Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Explain Some Important Things You Need To Know If You Were Injured In An Accident With a Hit and Run Driver
The moments just after a car accident can be chaotic. Sometimes during this chaos the driver who caused the accident will leave the scene without providing any information. Here are some important things you need to know if you were injured in a hit and run car accident.
What Do You Need To Do If You Are Involved In An Accident With a Hit and Run Driver?
Hit and run accidents are more common than they should be. There are many reasons that drivers leave the scene of an accident. Sometimes the driver who negligently causes an accident just gets too nervous to stay. Other times a driver can be driving drunk, driving a stolen vehicle, or using a friend or family member’s car without permission. Regardless of the reason however, leaving the scene of an accident that causes injuries is a crime.
There are several things you should do if you are involved in a car accident with a driver who leaves the scene. The single most important thing to do is: write down the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle. While it is always best to get as much information as possible, without a license plate number, the fact that the car is green, blue, 2 door or 4 door is useless.
So, take out your phone and take a picture of the license plate; scribble the license plate number on a piece of paper; or try your best to remember the license plate number, writing it down as soon as you can. If you have the plate number, a quick search of the Department of Motor Vehicles records will disclose the owner of the vehicle.
It is also important to notify the police of the accident. The police will complete an accident report which will contain important details like the date, time and location of the crash. In addition, you should also look to see if there are any surveillance cameras in the area. These cameras can be traffic cameras, a local store’s security cameras, or another driver’s dashboard camera.
What do you Do If You Cannot Identify the Hit and Run Driver?
Sometimes, it is just impossible to get any information about the hit and run vehicle or driver. Fortunately, every motor vehicle insurance policy has a provision that protects an insured for accidents involving a hit and run or uninsured driver, called uninsured motorist protection. As a result, if you are involved in an accident with a hit and run driver, or an uninsured driver, you have the right to make a claim against your own insurance policy.
This claim is made in addition to a No-Fault claim, and provides coverage for the pain and suffering part of your case. The policy limits of your uninsured motorist protection depends on the amount of insurance you purchased. Although New York State permits insurance coverage to be as low as $25,000 – you are permitted, and should, purchase much higher policy limits.
You must file the claim with your own insurance company within 90 days of the loss to be eligible to make an uninsured motorist claim. In addition, your insurance company may request that you testify about the accident and your injuries in a proceeding called an examination under oath. You may also be required to be examined by a doctor hired by your insurance company.
At times, it may be necessary to file a claim against New York’s Motor Vehicle Accident and Indemnification Corporation. This entity covers uninsured accidents, provided that you have no other coverage that can cover the loss.
To make a hit and run or uninsured motorist claim, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident, and that your injury is a qualifying injury. Further, the insurance company does have the right claim that you were comparatively at fault for the accident, which can reduce the amount of your award. Finally, if the insurance company refuses to settle your case, your case can be submitted to binding arbitration, a process where a judge decides whether you are entitled to a recovery. You are not entitled to a jury trial in this type of a claim.
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If you have any questions concerning a hit and run driving accident, contact our experienced car accident attorneys for a free consultation by calling (800) 762-9300. You can also get started by simply filling out one of our case intake forms, and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.
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