It’s mutually expected for drivers involved to pull to the side of the road and take responsibility for damages arising out of a collision and, more importantly, help ensure the safety of all parties. This action isn’t just a form of common courtesy, but the law. Unfortunately, this law is not always followed, resulting in an illegal act that is commonly known as a “hit and run.”
Hit and Run Accidents in NYC
New York mayor de Blasio has pledged to put more effort into reducing the number of hit and run crime acts in New York. But while the mayor is pursuing justice, how can victims or their loved ones gain the ability to move on after sustaining bodily harm and property damage? Fortunately there are some options victims can explore.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a hit and run accident, the attorneys at The Oshman Firm can help you move forward. With decades of combined legal experience, our firm will handle all aspects of your case – from tracking down witnesses, to collecting medical records. Contact us today by calling (800) 400-8182. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, so you’ve got nothing to lose. Let us be your advocates.
About Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents vary in nature. Crashes can involve other participants (i.e. drivers or pedestrians), unattended vehicles, property or objects. Following a collision, fleeing the scene without stopping is illegal. And while it’s difficult to determine a driver’s specific motive for failing to stop, common reasons include:
- The driver is intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs
- The driver doesn’t have insurance
- The driver is in possession of an illegal substance or object
- The driver has prior infractions
Regardless of a driver’s reasoning for leaving without following proper protocol, if caught, the consequences for breaking this law are serious. Depending on the state in which the wreck occurred, penalties can include fines, jail time and/or a license suspension. The specific circumstances surrounding the accident will classify the charges as either misdemeanor or felony. A felony charge is often the result of another party being injured.
Hit and Run Laws in New York
Specifically, in the State of New York, the legal penalties of a hit and run car accident will be determined by the magnitude of the crash, with the minimum punishment being a traffic ticket. These minor infractions are usually given when only property or other vehicles are mildly damaged. Though the driver can be sentenced to 15 days in jail, this maximum sentence is usually reserved for cases that involve extensive damage. Prior driving records will be examined, and can affect a judge’s ruling.
However, if someone is hurt during the hit and run collision, the driver then faces criminal charges. As stated above, these types of charges range from misdemeanor to felony, and can carry with them fines, jail time or a prison sentence. In the worst-case scenario, if someone dies due to injuries sustained during the wreck, a Class D felony can be issued, along with fines of up to $5,000, as well as other attached penalties.
Hit and Run Car Accidents with Other Drivers and Pedestrians
In December 2016, a popular DJ in Brooklyn was a victim of a fatal hit and run, after a man in a black Nissan Maxima smashed into him and failed to stop. The man, a 39-year old father of one, died upon reaching Brookdale University Hospital.
This is just one example of a hit and run accident in New York to end in tragedy.
According to New York Daily News, the NYPD compiled a list of hit and run statistics.
*38 deadly crashes took place in the 2016 fiscal year, with only 13 arrests.
*22 hit and run cases where a person was seriously injured, resulting in 14 arrests.
*423 arrests were made among the 5,006 cases that involved a personal or minor injury
*58 motorists were caught from the 40,000 cases of property damage reported.
This data proves that arrest rates are significantly lower when involving car crash survivors, versus those who have faced life-changing wounds.
Because of these statistics, New York major de Blasio has made a commitment to put attention to this issue. The law firm of The Oshman Firm stands behind victims right to find justice and to get closure after being victimized by this crime.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident
Immediately following an accident, basic rules apply:
- Always stop your vehicle (depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to move your car to the shoulder of the road)
- Call the police, and make an accurate report
- If you can (depending on injuries) photograph the scene
- Exchange information with the other driver
- Notify your insurance provider of the wreck
- Visit a doctor or hospital for all injuries (not matter how minor)
- Keep in mind: Your safety is your top priority
Following a hit and run accident, the rules slightly change. For starters, if you’re the one who wrecks into another vehicle, person, object or property – stop! Don’t consider fleeing the scene; the consequences will only be that more critical. Not to mention, you may be able to save someone’s life by calling an ambulance. Later, though, it will be imperative to contact an attorney.
If you hit an unattended vehicle, or stationary object or property, it may be appropriate to leave the scene, but only after you’ve:
- Taken down the car’s license number to alert the owner later
- Left a written notice with your information listed
Regardless if anyone else is around or not, it’s still your responsibility (and the law) to do everything in your power to alert the property owner of the damage.
If you happen to witness a hit and run accident, then you can do your civil duty to capture as much information as possible. From the make, model and license plate number of the fleeing vehicle, to any other facts that would be necessary to help catch the driver.
If you’re personally involved in a hit and run collision, again, your safety should be your top priority. If you or another passenger in the vehicle is injured, call an ambulance. Once you’ve determined that you’re all right, the rule stated above applies: capture as much information as possible.
The situation will happen rapidly, so do your best to get as many details of the car as you can (i.e. license plate number, make and model, color, size, etc.). Become aware of your surroundings, and try to find any witnesses who may have seen the collision unfold. If you can, take pictures, and document everything from the location of the crash, to the time of day and complete damages.
Then, once you’ve called the police and/or ambulance, and compiled your facts, consider calling a New York hit and run car accident attorney.
Compensation and Claims Information for Hit and Runs
One of the daunting aspects of suffering a hit and run is acquiring compensation for damages and medical expenses. Victims should understand that they may have the right to obtain financial compensation for their losses if their own insurance policy provides for uninsured motorist coverage under the no-fault coverage rule. The qualifications that victims need to get compensation under the no-fault rule include the following, which are described in Article 51:
- death, dismemberment, or fracture
- loss of a fetus
- permanent loss of an organ or permanent consequential limitation of a body organ
- significant limitation of use of a body function
- disability for 90 days
It should be important to consider that hit and run car claims may include a long waiting period before payments are made to the victim. In some cases, insurance companies drag their feet in processing the full amount of funding needed for recovery. One possible reason why the insurance company may delay payment is because of the need to protect their bottom line – hit and run claims usually do not have another insurance company from where your company could get back their cost.
New York Hit and Run Car Accident Attorneys
At The Oshman Firm, our attorneys have decades of combined experience working with hit and run cases – let us be your advocates. If you’ve been involved in a collision, then you’ve suffered enough. We will handle all aspects of your case, giving you time to focus on healing.