Hit-and-run accidents are, unfortunately, very common. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 10% of all traffic accidents and almost 20% of all pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run accidents. Unfortunately, few of these drivers are caught and, if you are the victim, you may need help recovering damages for your injuries. We have helped accident victims in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties assert their rights.
Reach out to our Queens hit and run accident lawyerstoday to schedule your free initial consultation. We are here to help.
When someone is involved in a vehicle accident that results in property damage or personal injury, New York law requires the driver to remain at the scene to exchange information with involved parties and, if necessary, to report the accident to law enforcement. Failure to do so constitutes “Leaving the Scene without Reporting,” also called “hit-and-run.” This is a crime that carries stiff penalties. Leaving the scene is always unlawful, even if the person doing so did not cause the accident.
Yet some drivers still opt to flee. For them, the risk of getting caught is less daunting than facing the consequences of staying. This is often true because they have been driving under the influence, have no insurance, have contraband in the vehicle, are wanted on criminal charges, are driving without a license or with a suspended license, or already have multiple traffic citations.
One of the most serious consequences of hit-and-run accidents is that injured victims do not receive needed emergency medical help. Consequently, deaths may result that might have been avoided if the driver had stopped to render aid or summon help. When this happens, the family of the victim can take legal action against any party that was responsible.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents may have two potential avenues of recovery. They can try to identify the driver and seek recovery from that person and his or her insurer, or they can make a claim against their own insurer. Both of these avenues can be difficult to pursue without some legal help.
In the event that you can bring a lawsuit against the individual responsible for your injuries, you probably will try to prove the elements of a negligence claim. These consist of showing that the other driver owed you a duty of reasonable care, that the duty was breached, that you were injured as a result, and that you were forced to incur quantifiable damages. All drivers must act with reasonable care behind the wheel, and someone who has a reason to flee the scene may well have done something that falls below this standard. If a specific careless action can be identified, a victim would need to draw a direct causal link from the act of negligence to his or her injuries. Damages that may be available in these cases can extend from lost income and medical bills to pain and suffering as well as repairs to the vehicle.
When a hit-and-run accident results in a tragic loss of life, as happens all too often, certain family members of the victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who was responsible. They can pursue damages based on their loved one’s conscious pain and suffering before death, as well as other compensation that the deceased person could have sought if he or she had survived the collision. In addition, they may be awarded damages related to their relationship to the victim, such as loss of consortium or companionship.
However, many hit-and-run victims who cannot identify the responsible driver must seek a remedy through either their own insurers or New York’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
If you have been hurt in an accident near Queens involving a hit-and-run driver, you should contact the car crash attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm. We can discuss your potential options with you and help you decide on a course of action that fits your specific goals and needs.
You can reach our hit and run lawyers in Queens at 718-441-5050, or use our online form to set up a free consultation today.