Late last year, our Miami bicycle accident attorneys kept a close watch on the development of new legislation, entitled the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” that, if passed, would increase the minimum jail sentences for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Specifically, the measure would allow prison sentences of up 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.
A recent brutal hit and run accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has emphasized the continuing need for such harsher penalties. In December, motorist Axel Inostroza, struck 53-year-old bicyclist Craig Camlin near the 5200 block of Northeast 18th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. The force of collision caused Camlin to become wedged on the rear window of the vehicle, as Inostroza drove on for two more miles. Eventually, Inostroza dumped Camlin’s body behind a trash bin near his home in Pompano Beach.
Several hours after the accident, a landscaping crew discovered Camlin, who was rushed to a local hospital and listed in critical condition with a broken spine and other injuries. As for Inostroza, he took his car to a local body shop and then went home to take a nap. Inostroza later admitted to investigators to his involvement in the crash and confessed that he had been drinking before the accident.
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.”
According to a 2010 report issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, of the 2,563 traffic-related fatalities occurring in Florida in 2009, 100 were bicyclists. Although these numbers represent a 15% decrease in bicycle fatalities from 2008, overall, there has been an increase of fatal hit and run car accidents in Florida over recent years, as the total number of hit and run crashes that resulted in fatalities increased from 162 to 168 between 2011 and 2012.
This blog has recently discussed several unfortunate incidents involving hit-and-run drivers. In March, 43 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.
It is crucial that, following a car accident, the involved parties immediately contact the police and obtain the contact information of witnesses. This is especially important when the accident is a hit-and-run, as the responsible party can be difficult to locate. The Miami car accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA have extensive experience representing individuals who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents in South Florida. If you or someone you know has been injured in car, or automobile accident, contact a Miami accident lawyer at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A today.