Someone hit you, and they fled the scene. Now, you are facing a mountain of medical bills, you are not sure when you will be able to return to work, and the lingering effects of your injuries remind you of the accident on a daily basis. You know you deserve better, but you do not know how to go about securing the financial compensation you deserve under New York law. What options do you have available?
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are common in New York; and, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, they are on the rise. Despite the fact that New York law requires anyone involved in an accident resulting in property damage to remain at the scene, many drivers flee in an attempt to avoid civil liability and criminal penalties. While it is not always possible to identify a hit-and-run driver, in many cases the driver can be tracked down. In order to give yourself the best chance to recover just compensation, it will be important to investigate promptly, and you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
1. Take Notes – No Detail is Too Small.
At this point, any information you can provide to your attorney will be helpful. What color was the other vehicle? Do you know the make and model? Was it a car, truck, or SUV? Which direction was the other vehicle traveling, and where is it likely to be damaged? Did the vehicle have a New York license plate, or was it from out of state? Did you get a look at the driver?
When attempting to identify the hit-and-run driver, your attorney will rely on as many sources of information as possible. However, your attorney will need to use the details that you provide initially in order to determine where to begin his or her investigation.
2. See a Doctor – You Need to Obtain a Diagnosis and Begin Treatment Promptly.
If you have not already seen a doctor regarding your injuries from the accident, this should be your top priority. While it is easy to focus on the fact that you do not have the information you need in order to pursue a claim, you cannot ignore the fact that you have experienced a significant traumatic event.
When you go for treatment, provide the doctor with as much information as possible. Tell him or her that you were involved in a car accident, explain where you were hit and how your symptoms have progressed, and let him or her know what you do for work. Be sure to ask any questions you have as well, and make sure you have a clear understanding of the next steps for your treatment and recovery.
3. Hire a Lawyer – It May Be Possible to Identify the Driver, and You May Have Other Options Available.
We have touched on this already; but, if you are going to recover just compensation for your losses, you are going to need to have an experienced attorney on your side. Beyond investigating and attempting to identify the hit-and-run driver, your attorney will also be able to help you explore other potential sources of financial recovery. In addition to filing a claim under your own insurance policy (more on this below), your options may include:
- Filing a claim based on a road defect that caused or contributed to the accident;
- Filing a claim based on a defect in your vehicle that either contributed to the accident (i.e. faulty brakes) or exacerbated your injuries (i.e. a defective airbag); and,
- Filing a claim with the New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
4. Review Your Auto Insurance Policy – You May Have Coverage Even if You Were Hit as a Pedestrian.
If you have auto insurance, you should have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and you may have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as well. If you do, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries. If you own multiple vehicles or other members of your household have auto insurance, you may also be able to “stack” your coverage in order to recover additional financial compensation.
5. Don’t Give Up Hope – The Process Will Take Time, But Your Attorney Will Be Able to Help.
Finally, it is extremely important that you not give up hope. You are facing a very difficult situation, but you have options, and an experienced attorney will be able to help you. Even if the other driver cannot be identified, your attorney will be able to deal with your insurance company for you, and he or she may be able to pursue a third-party or MVAIC claim on your behalf. To learn more, schedule a free consultation today.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident in White Plans or New York City? Contact Us 24/7 for a Free Consultation
Were you injured in a hit-and-run accident in White Plains or New York City? If so, we encourage you to contact us so that we can help you. To speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers for free and without obligation, please call 914-288-9191 or get in touch with us online today.