Being injured in a car crash is a terrifying experience. It can be even scarier when the vehicle that strikes you flees and doesn’t exchange information — despite the law requiring drivers to remain at an accident scene if injury occurs. If you suffered injuries in a hit and run accident, you might be wondering how you can obtain compensation if you don’t know the identity of the negligent party. Fortunately, there are a few options you may have to secure monetary recovery.
What Should You Do if You Were in a Hit and Run Accident?
If you were hit by a driver who left the scene, the first thing you should do is take note of the vehicle’s color, make, model, and license plate. You should also look to see whether any eyewitnesses observed the accident and call 911. The police will arrive at the scene and take an accident report which can be helpful in locating the other driver.
Importantly, you should seek medical attention promptly, even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt. By going to the emergency room following the accident, not only will you obtain the medical help you need — but it’s crucial to document your injuries to build a solid personal injury case.
Submitting a Claim for No-Fault Benefits
Since New York is a no-fault state, a car accident victim’s first avenue of recovery is typically filing a claim with their own insurance company. Regardless of who is to blame for the accident, the no-fault system will reimburse victims for their medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and a certain amount of their lost wages. Critically, a no-fault application must be submitted to your insurance company within 30 days of the accident.
Unfortunately, hit and run accidents often result in severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment that exceed the no-fault threshold. In these cases, a good personal injury attorney can best advise you regarding your available remedies.
Hit and Run Accidents Involving Pedestrians
In the event that you were struck by a hit and run driver as a pedestrian and neither you nor anyone in your household has no-fault insurance, you may be able to pursue compensation through the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). Specifically, MVAIC was created to provide no-fault benefits to accident victims injured by uninsured and unidentified motorists who do not have their own coverage.
Significantly, to qualify for MVAIC benefits, the accident must be reported to the police within 24 hours of its occurrence. In addition, you must also submit a Notice of Intention to MVAIC within 90 days from the date of the accident.
Pursuing a Claim Against Other Potentially Liable Parties
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the crash, there may be another party who can be held liable, in addition to the hit and run driver. Since New York recognizes the doctrine of comparative negligence, an accident victim is permitted to sue anyone who contributed to the accident that resulted in injury. Other parties that might be named in a lawsuit include:
- A municipality — If potholes or defective road conditions contributed to the accident, the city or town responsible for maintaining the road may be accountable if they had notice of the hazard but failed to repair it.
- Other drivers on the road — In the event a multi-car collision occurs, more than one party may incur liability for negligence.
- Auto manufacturers — Sometimes, car accidents are caused by malfunctioning brakes, steering wheels, or other faulty mechanisms in the vehicle. If a manufacturer knew a vehicle or part was unsafe, they might be held liable if the defect caused an accident that resulted in injury.
- Bicyclists and pedestrians — If the actions of a bicyclist or pedestrian caused the crash, they may be named defendants in a lawsuit.
A skilled personal injury lawyer can evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident and work to ensure all responsible parties are held accountable — and you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer
The aftermath of a hit and run accident can be overwhelming and stressful. However, having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side every step of the way can help to ease the emotional and financial burdens. Due to our experience, skill, and commitment, we regularly secure personal injury verdicts and settlements in the millions for our clients.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they get the maximum monetary recovery to which they’re entitled for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.