A hit-and-run accident is a type of vehicle collision where the at-fault driver illegally flees the scene without stopping or exchanging information with the other driver. It is an especially dangerous type of accident because an injured victim may not receive the emergency medical care that he or she needs, since the other driver does not stop to render aid or call 911. Learn what to do if you get involved in a hit-and-run accident in New York.
Try to Remain Calm
Being involved in any type of car accident is stressful, frightening and overwhelming. Do your best, however, to remain calm after a hit-and-run. Remember that there are steps you should take in the immediate aftermath of a crash to protect yourself physically and legally. This starts with having the presence of mind to read the other driver’s license plate number or take note of any other details as the driver flees the scene. Never try to chase down or apprehend the other driver, as this could put your life in danger.
Pull Over and Turn on Your Hazards
If you haven’t done so already, pull over as close to the scene of the crash as possible and turn your hazard lights on. If you have flares or hazard triangles, use these to block off the scene of the crash to prevent further collisions. Immediately check yourself and any of your passengers for injuries. Only exit your vehicle when it is safe to do so.
Use your cell phone to dial 911 and call local law enforcement. If your cell phone was damaged in the crash, try to flag someone down to call for you. Explain to the police that you were just involved in a hit-and-run accident and request an ambulance if you or anyone else has any noticeable injuries.
Always report a hit-and-run accident to the police, even if it is a minor collision. The police can investigate and potentially track down the driver. Getting a police report can also help you with your car insurance claim. However, New York law only makes police reporting mandatory for a car accident that causes more than $1,000 worth of property damage, injuries or death.
Tell the police everything that you can remember about the accident to increase the chances of law enforcement finding the other driver. This includes the color, make and model of the other vehicle, as well as any license plate numbers. The police will speak to eyewitnesses who might have seen the other driver, as well as search local businesses for surveillance cameras. Take pictures of any important details and the crash scene as a whole before you leave.
See a Doctor
Don’t delay in getting medical care after a hit-and-run accident. Even if you initially feel fine, you may have a hidden or delayed injury. Your car insurance company will look to see if you sought medical attention right away or waited.
Call Your Car Insurance Company
Under New York’s no-fault insurance law, you should be able to recover financial compensation through your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance even if the other driver caused the accident and he or she cannot be located. Call your own car insurance provider to file a claim as soon as possible. Do not admit fault for the car accident or rush to accept a settlement until you’ve spoken to an attorney.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
A New York hit-and-run car accident claim can be difficult to navigate. Your insurance company may unexpectedly deny your claim, for example, or you may struggle to obtain the compensation that you believe is fair for your losses. A lawyer can help you go up against an insurance company to protect your right to recover. Even without the other driver available to take responsibility, there are ways to recover the compensation that you need to cover your costs. Contact Towey Law if you get injured in a hit-and-run accident for a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer.