that can prove involvement in the crash.

For example, tire marks on the road, paint transfers, and damage to the vehicle can all indicate the responsibility. Police officers may also investigate the scene and collect evidence to help identify the driver.

Misdemeanor vs Felony

The severity of the hit and run crime depends on the severity of the damage caused. A driver who flees after causing an accident that only leads to property damage will face a misdemeanor charge, which carries up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

If the accident resulted in injury to others, the driver may face a third-degree felony and can be sentenced to up to 5 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If the accident led to the death of someone, the driver may be charged with a first-degree felony, which carries up to 30 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Legal Obligations After an Accident

In Florida, drivers have specific legal obligations when they are involved in a car accident. The first priority is to stop their vehicle at or near the scene of the accident.

Next, the driver must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver involved in the crash. If requested, the driver must also show their driver’s license to anyone else involved in the accident.

Additionally, the driver must render aid or call for help if someone is injured. Penalties for Property Damage, Injury, and Death

As previously mentioned, the penalties for hit and run charges depend on the severity of the damage caused.

The driver who hits and damages another car, property, or fixture faces a fine of $500 and/or up to 60 days in jail (for a first offense). In cases where someone was injured as a result of the accident, hit and run charges are upgraded to a third-degree felony.

The driver will face up to 5 years in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. If the accident leads to death, the driver will be charged with a first-degree felony.

The maximum penalty for a first-degree felony is life imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Hit and Run Definitions and Statute of Limitations

A hit and run in Florida is defined as leaving the scene of an accident without providing information or rendering aid. The hit and run statute of limitations in Florida is four years for a felony case and two years for a misdemeanor case.

This means charges may be filed against the driver within this period from the time of the accident.

Determining Fault and Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

Even if you have been hit by another driver, you are required to remain on the scene and exchange information. However, fault is determined by the insurance company and not the police department, except in criminal cases.

Additionally, the dangerous instrumentality doctrine in Florida states that the owner of a motor vehicle is liable for damages caused by any driver who uses their vehicle with the owner’s permission. So, if you lend your car to a friend who causes an accident, you as the owner are also responsible for any damages that result.

Defenses for Hit and Run

There are several defenses to hit and run charges. For example, if you were not aware that you had caused an accident, you may not be considered guilty of hit and run.

Another defense is if you remained at the scene and provided all the necessary information but failed to cooperate with the police investigation. This could indicate you believed you were not at fault, and it might be enough to have the charges dismissed.

Actions to Take After a Hit and Run

If you find yourself involved in a hit and run accident, the first thing you must do is remain at the scene. Next, call the police and report the incident.

It is crucial that you obtain as much information as possible from the other driver, such as their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Additionally, you should take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the scene of the accident.

These photos may help support your case later on.


Hit and run accidents can have significant legal consequences, including fines and jail time. In a state like Florida, where hit and run laws are strict, it is important to fulfill your legal obligations after an accident.

Understanding the laws and potential consequences can help you make informed decisions while on the road. Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Florida:

Reporting Requirements, Penalties, and Obligations

Car accidents can be frightening, and the immediate aftermath can be confusing.

The first few moments after an accident are crucial, and drivers’ actions during that time can directly impact their legal situation. In Florida, leaving the scene of an accident without fulfilling your legal obligations can result in severe consequences.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the reporting requirements, penalties, and legal obligations related to leaving the scene of an accident in Florida.

Minor Accidents – No Injuries

At times, car accidents may occur without causing any significant damage or injury. If you’re involved in such an accident and no one gets hurt, Florida law allows you to move the involved vehicles to the side of the road to avoid obstructing other traffic.

However, if you move the vehicle, you must leave a note with your name, address, and vehicle registration number for the other driver involved. You must also contact the local police department to report the accident within 10 days of the incident.

Failing to fulfill these obligations can lead to severe penalties.

Major Accidents – Injuries or Death

If the accident causes significant damage and results in an injury or death, Florida law requires drivers to remain at the scene and help anyone injured. Drivers must also provide information about themselves to the other party involved in the accident, including their name, address, and vehicle registration number.

Reporting Requirements

Beyond exchanging information, Florida law requires drivers who are involved in an accident that results in injuries, death, or significant damage to property to contact local law enforcement immediately. The police will come to the scene of the accident to investigate the incident and help take care of any injured people.

Moving the Vehicle After an Accident

In case the accident did not result in any injuries, Florida law allows drivers to move their vehicles to the side of the road to avoid blocking other drivers. However, it’s essential to leave the vehicles in their original position until the police arrive on the scene if the accident resulted in injuries.

This can help the investigating officers better understand the accident and its causes.

Aiding Injured Individuals

If the accident results in injuries, drivers must provide or arrange for medical attention to anyone injured. Drivers must notify the police of the injuries and stay at the scene of the accident until the authorities come to investigate.

Penalties for Hit and Run in Florida

Leaving the scene of an accident in Florida can lead to severe penalties, including fines, jail time, and driver’s license revocation. Penalties vary depending on the severity of the accident and its consequences.

