A hit-and-run accident should never happen. Unfortunately, these accidents are common and cause great difficulties for the victim. Hit-and-run accidents may cause serious injuries and in some cases, the hit-and-run driver may even kill someone.
If the driver fled the scene of the accident, it may be very difficult to ascertain the identity of the person responsible for your injuries. You will most likely not be able to obtain insurance information for the at-fault party’s insurance company to cover your losses on your own. However, it is still possible to recoup some, if not all, of your damages.
A Brooklyn car accident lawyer at The Rothenberg Law Firm can try to find the driver, help navigate insurance coverage or a complex MVAIC claim. We have decades of experience dealing with personal injury law issues, especially car accident cases. And we bring that experience to every case we handle. Contact us for a free consultation, and we will review your case and determine if you have a viable personal injury claim.
What is a Hit & Run?
A hit-and-run accident is also known as a leaving-the-scene accident. It is illegal for a driver to leave the scene of an auto accident, and they may face both civil and criminal penalties. When a hit-and-run occurs, the driver who fled the scene is automatically considered negligent under New York state law. A hit and run could involve another driver, a pedestrian (who may have had the right of way), bicyclist, or other bystanders.
Common Reasons for Hit & Run Accidents in Brooklyn
Licensed motorists know it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. Hit-and-run drivers are often unlicensed or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They may have inadequate or no car insurance coverage. There may be outstanding warrants for their arrest, or the vehicle may be stolen. Some drivers simply panic. Others may not realize they caused an accident.
Who Pays for a Hit & Run Accident?
Because New York State is a “no-fault” state regarding automobile insurance, you would look to your insurer first to pay your medical bills if you were injured while driving your vehicle. Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers your medical expenses up to a certain amount, but it may not prove sufficient to pay for all your damages. If the driver can be located, they can be held liable and you would be able to collect money for your medical expenses that may not have been covered by your PIP benefits. In addition, you would be able to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, from the driver that hit you.
If you the driver that struck you and then fled can’t be located, you still may be entitled to receive compensation from the uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy. Given the complexities surrounding these insurance-related issues, it is important to be familiar with the specifics of your own insurance policy. One of our personal injury attorneys can help you understand your own insurance coverage.
Many hit-and-run victims are pedestrians or cyclists who may not have auto insurance. In such cases, the nonprofit Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) could assist you. Note that MVAIC eligibility requires that the accident is reported to police within 24 hours of the crash. It may provide up to $25,000 per person for bodily injury for a total of $50,000 per accident.
Top Causes of Hit and Run Accidents
The top causes of hit-and-run accidents in Brooklyn (and in New York City generally) include the following:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Following too closely
- Improper passing
What to Do Immediately After a Hit and Run Crash in Brooklyn
Always call the police immediately after a hit-and-run. A police officer in the vicinity could find the hit-and-run driver based on your description of the vehicle and its potential damage.
If you are injured, make sure to get the proper medical attention right away. Many injuries, even serious injuries, are not apparent immediately, and you must protect your health.
If possible, try to write down or record what happened immediately while your memory remains fresh. No detail is insignificant. Try to recall the color, make, and model of the vehicle. If physically able, take photos of the accident scene and damage to your car if possible. Also, take pictures of your injuries or the injuries to any of the occupants in your vehicle. It goes without saying, that if you realize that a driver who initially stopped after the incident will flee, you should try to immediately take a photo of the license plate. This information will be extremely valuable when trying to file an accident report.
If there are eyewitnesses, write down or record their statements and obtain their names and contact information. They may have noticed a significant detail, such as all or part of the license plate number. If you were struck by a commercial vehicle with the business’s name on it, an eyewitness might have caught it. Perhaps they even managed to take a photo or video of the driver.
How Our Brooklyn Hit & Run Accident Attorneys Can Help You
At The Rothenberg Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys will try to track down the hit-and-run driver. Besides interviewing eyewitnesses and reviewing the police report, we will attempt to locate surveillance video that may have captured the crash and potentially identify the at-fault driver. As seasoned car accident attorneys we can help you navigate your uninsured motorist coverage or the complex MVAIC claim if the at-fault driver is not found.
We’re prepared to pursue a case wherever it may lead in NYC–whether it is Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, or Long Island. Our hit and run accident lawyers know that these cases are not typical accident cases. They necessarily involve a different approach. As such, it is crucial that accident victims and their loved ones consult with a hit and run accident lawyer who knows how to deal with just these kinds of events.
Contact The Rothenberg Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run car accident or lost a family member, you need the services of an experienced Brooklyn personal injury lawyer at The Rothenberg Law Firm who will not only give you the legal advice you need, but will fight for you to receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free case evaluation today. Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay no legal fees unless you receive compensation. We have been handling personal injury cases for over 50 years and have an excellent track record–having won and collected billions in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We will make sure to fight for you every step of the way.