What You Need to Know About Hit-and-Run Accidents in NYC
A hit-and-run accident occurs when two or more motorists are involved in a collision and one party leaves the scene. A hit-and-run can also occur when a motorist provides the wrong name or contact information, so they cannot be found later. These accidents are taken very seriously in New York City, and those who commit this offense face serious penalties under the law. Read on to learn everything you need to know about hit-and-run accidents in NYC. And remember, if you’ve been hurt by a driver who fled the scene, you do have legal options. Contact our team at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.
Legal Requirements After an Accident
Under the law, motorists have many requirements they must meet after an accident. After any collision, you should always:
- Stop to check if you sustained injuries, or if anyone else is injured.
- Exchange your contact and insurance information with any other driver who remained on the scene, and ask for their information as well.
- Call your local police station or 911 if anyone is injured or if the property damage resulting from the crash exceeds $1,500.
Two specific laws in New York also set forth the requirements after any motor vehicle accident. These laws are as follows:
- Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 600-1a: When an accident does not result in any injury, but there is property damage involved, this statute requires all drivers to exchange their insurance and driver’s license information with all other motorists involved in the crash. Motorists have no legal obligation to contact the police if the crash did not result in injuries and the property damage caused is valued at less than $1,000.
- Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 600-2a: When a crash does result in injuries, motorists are required to contact the police and file a report. The only exception to this is when a person physically cannot contact the police. Motorists must also exchange personal contact information, as well as their insurance information, regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
There are times when a driver hits another vehicle and it only results in property damage and the owner cannot be located. This most often occurs when a motorist hits a vehicle in a parking lot and the driver of that car is not at the scene. In this case, motorists can either leave a note on the windshield with their information or contact the local police. Taking these actions can prevent someone from facing charges for a hit-and-run.
Collecting Damages After a New York Hit-and-Run
The no-fault insurance laws in New York work in favor of accident victims after a hit-and-run accident. Under these laws, injured individuals can file a claim with their own insurance company to obtain personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. It is important to note that PIP benefits will cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income if you cannot return to work right away. PIP benefits do not cover other losses, including your non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or any property damage to your vehicle.
Under New York law, all auto insurance policies must include at least $25,000 in uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Supplementary underinsured motorist coverage (SUM) is not required, but it can increase the coverage to $400,000 in instances that involve a hit-and-run driver. Both of these options can provide additional compensation, beyond a person’s PIP benefits, if they are injured. To successfully claim uninsured motorist coverage, accident victims must prove that their vehicle made physical contact with another.
Obtaining compensation after a hit-and-run accident is more challenging than after a crash involving a cooperative driver. For this reason, it’s always wise to work with a New York City car accident lawyer who can conduct an investigation, and meet with specialists such as financial professionals and medical experts, to help you claim the full damages you are entitled to.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run
The moments after a hit-and-run accident are particularly confusing and it is natural to feel a great deal of stress and frustration. After this type of crash, take the following steps:
- Do not chase the other driver: Your first inclination may be to try and follow the driver so you can identify them. This is not recommended, and could even be dangerous. Do not put your own life, or the lives of others, in potential danger by becoming involved in a car chase.
- Contact the police: Even if the property damage was minimal and you do not believe you were injured, you should contact the police and tell them about the accident. Law enforcement will start an investigation right away to try and locate the hit-and-run driver.
- Take detailed notes: Your memories will fade over time so as soon as possible after the crash, write down as much as you can remember about the other driver, the type of vehicle they were driving, and a license plate number, even if it is only partial.
- Take pictures at the scene: Photos and video footage can help determine how the accident happened, even when the other vehicle is not at the scene. Pictures and videos are often the strongest pieces of evidence in accident claims.
- Seek medical attention: Again, even if you do not think you were hurt in the collision, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. A doctor will identify any injuries you sustained and your medical records can strengthen any future claim you may file.
- Call a lawyer: A New York City car accident lawyer will have the resources to conduct an investigation to find the hit-and-run driver and will help you through the claims process so you recover the full damages.
Get the Help You Need Today
Hit-and-run accidents are some of the most stressful and frustrating a person could experience. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our team can help you through this difficult time and will help you obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about your legal options.