Florida Hit-and-Run

Leaving the scene of an accident in Florida is considered a hit-and-run and holds criminal charges depending on the damage at the scene.
Written by Kaitlin May
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 09, 2023
In the state of Florida, hit-and-run accidents make up almost 25% of all collisions. They are criminal offenses resulting in up to $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in prison.
In the event of an accident that results in damage to personal property, or personal injury of the driver or passenger,
Florida car accident laws
require you to immediately stop and provide all of your personal information to the nearest law enforcement officer or agency.
Failure to do so will land you criminal charges in any state on the map—but each area has its own set of laws addressing
hit-and-run accidents
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has rounded everything you need to know on either side of a hit-and-run accident—including what to do as a victim, what penalties to expect as an offender, and how to move forward with the safest, most affordable
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What is a hit-and-run?

Fleeing the scene of a collision without leaving your personal information is called a hit-and-run. 
Failure to provide your insurance information at the scene complicates the victim’s ability to file a claim for their property, and it can be life-threatening if the accident left them injured. Regardless of the accident’s source, nothing can be resolved without all parties and their personal information present at the scene.

What happens if you commit a hit-and-run in Florida?

According to
Florida Statute 316.061
, a driver will be guilty of a hit-and-run offense if they fail to do the following once they crash with another person’s property, building, or structure:
  • Stay at the site of the crash and provide all relevant personal information, such as their license and registration, name, address, and insurance details
  • “Offer “reasonable assistance” to anyone who is injured in the accident, whether that be the driver or the passenger

Is a hit-and-run a felony in Florida?

The criminal charges that will accompany a hit-and-run violation depend on the level of damage caused at the scene. A second-degree misdemeanor will be charged for personal property damage, but a felony conviction will be the consequence of a hit-and-run that causes injuries or death.

What is the punishment for a hit-and-run in Florida?

Florida factors in Victim Injury Considerations to determine the severity of a hit-and-run punishment. Denting someone’s parked car in a grocery store parking lot is one thing, and collisions that result in the loss of life are an entirely different scenario. 
If the conditions of the accident were still serious, but on the relatively minor end of the spectrum, you’ll receive up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail. More critical cases involving injuries or death come along with astronomical fees and up to 30 years in prison.
Here’s a breakdown of possible outcomes to expect for each hit-and-run distinction in Florida:
Result of accident
Possible punishment
Property damage
60 days in jail
6 months of probation
Up to $500 fine
Minor injury
5 years in prison
5 years of probation
Up to $5,000 fine
Serious injury
15 years in prison
15 years of probation
Up to $10,000 fine
30 years in prison
30 years of probation
Up to $10,000 fine
Anyone convicted of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in any form of injury or death will also lose their license for three years and be required to complete a 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement Course.
Hit-and-run violators whose negligence cause injury or death may also have increased prison sentences based on the context around the accident, including whether or not there was a delay in medical attention that could have been received sooner had the driver not left the scene.

How to avoid a hit-and-run charge

Hit-and-run laws may be written under state legislation, but the notion behind them comes from the unspoken honor code of being a human. The easiest way to avoid a conviction is to stay at the scene, ensure all parties are safe, assess the damage, and offer your personal information.
There is potential for an unintentional hit-and-run in which the driver either doesn’t realize they’ve damaged another vehicle, were physically incapable of exchanging their information, or left a collision where no damage was caused. 
In any of the following scenarios, it’s possible to defend hit-and-run charges in Florida:

Lack of knowledge

Awareness is a key component in potentially defending a hit-and-run charge. If someone doesn’t feel the impact of hitting a car when they’re backing up, a case could be made that they left the scene without knowledge of the damage they caused.
In the case of an accident resulting in injury or death, there must be evidence proving the defendant was aware of the victims’ injuries. Without concrete proof, the conviction could be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Physically unable to report

If the driver was injured in the accident and rendered without the ability to communicate or report their name, address, license, registration, and insurance information, they’ll be exempt from a hit-and-run charge.

Undamaged property

Leaving the scene of a collision where the property was left without damage—such as a curb—is legal in Florida. However, police officers will still press charges on those who hit personal property without damage.

What should I do if I experience a hit-and-run in Florida?

Panic and fear can strike just as quickly as a hit-and-run accident, but when you’re the victim, it’s essential to remain calm enough to capture some information so you can report the crime as soon as it happens.

Steps to take after a hit-and-run in Florida

  • Move your vehicle safely off to the side of the road, but stay close to the scene
  • Assess any injuries and reach out to medical personnel if necessary
  • Call the police immediately and refrain from cleaning or moving any part of the scene so they can file a report with the highest level of accuracy
  • Look out for evidence of the offender's car and talk to any witness who may recall their details 
  • Write down any information you can remember and take photos of the accident scene
The last and potentially most important action you should take is to call your insurance company. The sooner you can report the claim, the more accurate it will be—and you can get on your way to restoring your property.

What insurance covers a hit-and-run?

Florida isn't a bad place to be under hit-and-run circumstances because the state law requires drivers to have
property damage liability
If you and the police have covered as much ground as possible at the accident scene and still can’t identify the driver, most insurance companies offer safety net options that can still get you covered.
These three insurance coverage additions may just offer you a sigh of relief:
Insurance type
Will it cover a hit-and-run?
Personal injury protection (PIP)
Drivers are required to have this in Florida, and it offers $10,000 of medical coverage to compensate for medical bills sustained in the accident
Uninsured motorist coverage
Confirm with your insurance provider that this covers hit-and-runs in Florida
Collision coverage
You may have to pay a deductible if the driver isn’t found, but it will still cover your vehicle’s damage regardless of who is at fault

How to find affordable insurance for collisions and more

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