What Are the Consequences of a Hit-And-Run Accident?
Hit-and-run car accidents are a concerning issue. Additionally, leaving the scene after a car accident is a big deal in New York. It can lead to legal consequences of fines, losing your license, jail time, and having to pay for damages.
Moreover, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports, in 11% of police-reported accidents, one driver is always involved in leaving the scene.
However, if you’re caught up in a hit-and-run and facing serious consequences, the Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, is here to help. Our team of New York car accident attorneys is familiar with New York’s hit-and-run laws. And can assist you in taking the necessary steps in such situations. Reach out to us at 917-540-8728 for a free consultation about your case.
What Is a Hit-And-Run Accident?
If you hit or strike another vehicle, pedestrian, property, or even animal, and instead of stopping to exchange information or offer assistance to the injured party, it is considered a hit-and-run accident. Fleeing the scene without identifying yourself is called a hit-and-run accident.
Under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600, leaving the accident site without identifying yourself is a serious offense. It is also categorized as both a traffic violation and a criminal act.
According to this law, if you are involved in a vehicle collision and are aware that someone else has sustained injuries. In such a case, leaving the scene before sharing your information with the affected party or law enforcement authorities is illegal. The information includes:
- Your full name and contact details
- Residential address
- Insurance details and proof of insurance
- Your license number
How Common Are Hit and Run Accidents?
You might be surprised to learn that hit-and-run accidents are more common than you think. Recent studies reveal that an alarming number of approximately 46,000 hit-and-run incidents take place in New York City every year.
In addition, recent statistics highlight the noteworthy impact of hit-and-run accidents on pedestrians and bikers in New York County. Within this area, a number of 5,000 individuals have suffered physical injuries due to these incidents.
However, the frequency of hit-and-run accidents also varies by your location (urban or rural area), traffic density, and law enforcement (police or other authorities) efforts. For example, according to research studies in the U.S. countries, from 2000 to 2018, the number of road accidents was 118,688 involving pedestrians. This number shares 18% of hit-and-run accidents, which amounts to 21,363 accidents. Likewise, in 2015, NHTSA recorded a record-breaking 737,100 hit-and-run accidents, with 2,049 fatalities.
The actual number can fluctuate from one region to another. Thus making it crucial to address this issue through education, prevention, and stricter enforcement of hit-and-run laws.
Criminal Charges Associated With Hit-And-Run Accidents
If there is a serious injury and property damage involved, fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run accident can result in significant criminal charges against you. Many states impose fines or criminal charges of between $5,000 and $20,000. However, in New York, these charges fall into three categories:
- Traffic violations
If you leave the scene without exchanging information or reporting to the police, it’s considered a traffic violation. Penalties for this can include charges of up to $250 and up to 15 days in jail.
When you leave the accident scene when the other driver is injured person or dead, it becomes a felony. Class E felony for leaving the scene with an injured person, which can result in fines of up to $2,500 and 4 years in jail. If it involves a fatality, it’s a Class D felony with potential fines of up to $5,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 7 years.
In cases where you leave the accident scene that only causes property damage, it’s a misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors can lead to fines of $500 and up to 90 days in jail. However, Class A misdemeanors can result in charges of up to $1,000 and a maximum prison time of 1 year.
Other Penalties You Can Face for Leaving the Accident Scene
If you run away after an accident in New York, you could lose your driver’s license for up to 1 year. Furthermore, you can get 3 points on your driving record and end up with a criminal record specifically for leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. On top of that, you might have to pay a surcharge ranging from $88 to $99.
Furthermore, if you caused the accident and left the scene, the other person can take you to civil court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. This means they can sue you to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In such cases, the court may award you punitive damages. These are like a punishment for your actions, showing disapproval for your recklessness and negligence. Punitive damages aren’t there to cover the victim’s losses directly, but they’re a way of penalizing you.
Additionally, civil penalties from the court may involve treble damages. It means that a judge or jury can triple any damages awarded to the injured party where the law mandates it. For instance, if a judge or jury grants $20,000 in damages to the injured person, civil penalties for the hit-and-run can lead to $40,000 due to your reckless actions.
Contact Uptown Injury car accident lawyers if you are involved in a hit-and-run incident in New York. Our dedicated team is here to ensure that your rights are protected.
What to Do as a Victim of a Hit-And-Run Accident?
If you’re a victim of a hit-and-run car accident and the other driver leaves the accident scene, make sure to follow these steps:
Step 1: Seek medical attention and report the hit-and-run to the police as soon as possible. Provide them with the information you’ve gathered and any details about the incident. You’ll need a police report for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
Step 2: If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information. Try to gather as much information as possible about the accident, such as the make, model, vehicle color, and license plate number of the other vehicle.
Step 3: Use your smartphone or camera to take pictures of the car crash scene, including the damage to your vehicle and any relevant road signs or signals.
Step 4: Contact your insurance company to report the hit-and-run. Provide them with the police report and any other relevant information.
Step 5: Consult with a personal injury attorney. They can provide guidance on legal options, help you deal with the claims process, and ensure your rights are protected.
If police find the negligent driver, and you suffer injuries or damages, you can submit a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation for your losses. In New York, you have to submit a personal injury lawsuit within 3 years after the date of the accident.
However, if the police never find the at-fault driver, then you can file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company. This will help you get compensation for your losses and damages if you have this type of coverage in your auto insurance policy.
