Hit And Run Driver Kills Pedestrian In Tampa
Police have practically no leads after a speeding motorist ran over a pedestrian and immediately fled the scene.
Police were called to North 50th Street between Melbourne Boulevard and East 26th Avenue at 7:46 p.m. Sunday and found a man who had been struck by a car, according to a Tampa police news release. The man died from his injuries.
Tampa police are now searching for a black, possibly four-door sedan that reportedly struck the man, police said.
Tracking Down the Tortfeasor
Statewide, law enforcement investigators only solve about 5 percent of hit-and-runs. Usually, as in the above story, there’s very little evidence to go on. Additionally, the burden of proof is very high in criminal court. Therefore, investigators quickly give up and focus on other matters that have a better chance of a happy ending, at least as far as they are concerned.
Right from the start, a Tampa personal injury attorney has a much different attitude. Most personal injury lawyers don’t get paid until they resolve cases. Therefore, they have a financial incentive to work hard and follow up on leads that law enforcement might have missed.
Assume a hit-and-run witness doesn’t get a good look at the vehicle or the driver, but the witness gets the last two license plate numbers. Since this testimony is almost useless in criminal court, most law enforcement investigators wouldn’t give it a second thought. However, a Tampa personal injury lawyer can use this bit of evidence to track down the vehicle’s owner.
It’s more likely than not that the owner was driving a vehicle at a given time. So, in civil court where the burden of proof is lower, this evidence is probably enough not only to establish negligence, but to obtain maximum compensation. Most jurors don’t like hit-and-run drivers and they are anxious to punish them.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are also available, if there is clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Other Legal Options
Despite a lawyer’s best efforts, there may not be enough evidence to locate a vehicle’s owner. Generally, these victims still have legal options in these situations.
A UM/UIM claim is a good example. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is especially common in Florida. The Sunshine State has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the country.
Frequently, these policies are basically gap insurance. If Velma hits Daphne, Velma has $50,000 of insurance coverage, and Daphne’s damages are $75,000, Daphne’s UM/UIM policy might pay the other twenty-five grand, depending on the policy limits and some other factors.
In the case of a hit-and-run driver, UM/UIM insurance usually pays 100 percent of the claim, again dispensing on policy limits and some other factors.
Usually, the personal injury claim settlement process is long and drawn out. But many UM/UIM claims settle quickly, and on victim-friendly terms. The insurance company wants to keep its paying customer happy. Usually, it’s illegal for insurance companies to raise rates or otherwise retaliate against policyholders who file such claims.
Reach Out to a Compassionate Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Home, after-hours, virtual, and hospital visits are available.