Whether you were involved in a minor fender bender or a more serious accident with another vehicle, you must know your legal rights, as well as your responsibilities as a driver. Failing to follow state-mandated procedures when involved in a crash or leaving the scene of an accident could lead to criminal charges and financial liability for damages.
If the other driver left the scene before you had a chance to call the police or exchange information, you might still have options for legal recourse. A Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer can go over your case and help you take appropriate action.
Your Duty as a Driver When Involved in a Car Accident
Car accidents are serious matters, and every driver has certain legal obligations when involved in one. In the State of New York, those obligations are listed under VAT § 600. If you have been in a car accident that caused damages to another person’s property or resulted in injuries, you must:
- Stop immediately at the accident scene while ensuring your vehicle is not blocking traffic.
- Exchange information with other drivers at the scene, such as your driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.
- Provide personal information, such as your name and address.
- Report the accident to the local police or authorities.
Failing to provide information, such as your driver’s license or insurance information, could result in misdemeanor charges and fines of up to $1,000.
Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident may face hit-and-run charges. Penalties for hit and run vary according to the damages involved and injuries suffered by other drivers. Still, they may involve felony charges, fines up to $5,000, and potential jail time.
What to do If You Are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Hit-and-run accidents happen suddenly and with no warning, and drivers are often left stunned and unsure of what to do in the aftermath. If a hit-and-run driver strikes you or a loved one, take the following steps:
- Pull your car over immediately. Resist the urge to pursue the hit-and-run driver, which could prove to be dangerous for yourself and your passengers.
- Make note of important details. Try to get a description of the car, make a mental note of the time and location of the accident, and look around for any witnesses that may be present.
- Call the local police or highway patrol. The officer will write up a report that details basic information about the accident.
- Get medical attention for your injuries. It is always good to seek medical care, as many potentially dangerous conditions can have symptoms that do not always appear immediately.
- Notify your insurer. Let your insurance company know you were a victim of a hit-and-run accident, and provide copies of any police or accident reports that were filed.
You must also file a crash report within 10 days of the accident, according to VAT § 605. However, as mentioned, the responding officer should have filed a report when they came to the scene. If you’re not sure if they did, submit one anyway. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the report should be available within seven days following the car accident.
After you took all these steps, contact a personal injury lawyer Garden City to evaluate your case and present you with your legal options. Take all the documents with you at this meeting: the police report, your medical records and bills related to the accident and injuries, the notification you sent your insurer, and other papers, accident scene photos, and witness contact details, etc. After analyzing your situation and documentation, your attorney will discuss the possible legal courses of action to take so you can receive compensation for your injuries, material losses, and other damages.
Compensation for Victims of Hit-and-Run Drivers
If you were a victim of a hit-and-run driver, a Long Island car accident lawyer could help you get compensation for your injuries. We could have a team of investigators that can help locate the at-fault driver.
If the driver is found, you could file a claim with their insurance company and negotiate a settlement. In some cases, pursuing compensation for your injuries against the at-fault driver through a personal injury lawsuit may better serve you. By filing a car accident lawsuit against a hit-and-run driver, you may be entitled to receive the following damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
If your loved one passed away from car accident injuries, you could file for wrongful death compensation.
If the Hit-and-Run Driver Isn’t Located
In cases involving a hit-and-run driver who is never identified, you could get compensation through your insurance company via uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.
The New York Department of Financial Services reports that state law requires all insurance companies to offer supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage to policyholders. Your UM/UIM insurance coverage may help cover costs associated with your accident, in amounts up to $250,000 per person and up to $500,000 per accident.
Retaining Legal Help After a Car Accident in New York State
Working out a car accident case, especially a hit-and-run accident case, can be a daunting task. All the complexities of the legal system and the stress that comes with it can only make it more overwhelming. You could benefit from hiring a car accident attorney to take on your insurance claim or lawsuit.
On your behalf, they may:
- Gather the police report, available video and photographs, medical records, and witness testimony to create a case file
- Identify who is liable for the car accident
- Evaluate your damages
- Manage correspondence with everyone involved in your case
- Represent you in settlement negotiations and/or trial
All these legal services could be available to you for a contingency fee, meaning there are no retainers or out-of-pocket fees involved. Compensation for their work comes out of your financial award (should they obtain one for you).
Let our Long Island Car Accident Attorneys Assist You Today
Contact our firm today if you or someone you care about was involved in a hit-and-run accident. At the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our Long Island car accident attorneys can advise you on the best course of action in your particular case while ensuring your legal rights are protected.
We have experience with insurance companies and understand the tactics they frequently use to deny or undervalue claims. Our legal team can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable for your injuries. Do not let a hit-and-run driver leave you holding the bill. Call us today at (516) 358-6900 for a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction.