The NYPD alone records over 46,000 hit and run accidents every year. Over 2,000 of these accidents result in at least one injury. Almost all of these accidents went unsolved.
If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, you should know what steps to take. Failing to take the proper steps can leave you without recourse for injury compensation.
Here are some of the key steps you should take after a hit and run accident in New York.
Legal Duties After a Traffic Accident
Under New York law, a driver must perform certain actions after any car or pedestrian accident, including:
- Stopping at the accident scene
- Reporting the accident to the police if anyone was killed or injured
A driver who fails to take these steps commits a hit and run. A judge can sentence someone convicted of a hit and run to:
- A fine of up to $5,000
- A prison sentence of up to four years
If the accident victim dies, a judge can increase the prison sentence to five years.
If the accident caused death, injury, or more than $1,000 in property damage, the driver must also file a DMV report within ten days of the accident.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident
Your actions after an accident serve a few purposes:
- Satisfy your legal duties
- Help police find the hit and run driver and identify their insurance information
- Create a record for your insurance claim
Some steps you should take include:
Check Your Injuries
After a hit and run, you may not have another person to assist you. Bystanders might try to help, depending on the location. However, you might have to do things on your own.
The severity of your injuries will tell you what kind of help you need. You might need first aid for bleeding or other injuries. You might be trapped in your vehicle. If you take time to figure out your situation, you will know what to tell bystanders and the 911 dispatcher.
If you suffered an injury, New York law requires you to report the accident to the police. You also have to call the police to report the crime committed.
If you need to go to the hospital, ask the dispatchers to send an ambulance. You should not worry about how to pay for the ambulance.
New York uses a no-fault auto insurance system. After a car accident, your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits will cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses. Your insurance company covers the emergency care you need after a hit and run accident.
If you call 911 and obtain an accident report, your insurance may also provide compensation for your bodily injuries, including pain and suffering, which may otherwise not be available.
Cooperate with the Police
If your injuries allow it, you should talk to the police while you remember the crash. The sooner they open the investigation, the better the chances are for catching the other driver and preserving your claims.
Give the police as many details as you can. At the same time, stick to the facts and be honest. Insurers and your attorney may use the police report to investigate your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention, including emergency care from the scene of the accident by ambulance. Doctors can diagnose your injuries and identify any hidden injuries, like a concussion. They can also prescribe a course of treatment so your injuries do not worsen. If your injuries worsen due to your inaction and failure to seek immediate treatment, an insurer will argue that your claim should be reduced or denied.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
New York requires all vehicle owners to buy uninsured motorist coverage. For purposes of an injury claim, a hit and run driver is an uninsured motorist. This means you can claim benefits under both your PIP coverage and your uninsured motorist coverage. However, your failure to call the police from the scene of the accident and obtain a police report could greatly hinder your ability to make such a claim.
Talk to an Injury Lawyer
Before making any insurance claims or speaking to any insurance representatives, accident parties, witnesses, or any other parties, you should talk to the Kohan Law Group. Our injury lawyers have experience dealing with all of these people and understand the ins and outs of insurance and personal injury law. Our lawyers will help you put together the evidence to make a claim and fight with the insurance companies on your behalf.
To discuss your hit and run accident and the compensation you can recover for it, contact Kohan Law Group for a free personal injury consultation.