It was reported on June 24 that Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that increases the potential punishment for drivers who cause hit-and-runs. According to the report, the bill doubles the mandatory minimum sentence from two years to four years.
The new legislation is titled the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act. The act was named after an Miami cyclist who was struck and killed in 2012. While the driver who killed him was convicted of hit-and-run, the driver ultimately served less than two years in prison.
One fatal car accident that was caused by a hit-and-run driver in Orlando left a woman’s family in shambles. Her son was injured and her daughter was killed as they were attempting to cross East Colonial Drive in December 2013. They were struck by a hit-and-run driver who was never taken into custody. The mother ultimately filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the two owners of the vehicle.
In Florida, the legislation regarding the penalties for those who are convicted of hit-and-run driving might be thought to be lax. While criminal charges may not result in the penalties that many injured individuals believe is fair, someone who suffered injuries may be eligible to file a personal injurylawsuit against a hit-and-run driver. In the event that the driver of the vehicle cannot be found or is never taken into custody, the injured person may be able to file the lawsuit against the owners of the vehicle. By doing so, the injured person could recover the cost of medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering.
Source: WFTV, “Gov. Scott signs legislation to increase punishment for hit-and-run convictions“, June 24, 2014