One in four car crashes reported in New York City is hit and run accidents. While the law in New York requires the negligent driver to stay at the accident site until the police arrive or things are settled, in many cases, the at-fault motorist may attempt to flee after the accident in the hope to avoid liability, while leaving behind injured people.
If the negligent driver has left without providing identification and contact details and without any reasonable cause, the accident in New York will be considered a hit and run case. Victims in these accidents are left alone, and they may believe they have no way to seek compensation for their injuries and losses in this situation. However, when you have a seasoned New York hit-and-run accident lawyer on your side, you are not alone.
Steps to Take after a New York Hit and Run Collision
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an NYC hit and run collision, you should make a call to 911 as a first step. You will require a thorough medical exam and emergency care to evaluate and treat your injuries and avoid the risks of delayed treatment. At the first opportunity, you should try to make notes of the incident and write down any details that you may recall about the at-fault driver and their vehicle.
Make a note of the color, model, and make of the vehicle, any portion of the license plate, or a description of the driver and passengers, if any. While you are still at the scene of the accident, try to identify eyewitnesses and obtain their contact details. This will help your NY hit and run attorney prepare a stronger case and make assist in tracking down the at-fault driver.
After your emergency medical treatment, you should look at your auto insurance policy to assess your coverage. A regular NYC car insurance policy may not cover serious injuries adequately. However, you may explore your options in consultation with a knowledgeable hit-and-run accident attorney in New York. They can help you pursue a claim to obtain the maximum possible coverage from your insurer. If they successfully track down the at-fault motorist, they can ensure that you receive the full personal injury damages you are entitled to under the law.
The Law Requires You to Remain at the Accident Site in NYC
In a New York car accident, you have a legal obligation to stay at the accident site if the collision has resulted in personal injury, death, or significant property damage. The law specifies as follows:
Death or Injury: If an auto accident results in death or personal injury, the motorists must remain at the accident scene and inform the police – provided they are physically in a position to do so. The drivers involved in the crash are also required to exchange information that may be pertinent to a personal injury claim and insurance.
Property Damage: If no personal injury has occurred and the property damage is less than $1,000, a motorist in New York is not required to report to the police or wait at the accident site. However, even in this case, the drivers must stop in order to exchange information related to insurance.
If a motorist in New York City leaves the scene of an accident without waiting for the police or without exchanging relevant information, it will be considered a case of hit and run accident.
NYC Hit and Run Cases and Negligence Per Se
Irrespective of who might be at fault in a car accident, under the New York laws, it can be an offense to leave the scene of an accident without stopping and without exchanging information. A skilled NYC hit and run accident attorney can investigate the case to identify the driver who fled from the scene of the accident and use that fact to establish their negligence and obtain maximum personal injury compensation for you.
Under New York law, the doctrine of negligence per se will apply in these cases. Under this doctrine, negligence will be presumed when a party breaks a law that was aimed to protect against the type of damage that has taken place. In the past, NY courts have said that any violation of the New York vehicle and traffic law will be considered as negligence per se.
Therefore, when an at-fault driver in NYC is charged with a hit and run, your attorney can help to use this rebuttable presumption of negligence. Your lawyer will focus on proving the following:
When your lawyer establishes these facts, the court will presume that the at-fault hit and run driver was negligent. At this point, the burden of proving otherwise will lie with this party. Financial compensation becomes more feasible when your lawyer invokes the doctrine of negligence per se in these cases.
Filing a Hit and Run Claim with Your Insurer
As a “no-fault” state, New York requires you to file a claim in a hit-and-run accident with your own insurance provider first. This must be done no matter who is responsible for your injuries. Therefore, depending on your extent of damages, you may sometimes be able to make a full recovery from the insurer even when the at-fault party is traceable.
But you should know that the insurance company is not going to favor you, and will only focus on how to diminish or deny your claim for compensation. A dedicated and capable New York hit-and-run accident lawyer will be able to negotiate strongly with the insurance company and protect your right to compensation.
Hit and run accidents, in particular, often result in catastrophic injuries. Therefore, your damages may far exceed what your NY insurance coverage might pay. For these reasons, it is vital for you to have a resourceful hit-and-run accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible so that a strong case for damages is pursued in your favor.
What is MVAIC?
It is possible that you have suffered injuries in a hit-and-run collision in New York, but you do not have uninsured motorist (UM) insurance. In this situation, you can pursue your case for compensation through the MVAIC or Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Company.
MVAIC is designated to assist people who are without coverage of their own. To ensure your eligibility for this option, you are required to report your hit and run accident to the police with 24 hours of your crash. Thereafter, you must also report the accident to the MVAIC.
It is best to have a capable attorney who can help you navigate the process. Notifying the police about your accident is a key requirement, regardless of whether you have MVAIC or UM. Your lawyer will know these requirements and will help ensure that you do not miss any of them.
Criminal Charges against the Hit and Run Driver in New York
Consider a situation where the police identify the hit and run driver and charge them a violation of the law. A criminal case against the at-fault party will not take away your right to file a personal injury claim, which is a civil lawsuit. Both civil and criminal cases can proceed simultaneously because they are distinct from each other.
Sometimes, the personal injury civil case may be put on hold until the criminal case is concluded. The court may do this to give the hit-and-run drivers a chance to defend themselves against the more serious criminal charges. Your goal should be to file your personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible. This will ensure that your claim is not time-barred even if it may be put on hold.
The moment the criminal case against the defendant is completed, your personal injury case will be accepted immediately. While the outcome of the criminal case in a hit and run accident will not directly impact your personal injury claim, a skillful New York personal injury attorney can utilize a criminal conviction to your advantage and maximize your compensation.
Choose a Top-Rated Hit and Run Accident Lawyer in New York City
Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff is one of the leading and most respected personal injury law firms in New York that can help you achieve your rightful damages after a hit and run crash. Our legal team is committed to helping you go back to your normal life and attain closure from this traumatic incident as soon as possible.
We will leave no stone unturned in trying to locate the hit and run driver and hold them liable for their actions. When you have our accomplished New York personal injury attorneys on your side, you will not have to deal with the challenges of your unfortunate hit-and-run injuries alone. To set up a complimentary consultation with one of our dedicated lawyers, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.
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