The driver of a Toyota Echo was arrested last week and charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious injuries. The victim, a 53 year old man driving a moped in the eastbound lane of Gateway Boulevard in Boynton Beach, was left in critical condition at the side of the road. According to witnesses, as detailed by several news reporting agencies, the Toyota driver intentionally bumped the moped’s rare tire, causing it to violently skid off the road because she was allegedly frustrated with the moped’s slow rate of speed. After the impact, the Toyota driver is alleged to have sped off at a high rate of speed. The victim was not wearing a helmet at the time; he was admitted to the hospital and put on life support.
Notwithstanding that the facts of this accident reflect intentional criminal behavior in violation of Chapter 316.027, Florida Statutes, the victim is not precluded from filing a civil lawsuit against the Toyota driver or even against his own insurance company for monetary damages, including but not limited to, compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hit and run automobile accident, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Boynton Law, P.A. for a free evaluation of legal options.
It is interesting to note that the facts of this accident give rise to a claim for punitive damages (in addition to compensatory damages), which typically are not awarded in automobile and other personal injury cases. Punitive damages are awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and/or deter future bad conduct. If what the witnesses reported to the police authorities is accurate and the driver of the Toyota acted intentionally, willfully, wantonly, and in reckless disregard for public safety, then this collision is not a case of simple negligence, but rather, what is called culpable negligence. Punitive damages, if awarded to the victim, are generally not covered by the insurance company and must be paid by the wrongdoer. In Florida, if punitive damages are awarded in a car accident case, the amount may not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000 (whichever is greater).
If you have been injured in a car accident, call the experienced attorneys at Boynton Law, P.A. for a free consultation.