Stopping after your involvement in a car crash in Florida is a basic requirement. State law mandates that you report the incident to the local authorities when there is property damage or you believe someone may have suffered an injury.
However, people don’t always make the right choice in the moment. Sometimes, an otherwise responsible adult will find themselves accused of leaving the scene of a collision. Even if you aren’t the one to blame for the wreck, you might find yourself facing accusations of causing a hit-and-run.
How can you potentially respond to hit-and-run accusations?
1. Show that you didn’t recognize the severity of the crash.
Maybe the noise sounded just like a mild scraping sound, which made you think that the only damage would likely be mild cosmetic issues involving your paint. You may not have felt like the damage would be worth enough to justify stopping.
Similarly, if the crash seems minor to you, you may not have had reason to understand that someone in the other vehicle ended up hurt. In such a scenario, your actions did not constitute an intentional violation of the law but merely an accidental one due to a mistake in judgment.
2. Provide medical records.
Maybe you or someone in your vehicle suffered serious injuries that were evident instantly after the crash. That could be possible if someone has a compound fracture or loses consciousness, for example.
You may have panicked and driven immediately to the nearest medical facility without stopping to contact the police or check on the other driver. Your injuries or the injury to your passenger was the only thing that you could think of until you got to a hospital.
3. Claim ignorance of the crash itself.
There are times when people end up in a crash and may not even realize that one occurred. If you glance to the side while slowing down at an intersection, you may never have realized that your front bumper tapped a pedestrian, for example.
If you had very loud music in your vehicle or a screaming infant in the backseat, you may not have noticed the warning signs of a crash involving your vehicle. As long as the wreck was not severe enough to disable your vehicle, you may have driven on without ever realizing what happened.
Hit-and-run allegations can lead both to criminal prosecution and sometimes also civil liability for any injuries or property damage losses caused in the crash. Exploring different criminal defense strategies can help those concerned after leaving the scene of a crash.