When Fort Lauderdale Hit-and-Run Involve Professionals

Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run cases don’t discriminate. road.jpg

Defense attorneys know their are many factors — and clients range from violent offenders to successful professionals.

The latter was the case recently in Seminole County, where a well-known chiropractor was charged with leaving the scene of a crash in which a Fort Myers female motorcyclist was killed.

Now, it may seem that criminals might be more likely to flee a crash. However, the pattern we’ve observed in some of these cases is that professionals tend to feel they have more to lose. And, of course, those who have no experience with the criminal justice system often panic and flee the scene before coming to their senses.

It’s not a matter of being cold-hearted. In many of these instances, the driver doesn’t realize the extent of the damage or injuries or may simply be unsure of what his or her responsibilities are.

Particularly in cases where a motorcycle and inclement weather were involved (as is alleged to be the case here) the driver may not even be certain that they’ve been in an accident. That may seem far-fetched, but it happens more often than you might think.

Florida hit-and-run crashes involving injury or death are spelled out in Florida Statute 316.027. Basically, what that law says is that if you are involved in a crash in which there was any type of injury – be it on public or private property – you must stop right away, either at the scene of the crash or as close as possible to it. You must remain there until fulfilling the requirements spelled out in Florida Statute 316.062, which states that you must render aid (in the form of “reasonable assistance”) to the injured parties and you must provide your information. Providing your information does not necessarily mean giving your side of the story about what happened in a crash, and particularly if you may be at fault, you should refrain from doing so. Providing your information simply means that you give your name, address, registration number of the vehicle and license.

The only time you are excused from these duties is under Florida Statute 316.064, which indicates that you are not legally responsible for these duties if you are physically incapable of doing so.

Usually, however, if you are able to drive away, you are seen as legally fit to complete these duties.

In this case, the road conditions that day were rainy on State Road 415, near New Smyrna Beach. A vehicle allegedly struck hers from behind, and the impact was said to have knocked her into oncoming traffic. She was then struck by two other vehicles whose drivers reportedly could not avoid impact. The motorcyclist’s husband reportedly witnessed the crash, and provided a statement to Florida Highway Patrol investigators alleging that the doctor, who had been driving a large, luxury sport utility vehicle, hit his wife without stopping to render aid.

But there’s something about this scenario that just seems off. First of all, doctors take an oath, pledging to do no harm. Failing to stop to help an accident victim when you have the medical expertise to do so seems unlikely. And secondly, this doctor advertised on his website that he plays a large role in helping auto accident victims recover.

It’s just worth pointing out that the actions here don’t seem to coincide with the other details we know of the defendant – and that could be an important point for the defense.

If convicted, the doctor faces up to 30 years in prison.

If you are facing criminal charges in Broward or Palm Beach counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.

Additional Resources:
Orlando doctor arrested in hit-and-run death of Fort Myers woman, By Henry Pierson Curtis, Orlando Sentinel

More Blog Entries:
Lawyer for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Case in Broward County Discusses Cell Phone Records, April 5, 2010, Fort Lauderdale Hit-and-Run Lawyer Blog

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