More Than 21,000 People Have Been Injured by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Miami-Dade County So Far This Decade
Careless driving is always a problem, and it’s at the root of almost every auto accident in Miami. But hit-and-run accidents aren’t just careless — they’re cowardly.
Thinking only of themselves, hit-and-run drivers cause a crash and then flee the scene, leaving their helpless victims behind. There’s simply no excuse.
It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident in Florida until a police officer arrives, no matter how insignificant the accident might seem.
But there’s more to a hit-and-run than just a violation of criminal law. It’s also financially damaging… and potentially dangerous.
There is no way to know what condition the occupants of the other vehicle might be in. They may need help. Leaving them to fend for themselves is selfish and simply wrong.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are on the rise here in Miami, and they have been for years.
Consider, for example, the heartbreaking story of 62-year-old Rose Marie Jackson, who just last week was struck dead by a speeding hit-and-run driver in Wynwood. Now her family is joining local police in begging the offender to come forward. They told officers they don’t understand how someone could put another person in peril and just keep moving.
“I want the person to please, please, for the love of God, please surrender,” one of the victim’s nieces told WPLG News.
“Just to think that a person would do that,” another niece added, “it makes me question that person and do they have a heart?”
We have known for some time that Miami-Dade County is one of Florida’s most dangerous areas for drivers. But a deep dive into the county’s traffic stats paints an even more depressing picture when it comes to hit-and-runs in Miami.
In the sections that follow, we chart hit-and-run accidents in Miami over each of the last eight years. We look at how and where they happen — right down to the most dangerous streets in Miami.
Our hope here is twofold:
- First, we aim to raise awareness among Miami drivers that hit-and-run is a real risk and so you need to prepare. We’ll tell you how.
- Second, we hope to demonstrate to city, county, and state leaders that the time to take action is now. These numbers are simply too high.
Miami Sees Dramatic Year-to-Year Increases in Hit-and-Runs
We begin with the total number of hit-and-run accidents in Miami each year.
As the chart above makes clear, those totals have been rising dramatically (and near-steadily) for much of the last decade.
Beginning in 2011, Miami’s hit-and-runs increased on average by 6.8% from one year to the next. The period between 2013 and 2014 saw the single biggest year-to-year jump at 11%.
In other words, Miami went from more than 15,000 hit-and-runs to more than 20,000 hit-and-runs in just four years… and we’re still there today (despite a dip during 2018).
As raw totals, these numbers are astounding. There were 22,204 hit-and-run accidents in Miami during 2018 alone. That number would be too high if it were for all traffic accidents. But those are just the hit-and-runs.
…More than 22,000 in a single county in a single year.
That’s more than 60 per day. More than two every hour. Indeed, in the time we’ve spent researching and writing this article, it’s likely that hundreds more have been involved in a Miami hit-and-run.
How Often Do Miami’s Hit-and-Run Accidents Result in Injury?
This graph represents thousands of drivers, passengers, or pedestrians in Miami who have been left injured after a driver fled the scene.
On average, 13.6% of hit-and-run accidents in Miami result in physical injuries, which are often accompanied by emotional injuries and significant financial costs.
Even minor or low-speed accidents can lead to sizeable damages for the victims. Whiplash, for example — the single most common auto accident injury in Florida — can occur at speeds as low as five miles per hour and can lead to months or years of pain, stress, reduced mobility, and even time away from work.
That’s why it is imperative that drivers never try to assess for themselves whether the other vehicle’s occupants are injured. Only a doctor can assess medical injuries.
When Hit-and-Runs Kill: The Number of Deaths in Miami-Dade County
Sadly, some hit-and-run accidents result in the loss of life.
Last year alone, thirty people in our county died at the hands of a hit-and-run driver.
While those numbers can appear impersonal on a bar graph, each one represents the real story of a real person whose life was unfairly cut short… a person whose loved ones were left with questions and, often, a tragic sense of injustice.
Even when hit-and-run drivers are ultimately caught, as they often (but not always) are, the family members are left to grapple with the knowledge that their loved one might have been left for dead at the scene.
Tragically, there have been situations where the other driver’s urgent attention might have made a life-saving difference for the victim had they not fled.
It is also true that drivers who leave the scene may unwittingly take with them critical evidence that could have proved useful in helping the family bring an insurance claim or pursue wrongful death damages.
Hit-and-Run Accidents Add to Miami’s Pedestrian Injury & Death Toll
Florida consistently ranks as the deadliest state for pedestrians in the U.S., with the Miami metro coming in at number 14 among America’s most dangerous cities for pedestrians in 2019.
Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that Miami sees hundreds of pedestrian-involved hit-and-run accidents each year. As you can see on the chart above, foot pedestrians are disproportionately impacted, but those riding a bicycle (technically a vehicle in Florida) are also at grave risk.