Hit and Run Resulting in Property Damage

Drivers who leave the scene of an accident without fulfilling their legal obligations can face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for a first conviction. Subsequent convictions can lead to more significant penalties.

Hit and Run Resulting in Injury

If the accident resulted in an injury, leaving the scene of the accident can lead to felony charges. Drivers can face up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and mandatory community service as punishment for a third-degree felony.

Hit and Run Resulting in Death

Leaving the scene of a car accident that caused someone’s death is a first-degree felony in Florida. Drivers can face up to 30 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and mandatory community service.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Hit and Run DUI Cases

The state of Florida imposed mandatory jail terms for DUI-related hit and run offenses. These penalties seek to hold drivers accountable for their actions and to deter others from driving under the influence.


The consequences of leaving the scene of an accident in Florida can be severe. In all cases of car accidents, it’s important to remain calm and follow the law carefully.

Following the legal obligations can help mitigate the consequences of a car accident. Drivers involved in an accident, not their fault should reach out to a car accident attorney because they can help protect their rights, navigate the legal systems, and reach a fair settlement.

Insurance and Fault in Florida: Understanding No-Fault Laws, Determining Fault, and Legal Considerations After a Hit and Run

Car accidents can bring about significant financial burdens and legal complexities. In Florida, understanding how insurance and fault are handled is crucial when dealing with car accidents.

In this article, we will explore Florida’s status as a no-fault state, the role of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, how fault is determined in accidents, and the legal considerations that victims and drivers should be aware of after a hit and run incident.

No-Fault State and PIP Insurance

Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that after an accident, each driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering their policyholder’s medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault. This system aims to provide prompt compensation and avoid prolonged litigation.

In Florida, drivers are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which covers medical expenses and other financial losses incurred by the policyholder, regardless of fault. PIP insurance often covers medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses up to the policy limits.

How Fault is Determined

While Florida is a no-fault state, fault still plays a role in certain situations. In cases where the accident resulted in serious injuries, an individual can step outside the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance for additional compensation.

However, determining fault in car accidents can be complex. Insurance companies typically conduct investigations, review police reports, gather witness statements, and assess the damage to the vehicles to determine who is at fault.

Florida follows a comparative fault system, where each party involved in an accident may share a portion of the blame. The percentage of fault assigned to each party can affect the overall compensation they receive.

Defending Against Liability

When accused of being at fault in a car accident, it’s important to have the opportunity to defend yourself. Part of defending against liability involves gathering evidence to support your version of events.

This can include collecting witness statements, taking photos of the accident scene, and obtaining any available video footage. Additionally, consulting with an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities and build a strong defense.

Your attorney can work to protect your rights, review your insurance policy, and negotiate with the insurance companies involved on your behalf.

Legal Considerations After a Hit and Run in Florida

Being involved in a hit and run accident can be overwhelming, but understanding the legal considerations can help victims and drivers navigate the aftermath. Victim’s Actions

If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, it’s essential to take certain actions to protect yourself legally.

First, try to gather any information about the fleeing vehicle, such as its license plate number, color, make, and model. Contact the police immediately and provide them with as much detail as possible.

Additionally, seek medical attention promptly, even if you feel fine initially. This allows for a thorough evaluation of any potential injuries, and it can also help establish a connection between the accident and any subsequent injuries that may arise.

Driver’s Actions

If you are the driver who fled the scene of an accident, it’s crucial to rectify your actions and fulfill your legal obligations. Report the incident to the police as soon as possible, providing them with accurate and truthful information about the accident.

If you are not aware of the extent of the injuries or damages caused by the accident, seek legal counsel to understand your rights and the best course of action to rectify the situation.

Importance of Legal Representation

Whether you are a victim or a driver involved in a hit and run accident, legal representation is of utmost importance. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, help gather evidence, and negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.

They can also assist in determining fault and pursuing legal action if necessary. Having a knowledgeable advocate can significantly improve your chances of reaching a favorable outcome in a hit and run case.


Navigating the complexities of insurance and fault in Florida can be overwhelming, especially when involved in a hit and run accident. Understanding Florida’s no-fault laws, the role of PIP insurance, and the determination of fault are crucial for all parties involved.

Seeking legal representation and knowing the necessary legal considerations can help protect your rights, ensure a fair resolution, and provide the support needed to move forward after a hit and run incident. In conclusion, understanding the insurance and fault laws related to car accidents in Florida is crucial for all drivers.

As a no-fault state, Florida’s system aims to provide prompt compensation through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance regardless of fault. However, fault still plays a role in certain situations, and defending against liability requires gathering evidence and seeking legal representation.

After a hit and run incident, victims should take immediate action by reporting the incident and seeking medical attention. Drivers who flee the scene should rectify their actions and fulfill their legal obligations.

By understanding these legal considerations and seeking legal representation, individuals can protect their rights, navigate the complexities of the law, and ensure a fair resolution. Remember, in the event of a car accident, being informed and prepared can make all the difference.

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