Experiencing a hit and run accident on New York City streets is a terrifying event. If you were driving a car, you could have been injured or become stuck inside due to car damage. As a pedestrian or cyclist, you may have been thrown through the street. Fortunately, many kind New Yorkers will stop to help injured car accident victims, but it doesn't excuse or replace the fact the person who hit you did not bother to stop or exchange information at the scene of the accident.
Any motorist involved in a hit and run accident in the State of New York is legally required to remain on the scene. Unfortunately, drivers do not always do what’s morally right. Sadly, the number of hit and run accidents in New York City increased more than 26% from 2013 to 2018. Unfortunately, 2019 saw an uptick of hit and run accidents as well.
Drivers who leave the scene of an accident are not only committing a crime; they are leaving a person who has potentially suffered a serious injury or an injury severe enough to lead to a fatality. This action is reprehensible and against New York City law.
If you are involved in a hit and run accident, the Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm’s compassionate injury attorneys are here to support you. Call us at 212-268-3222 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation.
New York defines a hit and run accident as a person who leaves or flees the scene of an accident with or without stopping. Other hit-and-run drivers are oblivious to the fact they’ve hit someone and continue driving, or worse; they simply don’t care.
New York State law is clear that motorists who leave the scene of an accident before exchanging information with the accident victim will suffer consequences. If property is damaged, this is considered a traffic violation. Law enforcement can issue a ticket, points can be added to a driver’s license, courts can charge court fees, and drivers can even be remanded to prison. If an injury or fatally occurs and the driver has left the accident scene, it's a criminal violation, and additional consequences can be faced.
The first thing to do is to seek medical attention if injured. However, if possible, while waiting for the law enforcement or ambulance to arrive, do the following:
Any information gathered at the time of the accident will prove to be valuable down the road. After details are documented, victims who are injured at the scene of an accident should always immediately get medical treatment even if they feel fine after an accident. A professional medical evaluation will ensure they aren’t suffering serious injuries that aren’t apparent. This exam also documents that an accident has occurred in the event authoritative documentation is necessary later.
Once medical treatment has been sought, a hit-and-run victim should call an experienced personal injury accident lawyer. New York State is a “no-fault” insurance state. This means victims have to file insurance claims with their car insurance policy first. All auto insurance policies must carry “personal injury protection” (PIP) and “uninsured motorist coverage (UM)/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)" coverage. Navigating the insurance landscape can be complicated, and an attorney can help ensure claims are filed correctly.
If the amount of damages exceeds what a car accident victim's own insurance company's policy has coverage for, a skilled car accident attorney can look at other legal options. If a specific “injury threshold” has been met, car accident victims in NYC are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. Victims have three years from the date of the accident to pursue an injury claim.
In the cases of a hit and run, a lawsuit has an excellent basis for filing a claim of negligence because these accidents can be tried in both civil and criminal court. The defendant can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the level of damages incurred.
The State of New York follows a “pure comparative negligence rule,” which means the injured person will receive compensation from an insurance company based on a percentage. This means a victim is typically assigned some level of “blame” for an accident. For instance, if a jury determines a driver is 85% at fault, the victim will be assigned 15%. In this situation, the victim would be eligible to claim 85% of compensation to cover their medical treatment, medical bills, lost wages, or other financial losses.
However, in hit and run accidents, drivers identified as leaving the accident scene are held strictly liable for damages. Once they’ve left the accident scene, it's considered to be an admission of guilt. An experienced hit and run accident lawyer can best determine how to proceed and advise victims of any legal options they can pursue, especially if a serious injury has occurred. Leaving the scene of a car accident constitutes negligence, and an attorney can fight to ensure you receive justice and compensation.
Suffering a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident can be scary, whether you’re another driver, a pedestrian, or a cyclist. You don’t need to struggle to deal with car insurance companies and potentially a court case. If you, or a loved one, suffered physical harm or property damage that resulted from a hit and run accident, the car accident lawyers at the Raphaelson & Levine law firm are highly knowledgeable about New York State and NYC traffic laws.
Our attorneys have 30 years of experience representing New Yorkers. As NYC’s “Voice of the Injured,” our compassionate legal team promises to work hard to ensure you receive justice and compensation for any losses you’ve suffered. The attorney-client relationship is very important to us, and we promise to stand with you every step of the way.
Call the Raphaelson & Levine law firm today at 212-268-3222 or complete our online contact form to speak with a hit and run accident lawyer. We’re happy to provide you with a free consultation and answer any legal advice questions you may have about your hit and run accident.