Anyone who causes an accident that results in injury or property damage is required to report it to the authorities.
Not reporting it, failing to exchange information, and fleeing the scene could all result in fines, jail time, and even criminal charges according to the hit and run laws in New York.
Fines and Penalties
According to NY VAT § 600, the consequences someone faces for a hit and run are based on the type of accident, depending on if it caused:
- Property damage only
- Serious injuries
Often, the threshold for property damage is listed as $1,000. Serious injuries are also defined under New York law, and include disfigurement, fractures, loss of a fetus, and damage to various organs, systems, or body members (NY ISC § 5102(d)). Remember that some vehicle damage could be more substantial than it seems, and some injuries don’t manifest symptoms until 24 to 48 hours after a crash.
In the end, the safest course of action is to call the police to report an accident, even if it was a single vehicle crash or if there doesn’t appear to be much damage or injury. Additionally, in the age of cell phones, traffic cameras, and other security monitoring devices, the likelihood that you won’t be tracked down after leaving the scene of an accident is slim.
If you leave the site of an accident without reporting it or exchanging information with the other driver, you could end up paying for it—literally. The costs for each type of accident are:
- Property damage only: Up to $250 fine
- Injuries: $500 to $1,000 fine
- Serious injuries: $1,000 to $5,000 fine
- Fatality: $2,000 to $5,000 fine
Exactly what level of fine you face in each category depends on the severity of the accident. The more property damage or the more serious the injuries, the higher fine you will likely pay.
Leaving the scene of an accident won’t just lighten your wallet. If caught, you could face time in prison:
- Property damage only: Up to 15 days
- Injuries: Up to a year
- Serious injuries: Up to four years
- Fatality: Up to seven years
While running away after damaging someone else’s car or property is only considered a traffic infraction, New York’s hit and run laws view fleeing the scene as a crime when someone is hurt. If caught, you could face:
- Injuries: Misdemeanor charges
- Serious injuries: Class E felony charges
- Fatality: Class D felony charges
These criminal charges will go on your permanent record and can affect your future long after you pay a fine or serve jail time.
Don’t Forget Other Costs
While the laws for hit and run accidents in New York outline specific fees and charges, they don’t mention other costs you may incur and should keep in mind, such as:
- Court fees
- Lost income while in prison
- Raised insurance premiums
- Transportation costs
- License reinstatement fees
- Criminal record
- Points on your license
If your license was suspended or revoked because of your hit-and-run charge, you will have to pay for alternative transportation until it can be reinstated, which can also cost you a fee.
Costs don’t have to be financial. Fleeing an accident can result in a criminal record and points on your license that can interfere with other aspects of your life.
Insurance and DMV Reporting
In addition to the laws regarding hit and runs, New York has requirements for reporting an accident to insurance and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
If you want to receive some basic help with medical expenses and lost wages after a crash, you must file a no-fault insurance claim within 30 days of the accident. While failing to do so doesn’t mean you will be charged with a hit and run, it does mean you may lose out on benefits.
You also must file an official report with the DMV within 10 days (NY VAT § 605). Failure to do this may carry more serious consequences, such as misdemeanor charges and license suspension.
Consequences in Civil Court
New York law doesn’t just outline criminal consequences for hit-and-run drivers. It also provides options for hit-and-run victims. The latter can file personal injury lawsuits in civil court to pursue damages for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. This can end up costing the fleeing driver even more.
If you were the victim of a hit and run, the personal injury lawyer in Long Island at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can evaluate your options for pursuing compensation.
We have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. You do not have to wait until a driver has faced criminal consequences to explore civil ones.
Suffered a Hit and Run? Call Now for a Free Consultation
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we use our understanding of New York’s hit and run laws to pursue damages for victims like you. Call our office today at (516) 358-6900 to get started with a case review and learn about our no-fee promise.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900