Hit and run accidents occur when a driver collides with another driver and then leaves the accident scene. When someone has been injured, it’s illegal to leave the scene of a car accident in New York. Unfortunately, many drivers disregard the law and take off after causing a car accident, leaving victims wondering how they will recover compensation to pay their medical bills and other expenses.
Get the Help You Need From a Westchester Hit and Run Accident Attorney
Dealing with any car accident can be challenging, but hit and run accidents are particularly frustrating. Locating the driver can take weeks, if not longer. In some cases, the authorities can’t locate the at-fault driver. You do not have to navigate this process alone. Attorney Michael LoGiudice will review the facts of your case and work diligently to pursue the settlement you deserve. Contact Michael LoGiudice, LLP today to schedule your free initial consultation.
New York’s Hit and Run Laws
After any car accident, the driver should stop at the accident scene. When no one has been seriously injured, the driver should exchange insurance information and contact details. When one or more people have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, the driver should alert first responders and request that a law enforcement officer come to the accident scene and write a police report. In New York, if the total damages of the car accident are $1,000 or more, or if there are any injuries or deaths, drivers must file a police report with the New York DMV.
When drivers commit hit and run accidents and don’t file a report or request for a police officer to come to the scene of the accident, they are at risk of significant legal consequences, including fines and a potential driver’s license suspension. However, this doesn’t stop negligent drivers from fleeing the scene of an accident they caused.
Drivers may be afraid of being arrested due to outstanding warrants for other crimes. They may have been breaking a driving law, such as driving without a license or driving while intoxicated. In other cases, drivers think that the accident isn’t serious, so they leave. Whatever the reason that the at-fault driver fled the accident scene, the burden still falls on the injured victim to find a way to recover compensation. There are two main ways to recover compensation in a hit-and-run accident: an insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you’re probably concerned about recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more. After the hit and run accident occurs, call 911 and request a police officer and ambulance, if necessary. Try to remember all of the at-fault driver’s vehicle details that can help the police officer track down the driver. In some cases, it’s possible to find the driver who caused the accident. In those cases, victims can pursue compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy or through a personal injury lawsuit.
If the paramedic at the accident scene recommends that you go to the hospital, do so. If your injuries are not serious enough to require emergency medical treatment, we recommend that you undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation as soon as possible. Keep all of your medical records and take note of all of these symptoms you have been suffering and all of your missed workdays. Taking photos of your injuries can help you prove their severity. Do not admit fault or sign an agreement with your insurance company until you discuss your case with an attorney.
Financial Liability in Hit and Run Accidents
Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits and those seeking compensation through an insurance policy need to prove liability. As with any other car accident case, the victim in a hit and run case must provide evidence that shows that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the car accident to recover compensation.
Drivers have a legal duty of care to act in a way that doesn’t harm others on the road. When drivers act unreasonably under the circumstances, they can be held liable, or financially responsible for any injuries they cause. The victim must prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the car accident.
Damages Available in a Hit and Run Accident
In a successful case, plaintiffs are entitled to damages for the losses and injuries they suffered because of the car accident. In New York, plaintiffs are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are for damages that have a specific dollar amount assigned to them, such as past and future medical and rehabilitative bills, and property damage.
Lost income from being unable to work due to your injuries and your loss of earning potential in the future are also considered economic damages. Non-economic damages include mental anguish and emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of quality and enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
What If the Hit and Run Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to track down the at-fault driver in hit and run cases. In other cases, the at-fault driver doesn’t have auto insurance or doesn’t have enough auto insurance to cover the victim’s damages. In this case, you will need to turn to your own auto insurance to pay for your damages.
Many drivers choose to carry additional uninsured or underinsured insurance that will cover the cost of medical bills, property damage, and more when the at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance coverage. Even though you’re filing a claim with your own insurance company, the insurance company will likely try to offer you a settlement amount that is too low. A skilled attorney will be able to determine the value of your claim and negotiate the best settlement possible in your case.
Contact a Westchester Hit and Run Accident Attorney
Nobody should be left to deal with the aftermath of being injured in a hit-and-run accident alone. Attorney Michael LoGiudice, LLP knows how to get results for his clients. He uses his decades of experience to develop effective legal strategies for his clients to hold the at-fault driver who caused your injuries accountable. Contact Michael LoGiudice, LLP today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights.