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Florida Supreme Court Reverses Conviction for Driver Unaware of Hit-And-Run

In a recent case, the Florida Supreme Court determined drivers cannot be prosecuted for leaving the scene of a car accident unless they knew they were involved in the accident when it occurred. The case involved a truck driver who hit a teenage boy on his skateboard on highway A1A in Boca Raton in 2007. The boy fell into a crosswalk and was struck by the driver, who was pulled over by police after the boy was dragged some 90 feet under the truck. The driver was not found to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but he claimed he was not aware of the accident because his radio, air conditioning, and windshield wipers were all on at the time of the accident, which occurred in the rain.

street-962720-mOne witness saw the back tire run over the boy, and another witness saw the skateboard jettisoned out from beneath the truck and split into two pieces. The truck showed no signs of damage from the accident, and police found no skid marks at the site of the crash. Unfortunately, the boy suffered severe brain injuries as a result of the accident and was in a coma for several weeks.

Automobile Accident Victims’ Rights in Florida

Although the state Supreme Court ruled that, in order to convict a driver of leaving the scene of a crash, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver is aware of the accident at the time it occurs, Florida law still allows accident victims and certain family members to sue a driver for monetary damages without proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver is aware of the crash.

Florida law requires that drivers take reasonable care when operating a vehicle. In legal terms, a driver’s failure to take reasonable care is known as negligence. If a driver’s negligence is the cause of an accident and the victim’s injuries, the driver may be liable to the victim for income lost as a result of the accident, as well as medical expenses and even pain and suffering. In Florida, even if an accident victim is partly to blame for a crash, he or she can still be awarded compensatory damages, although the amount of the award is reduced based on how much the victim is found to be at fault in the accident. In most cases, accident victims have four years from the date of the accident or the discovery of an injury to file a lawsuit against the driver.

Negligence in automobile accidents takes many forms. In this case, had the driver swerved into the shoulder without justification, or been speeding on the highway despite the rain, he may have breached his duty of reasonable care towards the boy and been liable for negligence. Other examples of negligence in motor vehicle accidents include following another car in a dangerously close fashion or failing to abide by traffic signals and signs.

Have You or Someone You Love Been the Victim of Another Driver’s Negligence?

Injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents can drastically change a person’s life. One person’s negligence behind the wheel can mean another person’s loss of work and enjoyment in life. As experienced and proven attorneys in this area, we can help you or your loved one get the compensation you deserve, including damages from lost income, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and possibly pain and suffering. So if you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, call an attorney at our firm immediately for a free consultation at (352) 387-8700.

More Blog Posts:

Canadian Motorcyclist Killed in Accident in Florida, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 22, 2015.

Florida’s “2 Drunk 2 Care” Driver Pleads Guilty to DUI Manslaughter in Fatal Crash, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 3, 2015.