A hit-and-run is when a motorist causes an accident and then intentionally leaves the scene without exchanging information with the other driver. Hit-and-run accidents usually occur late at night or in unpopulated areas. In New York City, a hit-and-run accident usually occurs late at night when there are not many cars on the road. Frequently, the driver is intoxicated and does not want to stop and be arrested. Sometimes the vehicle is stolen and the driver is the thief.
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should contact a seasoned attorney as soon as possible. A Westchester hit-and-run accident lawyer knows how to fight for full and fair compensation and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Important Facts About Hit-and-Run Accidents
The most important thing to know about a hit-and-run accident is that the other driver is trying to get away without exchanging information. If one is unable to find that driver, they cannot make a claim against the driver’s insurance policy. Often, the driver stops and then decides he is not going to wait around and then tries to take off. When that happens, it is important to get the driver’s license plate number to find them later. An injured person should immediately call the police to file a police report. Even if the other driver does not stop or drives away, it is still important to notify the police immediately, tell them what happened, and wait at the scene.
In New York, every registered car carries a minimum of $25,000 uninsured motorist benefits (UM). If a person is in a hit-and-run accident and the other driver is 100 percent at fault and drives away, the injured party can make a claim against their own insurance policy for UM benefits. Sometimes, people have supplementary uninsured motorist benefits in excess of $25,000. Where a pedestrian is hit by a hit-and-run driver, if someone in the pedestrian’s household owns a car, they may be able to make a claim for UM benefits against that policy. In that regard, it is most important to contact an attorney to determine what benefits are available to the injured person.
How an Attorney Can Help
The Westchester hit-and-run accident lawyer identifies available sources of coverage that may not be obvious to a person who does not know where to look for them. That includes uninsured motorist benefits, supplementary uninsured motorist benefits, et cetera. As an example, for a pedestrian, there may be coverage from his own car insurance policy, or even through the policy of a relative who resides in the same household.
An injured person may seek full, fair, and just compensation against the other driver who caused the injuries.
New York is a no-fault state with coverage for basic economic losses, which include medical bills and a portion of lost wages up to $50,000. The no-fault insurance is not recoverable against the other driver; it is recoverable against the injured person’s own no-fault policy. After that, all economic damages in excess of that are recoverable against the other driver. Damages for pain and suffering or non-economic damages are recoverable against the other driver when the injured person suffers a serious injury.
Non-economic damages include the loss of enjoyment of life and the manner in which the injuries affect the injured person. When someone suffers a restricted range of motion in their body that has an impact on their life and affects the way they sleep, their happiness, their ability to enjoy recreational activities, or engage with their friends and family, those are compensable.
In New York, one can seek punitive damages for certain types of conduct that was intentional, wanton, or reckless. However, punitive damages are not covered by insurance. It is difficult to prove punitive damages in New York.
Most Important Steps After a Westchester Hit-and-Run Accident
The first thing the person should do is try to get the plate number before the other driver leaves the scene. If the other driver has already left the scene or the individual cannot get the plate number, they should immediately call the police, report the accident, and get a police report. The next step is to get medical treatment. Finally, they should call an attorney immediately.
A Westchester hit-and-run accident lawyer should be a valuable help in your case. An experienced attorney knows how to fight the insurance companies for the compensation you deserve.