What to Do after a Hit-and-Run?
Fleeing the scene of an accident is against New York law. In particular, New York Vehicle & Traffic Law SEC. 600 makes it a crime to fail to stop after a crash. Any violation is a misdemeanor or, if this is a subsequent offense, could be a felony.
Despite these laws, we read stories every week of innocent victims sent to the hospital after a hit and run accident because no one stopped to render assistance. In late February, for example, two men were hospitalized after a violent crash in East Harlem. According to CBS New York, a motorist hit a livery cab, smashing the front and tearing off two doors before fleeing. Police have been searching for the driver.
Below, our New York City car accident attorneys identify the steps to take after a hit and run.
Contact the Police
You should reach out to the police as soon as possible after a hit and run accident. The chances that the police will find the perpetrator are higher immediately following the collision than if you wait days and weeks.
Remember to share important information with the police that will aid them in finding the driver who struck you:
- A description of the vehicle, including the make, model, and color
- Any distinguishing features on the vehicle, such as bumper stickers
- As much of the license plate as you could see
- A description of the driver, if you saw anything, such as gender or race
- The direction the car was traveling (east? west? turning? etc.)
The police can use this information to try and find the person who struck you.
Check for Witnesses
Someone nearby might have seen the accident and could have seen the driver much more clearly. This person could also provide crucial information, such as the license plate number.
If you are badly injured, you might need to return to the scene of the accident later and check with people who work at nearby businesses. If you can move around, however, you should try to identify witnesses at the scene.
Obtain Medical Treatment
Going to the doctor or hospital helps get the treatment you need. You also begin documenting your injuries. Remember to do everything your doctor says, including participating in rehabilitation or missing work.
Ask about Surveillance Video
Many businesses have security cameras pointed toward their front doors, which can capture events in front of the establishment. You can ask whether any businesses have video and whether they can preserve it. This video might have captured the car that struck you.
Speak with an NYC Car Accident Lawyer
Hit and run accidents present many challenges, including obtaining adequate compensation. Though your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits should cover most accidents, they might not be enough. Making a claim on an underinsured motorist policy can also be helpful.
Call Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman today. Our law firm has helped many hit and run victims navigate our state’s insurance system. Contact us to schedule your free consultation at 212-285-3300.