In fact,just earlier this month, Florida Highway Patrol reported that a hit-and-run driver struck and killed a bicyclist in Southwest Miami-Dade.
As we consider proposals for making Miami safer, then, it is important to remember that efforts to drive down the city’s pedestrian injury rate can also help to reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents in Miami (and vice-versa).
Miami’s Most Dangerous Streets for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Using data obtained directly from official state traffic reports, we have mapped the streets and intersections in Miami where hit-and-runs tend to happen most often.
The heat map above pinpoints each hit-and-run accident in Miami between 2011 and 2018, with orange-red coloration indicating the areas of highest concentration.
The five most dangerous streets for Miami hit-and-runs are:
- NW 27th Ave. – 932 accidents
- N. SR 7 – 919 accidents
- S. Dixie Hwy – 781 accidents
- Biscayne Blvd. – 703 accidents
- SW 88th St. – 625 accidents
While an auto accident can happen anywhere, we encourage motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to exercise additional caution in these areas.
How to Protect Yourself Against the Possibility of a Hit-and-Run
No matter how carefully we may drive, none of us can absolutely protect ourselves from careless drivers who might cause an auto accident, nor can we ever guarantee that the people sharing the road with us are willing to follow the law.
As the data here clearly shows, hit-and-run accidents happen. What can you do if it happens to you?
As Miami auto accident lawyers, the first thing we want hit-and-run victims and their families to know is: you have rights, and you may have more options than you realize.
To begin with, Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will kick in to cover your personal injury damages, subject to your policy terms and limits. Every Florida driver is required to carry PIP.
Beyond that, you might also be able to make a claim under your policy’s Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). If you don’t have UIM coverage on your car insurance, we encourage you to consider adding it as soon as possible. This optional coverage is often available at a very low cost and can prove very helpful in some hit-and-run cases.
Every situation is different. Please never assume that you can’t get covered for your injuries just because the other driver decided to hit and run. Instead, ask an experienced Miami auto accident lawyer about your options as soon as possible.
What Can Leaders Do to Reduce the Number of Hit-and-Run Accidents in Miami?
To begin with, we want to make it clear that the responsibility of avoiding a hit-and-run accident begins and ends with the driver who makes the inexcusable decision to flee the scene.
That said, we would like to encourage state and local leaders to consider new efforts they might undertake to help bring these staggering numbers down.
First, the best way to reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents in Miami may be to reduce the number of accidents overall. To that end, continued improvements to sidewalks, crosswalks, road design, and drunk driving / distracted driving enforcement can go a long way in reducing the number of traffic accidents in South Florida.
Additionally, increased public service messaging could go a long way in encouraging nervous drivers to resist the instinct to flee. Studies have shown that many hit-and-run drivers react out of sheer panic, sometimes motivated by issues related to insurance coverage, immigration enforcement, substance possession, and/or outstanding warrants. Even in these situations, however, hitting and running usually just makes the situation worse. To that end, increased education for the public could help to bring these numbers down.
Finally, the state might consider tougher penalties and/or stricter enforcement for anyone who is caught hitting and running. Just three months ago, ABC News published an exposé revealing that people convicted in fatal hit-and-run casesrarely face significant jail time.
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Miami Auto Accident Lawyers at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC
Kaire & Heffernan, LLC is a Miami personal injury law firm with years of experience in helping people in Florida recover the full and fair financial justice they deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a hit-and-run — or any other type of auto accident in the greater Miami area — we invite you to contact our office to learn more about your rights under Florida law.
Your initial consultation is absolutely free, and if you hire us, we will not charge you a fee unless and until we recover compensation for your claim.
To learn more, contact Kaire & Heffernan, LLC and request a free, no-obligation consultation today.
About Mark Kaire
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 15 years. He is dedicated to helping unfairly injured people and their families claim the financial compensation they deserve, even in the face of large and powerful insurance companies. Additionally, Mr. Kaire is an active blogger, sharing his insights and analysis of Miami’s most pressing legal issues with the community at large.
Miami-Dade County is one of the most dangerous areas in Florida for drivers. In the chaos immediately following a car accident, most drivers will exchange insurance and contact information and let their lawyers handle the rest. In other cases, however, a driver may flee the scene of an accident, leaving those that they injured to their own devices.
Florida law requires individuals operating a motor vehicle to immediately stop, remaining at the scene of the incident, to secure medical help, contact the police, and verify everyone is okay. This also allows for parties (including the police) to determine who caused the accident and what type of damage occurred.
How frequently do these types of accidents occur? More importantly, what is the outcome of these hit and run accidents? Using the most recent data available, we have examined Miami hit and run accidents from 2011 to 2018 and have provided this data for informational purposes.