Drivers flee the scene of an accident for any number of terrible reasons. They’re under the influence, know it, and don’t want to get arrested. They don’t have insurance, know it, and don’t want to face New York’s penalty for driving without insurance. They already have a warrant out for their arrest. They panic.
Our state sees roughly 46,000 hit and run accidents every year. Most of these incidents involve a car hitting a bicyclist or pedestrians. Car-on-car hit and run collisions are rarer, though not unheard of.
Fortunately, here in New York you have recourse if you get into a hit and run accident.
Your Own Car Insurance
If you own a car and pay car insurance then your own no-fault benefits will kick in to pay the claim even if you were on foot at the time. In New York you can only sue if you suffer from a serious injury that exceeds the no-fault threshold anyway, and your own car insurance usually pays most of the medical bills and lost wages.
If your injuries do exceed the threshold, your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy kicks in to cover the costs of a hit-and-run driver.
No Car Insurance?
Here on Long Island there are plenty of people who have neither cars nor insurance. Owning a car can be downright inconvenient and is definitely expensive. Who do those pedestrians and cyclists turn to?
In these cases, the New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) steps in.
The accident must be reported to the police within 24 hours of the injury, or as soon as reasonably possible. If you were unconscious and there were no witnesses and someone found you and called an ambulance after, for example, then you can report the incident after you wake up and it still counts.
In addition, your attorney must send a Notice of Intention to MVAIC within 90 days of the incident. This must be your attorney if you wish the claim to get effective…the laws are complex and failing to meet even one of MVAIC’s arcane requirements usually means that you don’t get paid any compensation.
The Driver May Be Found
The police officers on Long Island work hard to find hit and run drivers. They simply can’t be allowed to get away with what they’ve done. Hit and run is a crime on Long Island.
Once they are found you can, if you meet the injury threshold, press a personal injury lawsuit against that driver just like you would any other driver. Your case may even be eligible for punitive damages, as the driver definitely did something worthy of punishment during the incident in question.
Call Us, No Matter What
Involving an attorney fast is one of the best ways to ensure that your hit and run case gets taken seriously. Reach out to Miller, Montiel, and Strano to schedule a free case review today.
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