Anytime you are involved in a car accident in New York, you are required to stop at the scene of the collision. At a minimum, you must exchange information with the other driver. But, if anyone suffered injuries in the accident, you must also contact the police immediately. In addition to complying with the law, exchanging information and calling the police can also help with securing insurance coverage. So, with all of this in mind, what happens if you leave the scene of a hit-and-run accident?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are the hit-and-run driver or you got hit by a hit-and-run driver and left the scene without calling the police. In either scenario, however, it will be important for you to consult with a Kingston car accident lawyer at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC as soon as possible.
If You are the Hit-and-Run Driver
Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident in New York
If you caused an accident and left the scene without exchanging information or calling the police, you can face steep penalties under New York law. The specific penalties you could face depend on whether the accident resulted in property damage only, or if someone was injured in the crash.
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage only is classified as a traffic infraction. This means that it is not a crime that will leave a stain on your permanent record. However, if you are convicted in court, you could still face up to a $250 file and 15 days in jail.
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury is a criminal offense in New York. If you leave the scene of an accident, “knowing or having cause to know that personal injury has been caused to another person,” you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor and face up to a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. If the accident resulted in “serious” injury, you can be charged with a class E felony (punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and four years of imprisonment); and, if the accident resulted in death, you can be charged with a class D felony (punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and seven years of imprisonment).
Insurance Consequences of Fleeing the Scene of an Accident in New York
Fleeing the scene of an accident can also make it much more difficult to obtain insurance coverage for the damage to your car and any injuries you sustained in the collision. Without documentation of the accident, your insurance company may deny coverage on the basis that you cannot prove how and when your car got damaged or you got injured. But, you may still have options available; and, to make sure you do everything possible to protect yourself, you should speak with a Kingston accident lawyer right away.
If You Were Hit By a Driver Who Fled the Scene of the Accident
Reporting a Hit-and-Run Accident to the Police
If you were hit by a driver who fled the scene of the accident, you were probably left feeling helpless on the side of the road. You might have been unsure of what to do, and you might have decided to leave without calling the police.
If this is the case, you shouldn’t be in trouble, but you should still contact the police and report your accident promptly. You must also report your accident to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days. When you contact the police, explain what happened, and provide as much information about the other vehicle as you can.
Seeking Insurance Coverage After a Hit-and-Run Accident
You should also promptly file a claim with your insurance company. Even if you don’t have the other driver’s insurance information, you can still seek coverage under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, you can use this to seek compensation for your hit-and-run accident as well.
What about identifying the hit-and-run driver? It is a possibility, and you will want to engage a law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation right away. Unfortunately, many drivers flee the scene of accidents because they don’t have insurance. But, you may have other options for seeking financial compensation as well; and, while you may be facing a challenging road ahead, seeking legal help is the best thing you can do to improve your chances of recovering financial compensation.
Speak with a Kingston Car Accident Lawyer Today for Free
If you need legal help after a hit-and-run accident in New York, you can contact O’Connor & Partners, PLLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our experienced Kingston accident lawyers in confidence, call 845-303-8777 or tell us how we can reach you online now.