Long Island Hit & Run Lawyer
Hit-and-Run Car Accidents in Nassau, Queens and Throughout New York
A hit-and-run occurs when a driver hits another vehicle, pedestrian or private property and never stops, or the driver stops briefly but leaves before the police come without exchanging information with the other driver or pedestrian. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law, yet it happens with alarming frequency. Even more distressing is the fact that hit-and-run crashes have been on the rise. In New York, hit-and-runs are up more than 25% in recent years. There were 46,000 hit-and-run collisions in New York in 2017, racking up over 5,000 injuries and causing at least one death every week of the year.
A hit-and-run is not just illegal because it might leave the victim stuck with no way to pay for property damage and medical bills. Leaving an injured victim unattended without notifying the police can make the person’s injuries much more severe or even fatal by delaying needed emergency treatment. Fortunately, there are ways to track down a hit-and-run driver, as well as ways to get help with doctor bills and other damages even when the driver can’t be found. In New York City, the Long Island hit & run lawyers at Giuffré Law Offices can help you when you or a loved one is injured in a hit-and-run.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in New York
New York laws require a driver to stop at the scene of any accident involving property damage or personal injury. The driver is required to share driver’s license and insurance information with the victim. A person who leaves the scene of an accident involving property damage can be fined up to $250 or sent to jail for 15 days. If injury or death is involved, a hit-and-run is a felony, with punishments including up to $5,000 in fines and years in prison.
Overall, the arrest rate of hit-and-run drivers is very low, but the more serious the accident, the more likely the police will get involved and try to identify the driver. New York recently implemented a hit-and-run alert system to notify residents and help locate the driver.
If the driver can be found and your injuries meet the definition of serious injury in New York law, you might be able to file a tort claim against the driver. In addition to recovering the full cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, it might also be appropriate to seek punitive damages to punish the hit-and-run driver for this illegal, dangerous and unacceptable conduct.
Uninsured Motorist insurance can help pay your damages
New York requires all drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance to cover $25,000 in personal injury damages to a person they injure in an auto accident, or $50,000 if they hurt more than one person in a crash. Drivers must also carry $10,000 in property damage liability.
If you have this basic policy, you also have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in the same amounts as your liability coverage. UM not only covers you when you get hit by a driver without insurance; it also covers you in case of a hit-and-run.
Your first recourse after an accident is your personal injury protection (PIP) no-fault coverage. If your injuries exceed the serious injury threshold in New York law, you should pursue a UM claim for the full amount of your damages.
No UM? No PIP? The Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnity Corporation (MVAIC) provides no-fault coverage to people without other insurance. MVAIC benefits are available in cases of hit-and-run, but you must act quickly. MVAIC procedures require notification within 24 hours or as soon as possible, and there are a number of forms and affidavits you have to file. If you qualify, you can recover payments for medical bills, lost wages, prescription medicines, housekeeping assistance, and transportation to and from your doctor appointments.
Steps to follow after a hit-and-run accident
Write down everything you remember about the vehicle that hit you – make, model, color, any portion of the license plate you saw, where it might be damaged, etc. Take pictures of the scene and call the police. Calling the police is important to track down the driver and also to make an official record for the insurance company. Call your UM insurance carrier and notify them about the accident. Take pictures of the crash scene, including the road and the damage to vehicles, but only if you can take those pictures safely. Do not endanger your life or the lives of others to take the pictures. Take note of the area where the accident occurred. Were there any stores or offices that might have had surveillance video that we could use to view the accident or identify the “hit and run” driver? As soon as possible, call an experienced New York auto accident attorney. Your attorney can help you track down the hit-and-run driver, deal with the insurer on your behalf, prove that the injuries were caused by the crash, and negotiate a fair settlement that compensates for you for your damages.
Help is Available After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident in Long Island or New York City
If you or a loved one were injured in a hit-and-run crash in Nassau County, Long Island or New York City, call Giuffré Law Offices at 516-802-9912 for a free consultation with an experienced and successful New York car accident lawyer.