Reporting Your Hit-and-Run Accident
In New York, it’s essential to follow certain rules when reporting a hit-and-run to both your insurance company and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For example, you must file a no-fault insurance claim within 30 days of the car accident to get compensation for medical bills and lost earnings or income.
According to the NY VAT § 605, an official report must be filed with the DMV within 10 days of the accident if the property damage from both vehicles surpasses $1,000. Not doing so might lead to severe consequences like misdemeanor charges or losing your license. It is essential for all parties involved in the accident to submit a report to the DMV.
If you can’t find the at-fault driver, contact the police to file a report. But, if the property damage is less than $1,000, exchange info with the other driver. You don’t need to report to the DMV unless the auto repair costs exceed $1,000 in property damage.
Therefore, you must consult with a Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, to explore all options for your compensation. Thus including taking legal action against the at-fault driver if you recognize them.
Recovery From Hit and Run Consequences
If you are facing legal charges for a hit-and-run accident and are exploring options to ease penalties. Consider the DMV-approved online defensive driving course offered in New York. This course is named as Point & Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP). The Point & Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) provides an opportunity to lessen the legal consequences associated with such incidents.
Introduced in 2006, this 5-year pilot program in New York County allows drivers to conveniently take the accident prevention course online. You can take this course through private traffic schools and in traditional classrooms. By taking the PIRP course, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Reduction in License Points: Successful course completion enables you to reduce 4 points on your driving license.
- Lower Insurance Rates: Taking the PIRP course may reduce your insurance rates, providing potential financial relief.
- Driving Knowledge Refresher: The program is a valuable refresher for your driving knowledge, promoting safer and more responsible driving habits.
Furthermore, the PIRP course can help lessen points on your driving license and lower insurance rates. But it does not clear you of additional legal charges related to the hit-and-run incident. If you want to take this course, click HERE for more information.
Consult Uptown Injury New York Car Accident Lawyers
Leaving the car crash scene is a serious offense and can lead to severe criminal and financial consequences. You may be facing fines, penalties, and even criminal charges, depending on the circumstances. It’s crucial to address the situation ASAP to protect your rights.
At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, our team of car accident lawyers has 15+ of experience in personal injury law, including hit-and-run cases. We have the expertise to assess your situation, understand the nuances of the law, and build a strong defense for your case.
How Uptown Injury Can Help?
- Communication with Law Enforcement: If you’re uncertain about how to report the incident or worried about potential criminal charges. Our experienced attorneys can communicate with law enforcement on your behalf. We work to ensure that your side of the story is properly presented and your rights are protected throughout the process.
- Negotiation with Insurance Companies: Our expert personal injury lawyers can negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf. We can also work to secure the compensation you deserve for medical bills, vehicle damage, etc.
- Legal Support: From gathering evidence to representing you in court if necessary. Our team provides legal support at every step. We’ll help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
What Should I Do if I Witness a Hit-And-Run Accident?
If you witness a hit-and-run accident, note down the license plate number, contact details of the other driver, and a description of the vehicle involved. Additionally, contact the police officer or call 911 and provide them with this information.
What Are the Legal Consequences for the Driver Who Commits a Hit-And-Run?
A hit-and-run driver can face criminal charges, including fines ranging from $5,000- $20,000, license suspension from 1 to 3 years, and even imprisonment. However, these legal consequences depend on the severity of the accident and the injuries caused.
What Should I Do After a Hit-And-Run Accident?
Prioritize your well-being and promptly seek medical attention if necessary. Additionally, ensure you report the incident ASAP to the police and your insurance provider. It is crucial to note that reporting the accident to the DMV is mandatory within 10 days. However, if you intend to submit an insurance claim for compensation, it is crucial to do so within 30 days to cover your damages.
Does My Insurance Cover Hit-And-Run Accidents?
Yes, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, it can help you cover expenses resulting from a hit-and-run accident. Therefore, it’s crucial to review your policy details and contact your insurance provider to confirm the specific terms and conditions of your coverage in the event of a hit-and-run incident.
Can I Sue the Hit-And-Run Driver for Damages?
Yes, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the unidentified hit-and-run driver to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. However, it can be challenging without identifying the responsible party. Therefore, you must consult a skilled car accident lawyer for assistance.
Are There Any Penalties for Failing to Report a Hit-And-Run Accident?
Yes, failing to report a hit-and-run accident can result in legal consequences against you, including fines of $250 with 15 days of jail time and liability for damages if you were the responsible party. To avoid complications, you must report a hit-and-run accident ASAP to law enforcement authorities and your insurance agent.
How Can I Increase the Chances of Identifying the Hit-And-Run Driver?
You can increase your chances of identifying the other driver by gathering information, such as witness statements, security camera footage, insurance information of the hit-and-run driver, and vehicle details. Additionally, report the incident to the police within 10 days of the accident, providing them with all gathered information to facilitate a thorough investigation. Thus increasing the likelihood of identifying the responsible party.
Will My Insurance Premiums Increase After a Hit-And-Run Claim?
Yes, if you’re involved in a hit-and-run and make a claim, your insurance rates might go up. However, the outcome depends on your insurance company and where you live. Some insurance companies won’t raise your insurance rates since you’re not at fault, while others might. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your insurance company to know about hit-and-run claims.