What to Do After a Hit and Run in New York City

Hit-and-runs are the very worst types of accidents for victims. Hit-and-run drivers cause injuries or even kill people and then take off – often without ever having to face consequences for their actions. Meanwhile, victims are left picking up the pieces and figuring out liability on their own. As a driver or pedestrian involved in a hit-and-run accident in NYC, there could be options for recovery available to you. The steps you take after your accident can decide your financial future.

Call the Police

Always call the police to report a hit and run, regardless of how little damage the driver caused. While you typically wouldn’t report a crash to the cops unless it caused at least $1,000 in property damage, involving the police is important in getting to the bottom of a hit-and-run. Police can investigate the accident and take steps to locate the driver that fled the scene. They can also arrest the driver for hit-and-run if they find him or her since this is an illegal act. If a driver struck you as a pedestrian, leaving you with serious injuries, definitely call 911.

Collect Information About Your Accident

As an injured driver or pedestrian, take it upon yourself to investigate the accident on your own if your health permits. If you’re in the hospital or nursing a serious injury, ask a friend or family member to gather information for you. Retaining an experienced New York City car accident attorney early-on can also provide assistance during the investigation phase of your case.

There is vital information you can collect right at the scene of the collision, such as statements from eyewitnesses, footage from security cameras, or evidence such as the vehicle’s paint on your car. Take photographs of the scene of the collision, your property damage and injuries, and any other important details. The more you collect at the scene, the stronger the odds of tracking down the hit-and-run driver.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Unless police find the hit-and-run driver, filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer will be out of the question. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover. Call your own insurance company and file a claim. Your car insurance policy will typically cover your injuries as a driver or pedestrian, since uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage is mandatory in New York. UM/UIM coverage will cover the damages from a hit-and-run as if the driver had remained on the scene but did not have enough insurance. Your insurance agent will be able to walk you through the claims process and tell you whether or not UM/UIM insurance will cover your losses.

Consult With a Car Accident Attorney

There is a chance you could sue one or more parties for a hit-and-run. If police catch the driver, you could sue him or her for damages outside of an insurance claim. You might also bring a lawsuit against a vehicle part manufacturer, the property owner (if the accident occurred on private property), or the city of New York if a roadway defect contributed to your accident. A car accident lawyer can help you identify defendant(s), negotiate insurance claim settlements, and go to court in pursuit of fair compensation if necessary. Don’t give up on financial recovery just because the driver that hit you didn’t stick around. Contact an attorney for assistance.