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Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash in St. Petersburg


Authorities have few leads as they search for a man who was driving a stolen car when he caused a fatal crash and then fled the scene on foot.

The wreck occurred near the intersection of 40th Street South and Ninth Avenue South. Police say that an unknown person driving a stolen Mercedes smacked into a Chevrolet carrying multiple people. The driver and a passenger were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. Doctors say the driver is expected to survive, but the passenger was declared dead. Police believe that the Mercedes driver fled on foot before being picked up by another driver.

None of the names were released.

Tracking Down the Tortfeasor

Evidence collection is the foundation of most successful car wreck claims. This process is a bit different following a hit-and-run crash. Evidence does more than build a case. It also helps a Tampa personal injury attorney fully inform victims of their legal options.

At the beginning, both police investigators and personal injury attorneys usually have little to go on. Frequently, police investigators give up. They mostly view car crashes as civil disputes anyway. But an attorney, usually partnering with a private investigator, keeps looking. Some common techniques include:

  • Reviewing Surveillance Video: Traffic and/or security cameras cover almost every intersection in the Tampa Bay area. This footage often yields important data about the tortfeasor (negligent driver), or at least the tortfeasor’s vehicle.
  • Finding Additional Witnesses: For various reasons, many eyewitnesses do not loiter at crash scenes so they can speak with police officers. Experienced lawyers and investigators know how to find additional witnesses, approach them, and convince them to share their stories.
  • Staking Out the Area: Most vehicle collisions occur within a few miles of home. So, there is a good chance the tortfeasor will return to the scene of an accident. If that happens, the evidentiary payoff could be huge.

A little evidence goes a long way in civil court. The burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s substantially different from the burden of proof in criminal court, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assume there are no eyewitnesses to a fatal hit-and-run. Enhanced surveillance video shows a dark-color sedan with a license plate number ending in “KC” strike the victim. Another witness, who was a few blocks away, saw a dark blue sedan speeding away from the accident scene.

This evidence would never hold up in criminal court. But a personal injury lawyer can use this information to locate the vehicle’s owner. It is more likely than not that the owner was driving at the time, unless the owner has a rock-solid alibi.

Damages in these cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Legal Options in Hit-and-Run Claims

It’s not always possible to locate the tortfeasor (at-fault party) in a hit-and-run case. Fortunately, many victims have legal options to pursue against an insurance company. Hiring an experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of pursuing a hit and run claim with your insurance company.

Count On Experienced Lawyers

Hit-and-run victims usually have several legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer, contact the Matassini Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.

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The experience you need in your pursuit of justice

The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa car accident attorneys, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

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