Between January and March 2013, 520 hit-and-run accidents occurred in Palm Beach County, causing 131 people to suffer injuries. Throughout the state of Florida, around 70,000 hit and run crashes also occurred over the course of 2012.
These numbers may seem like abstract statistics, but the fact is that they represent real lives that are affected or even ruined as a result of a hit-and-run accident. Our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys know that hit-and-run accidents can result in devastating injuries and can leave the injured victim or family members without closure and with huge medical expenses. Hit and runs are illegal, but unfortunately the law doesn't always stop dishonest people from driving away.
The Human Face of a Hit and Run Accident
Most people don't think about the serious potential consequences of a hit-and-run accident unless it happens to them or to someone they know. Recently, however, News Channel 5 told the story of one family dealing with a hit-and-run crash. According to News Channel 5, the accident happened in February of this year in Lake Worth. A 33-year-old man was hit by a car and critically injured as a result of the crash. His mother is now speaking out, pleading for the driver to turn himself in or pleading for someone to come forward with information that might allow law enforcement to find the man or woman who hurt her son.
The grieving mother has indicated that her son is in a coma, and that he is unlikely to ever recover from the accident. His devastating injuries have "destroyed the whole family," his mother says. She cannot understand how anyone could do something so terrible as to be involved in a car wreck and leave the injured victim at the side of the road. Unfortunately, this happens every day. In addition to the 131 injured victims of hit and runs in Palm Beach County in the first few months of 2013, there were also 1,320 people injured and six people killed in 2012.
The Costs of a Hit and Run
When a person is injured in a hit and run accident, that individual and his/her family are victimized twice. First, they are made victims of the accident that occurred and that resulted in their injury. These injured individuals or their families are also victimized again because they cannot take advantage of the protections in the law that allow them to get justice.
Under Florida laws, injured victims who are seriously hurt in a car wreck can file a claim for damages against the driver who caused the wreck. Further, family members of innocent victims hurt or killed in a wreck can file a wrongful death claim. Neither of these things is possible, however, unless the identity of the driver is known.
Without knowing who the driver is, the victims and their families could be left with huge medical bills and extensive losses and no one to pay. Their only recourse will be seeking whatever coverage they have available under their own uninsured motorist policy. This is why it's critical you carry uninsured motorist coverage with adequate limits. In such cases, you should also seek legal representation in dealings with your own insurer.
With thousands of hit-and-runs each year, every driver needs to ensure that he or she has a comprehensive uninsured motorist policy in place to at least avoid financial disaster if a hit and run happens.
If you've been hurt in a traffic accident, contact West Palm Beach injury attorney David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394.