Hit and Run Accident
More than 38,000 hit-and-run accidents were reported in the New York City region in 2015. Most of these incidents involved property damage alone, but there were 4,000 injuries caused by cowardly or utterly oblivious drivers who sped away from the scene, without facing accountability for their actions.
The NYPD’s crash investigation squad has made 28 arrests in the 48 cases they evaluated and have taken some type of enforcement action in 950 cases, but they are often overwhelmed by the claims and call the numbers “staggering.”
The de Blasio administration has taken steps to improve traffic safety, but regulatory action alone has failed to curb the number of incidents. Hit-and-run perpetrators must be prosecuted to send a message to all drivers that it pays to be vigilant and overly cautious, rather than wind up hauled in by the NYPD to face serious consequences for their negligence in the court of law.
If you or a loved one have had life turned upside-down by a hit-and-run accident within the last 3 years, Edelman, Krasin & Jaye car accident lawyers can help.
Hit & run definition
The legal definition of a hit-and-run accident is “the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is involved in a collision with another vehicle, property, or human being to stop to give his/her name, license number, and other information as required by statute to the injured party, a witness, or law enforcement officers.” If no one else is present at the time of a crash, the offending motorist is required to leave contact information attached to the damaged property and make a report to the police when the damage is worth more than $1,000.
Hit and run consequences
Penalties have increased for New York motorists who leave the scene of an accident in recent years. Criminal consequences for hit-and-run crimes vary from state to state.
New York drivers convicted of hit-and-run offenses could face:
- Up to 15 days in jail for property damage
- Up to 15 years in jail for hit-and-run accident with serious injury or fatality
- Fines of up to $2,000 for hit-and-run accident with minor injury
- Fines of up to $10,000 for hit-and-run accident with serious injury or fatality
- Up to 4 years in jail and fines of $2,500 for second or subsequent hit-and-run charges
In addition to the legal burden, drivers are hit with:
- DMV suspension or revocation of NY State driver’s license
- Increased auto insurance rates or cancellation
- Personal injury lawsuit judgments with even larger financial repercussions
Victims suffer the worst consequences with very serious injuries such as:
- Traumatic head, neck and brain injuries with internal bleeding and swelling
- Spinal cord and back injuries like whiplash, cervical dislocation or disc trauma
- Facial lacerations and fractures, causing scarring and disfigurement
- Internal injuries like broken ribs and punctured organs that could be fatal
- Psychological injuries like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks
Hit and run accident: what to do next
As tempting as it may be to hop in your vehicle and track down the car that hit you, a much better option is to take a deep breath and try to record as much information as you can about what has happened so you don’t get involved in another accident, says the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Write down the model, make and license plate number. Jot down a physical description of the driver with any details you can remember. Look around for any possible witnesses to the accident and get their contact information. Before leaving the scene, write down the time and location where the hit took place, take photos of the scene, and take pictures of the damage itself.
Once you’ve collected your thoughts, call the police to file an accident report. Even if they never track down the perpetrator, insurance claims with police reports are often processed faster, so it’s wise to obtain official documentation. For most policies, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for medical expenses and car repairs. Most states will waive your deductible for hit-and-run accidents.
If you know the person who hit you, you can work with your insurance company to obtain their insurance information and try to get compensated that way. If you don’t know who hit you or if the person who struck you was underinsured, a skilled hit and run attorney can always help you get the money that is owed to you, in addition to punishing the driver.
Why call a hit and run lawyer?
You can file a claim on your own, but hiring legal expertise maximizes your chances of winning maximum compensation.
In addition, attorneys assist with:
- Proving liability in cases where the driver is known
- Tracking down unknown drivers based on the evidence
- Assembling supporting evidence to build a strong factual case
- Meeting all paperwork deadlines and responding to communications from insurers
- Negotiating a fair settlement or representing the case before judge and jurors in a court of law
Hit and run lawsuit settlements
Drivers and passengers of vehicles struck by hit-and-run drivers may obtain settlement money. A decedent’s family members may also sue for wrongful death. The quickest way to achieve compensation is to file a police report, build a strong factual case, hire a lawyer to assemble all necessary documents, and seek an out-of-court settlement.
What is the average hit and run settlement?
Hit-and-run settlements vary greatly, but generally depend upon:
- The extent of injury – medical expenses, cost of therapy, whether it was temporary or permanent
- Lost wages – past, present and future
- Emotional pain and suffering
While we cannot guarantee how much money you could receive, we can tell you the settlements can be quite large. For instance, a 37-year-old Brooklyn woman received $22 million after a Duane Reade delivery truck driver struck her as she crossed a midtown Manhattan crosswalk — causing brain damage, blindness and loss of speech. If we feel you’ve been low-balled on a settlement offer, we have the necessary resources, grit, and experience to take your hit and run lawsuit to trial – and win!
Hit and run accident lawyer Long Island
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye have law offices conveniently located in Long Island and the Bronx. We have won jury awards and settlement amounts in the tens of thousands and even the millions for our hit-and-run accident victims.
Call 1.800.469.7429 to get the ball rolling and remember, all legal consultations are free of charge unless we win compensation on your behalf.
Hit and run car accident resources
- Politico – NYPD Stats Show 38,000 Hit-And-Run Incidents This Year http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2015/12/nypd-stats-show-38-000-hit-and-run-incidents-this-year-028646
- NYS DMV – Motorist Accident Reports https://dmv.ny.gov/org/dmv-records/motorist-accident-reports
- NY State Senate – State Senate Passes Bill Increasing Hit-and-Run Penalties https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/lee-m-zeldin/state-senate-passes-bill-increasing-hit-and-run-penalties
- NY Traffic Code – Sect 600 http://codes.findlaw.com/ny/vehicle-and-traffic-law/vat-sect-600.html