According to a recent article published by the Huffington Post, the Florida Legislature is now considering a new piece of legislation, entitled the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” named for a bicyclist that was killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway in 2012, that would increase the minimum jail sentences for leaving the scene of an accident to three years for an accident resulting in injury, seven years for serious bodily injury, and ten years for a hit-and-run resulting in death. The proposed legislation would also require a convicted offender’s license to be suspended for a minimum of three years. Our Miami hit-and-run accident attorneys will be paying close attention to any possible outcomes.
Under current Florida law, there is no minimum sentence for leaving the scene of a deadly accident. Florida law requires anyone involved in a car accident to remain at the scene and render aid and provide information. According to Florida Statutes Title XXII Section 316.027, “the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash…that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle…and remain at the scene.”
Leaving the scene of an accident where there is property damage is a misdemeanor of the second degree and carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries is a felony of the third degree and can result in a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Leaving the scene of an accident in which someone dies is a felony of the first degree carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there has been an increase of fatal hit and run car accidents in Florida over recent years. The total number of hit and run accidents occurring in Florida in 2012 was 69,994. Between 2011 and 2012, hit and run crashes that resulted in fatalities increased from 162 to 168, and three out five of the 2012 fatalities were pedestrians.
This blog has recently discussed several unfortunate incident involving hit-and-run drivers. In March, forty-three year-old Melita Jaric was struck by car and killed while crossing the street in Miami. In September, 24-year-old Jacob Landis, of Annapolis, Maryland, was severely injured after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip in Polk County, Florida.
With ever-increasing traffic congestion and the tendency of Florida residents to ride bicycles or walk where they need to go, bicyclists are at greater risk than ever for being injured or killed in a traffic accident. If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation.
Our Miami car accident lawyers at ave extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by in motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A today.