Hit and run accidents are an unfortunate occurrence that happens frequently in New York and across the country. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that rates of hit and run accidents are increasing. They found that in 2016, there were 737,100 hit and run collisions in the United States, or one hit and run crash every 43 seconds.
In New York City specifically, hit and run accidents increased by 34% from 2015 to 2016. In 2014, then New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio launched an initiative known as Vision Zero, the purpose of which was to get traffic-related fatalities in New York City down to 0 by 2024. Although there has been a marked decrease in traffic fatalities since the launch of Vision Zero, there has been an uptick in hit-and-run accidents, which is concerning many advocates.
What To Do After a Hit and Run
If you have been in a hit-and-run accident, there are several steps you should take directly after the accident.
- Call 911. Make sure that a law enforcement officer attends the scene and makes a report of the accident. Seek medical care right away, even if you “feel fine.” There are some types of injuries that may not be immediately apparent, and insurance companies usually require that you be seen within a “reasonable” amount of time, typically 72-hours.
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident and don’t chase after the driver. Remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives.
- Do your best to make mental notes of details about the vehicle, such as the make and model, the license plate, and where it was heading after the hit and run. You may need these details later on to track down the driver.
- If there were any bystanders or witnesses to the accident, consider taking down their contact information. Law enforcement will typically take a statement from them as well, which will be useful during the claims process. Witness testimony is powerful evidence, as witnesses tend to provide an objective view of a crash.
- If you are able to, it’s a good idea to collect evidence at the scene. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and the scene. You can also take video footage.
How To Get Compensated After a Hit and Run in New York
Although it is illegal in the state of New York for the at-fault driver to flee the scene of an accident, many drivers still do it. If you’ve been in a hit and run, you may wonder how you’re going to pay your medical expenses, cover your lost income, and pay for repairs to your vehicle. Because New York is a “no-fault” state, there are other options available to you.
To register a vehicle in the state of New York, you are required by law to have at least the minimum amount of the following types of insurance coverage:
No-Fault Personal Injury Protection Coverage – If the hit and run accident results in injuries to you or passengers in your vehicle, then you can use your no-fault personal injury protection coverage to help cover the cost of medical expenses for those injuries. Drivers in New York are required to have at least the minimum coverage, which covers up to $50,000 per injured person. This type of coverage does not cover costs such as damage to your vehicle and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. It provides coverage for:
- Ongoing medical costs and costs associated with recovery
- 80% of lost wages if you are unable to work, up to $2,000 per month for a maximum of three years from the date of the accident
- Up to $25 a day for up to a year from the date of the accident for other expenses and essentials
Depending on how limited your policy is and how extensive your injuries are, it is possible that your coverage will not fully cover your injuries or the injuries of your passengers.
In order to maximize the compensation you receive through your no-fault personal injury protection coverage, you’ll need to submit an application with your insurance carrier and do so within 30 days of the accident. In order to receive compensation for lost wages, you’ll need to provide additional documentation from your employer showing a loss of income.
Liability Insurance Coverage – Liability coverage is also mandated by New York state law. Liability insurance covers damage to your property, such as vehicle damage, as well as non-economic damages including pain and suffering. If your no-fault policy does not adequately cover all of your financial losses, then your liability insurance coverage will step in and cover the remainder of the cost, up to your policy limits. The minimum required liability insurance covers:
- $25,000 for bodily injury
- $50,000 for fatal bodily injuries
- If two or more people are involved, then the minimum doubles to $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for fatal injuries
Uninsured Motorist Coverage – A hit and run driver is considered an uninsured motorist because in most cases hit and run drivers cannot be identified. New York state law requires the same minimum uninsured motorist coverage as liability coverage.
No Insurance Coverage
What if you don’t have insurance and fall victim to a hit-and-run accident in New York? The good news is that you can still seek compensation through an indemnification fund called the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation, or MVAIC. You can only qualify for this assistance if you were the victim of a hit and run, your vehicle was uninsured, and/or your vehicle was stolen and you were denied coverage. MVAIC also requires that you:
- You don’t possess other valid insurance
- You don’t own the at-fault vehicle
- You aren’t the at-fault vehicle owner’s spouse
To meet the eligibility criteria for compensation through MVAIC, you need to take several steps directly after a hit and run accident.
- MVAIC requires that you report the hit and run accident within 24 hours of the crash.
- You must fill out a Notice of Intention form within 90 days of the hit and run accident. You have twice that long, 180 days if you end up identifying the at-fault driver.
- Lastly, you will need to submit evidence to MVAIC, including witness testimony, police reports, photos and videos, medical records, and other documentation to prove your case.
Filing through MVAIC can be complicated, but if you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident, you deserve to be compensated for damages caused by the accident. You should consider working with a knowledgeable attorney so that you don’t make any errors in your application that might cause your claim to be denied.
Contact a New York Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a collision with a driver who fled the scene, contact a New York hit-and-run lawyer at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island right away for help. Our skilled car accident attorneys could help you seek compensation, either by locating the at-fault driver and holding them accountable or by assisting you with getting the money you deserve from your own insurance policy. Contact us at (855) TOP-FIRM or reach out to us online for a no-cost consultation.