Hit and Run Accidents: What Are My Legal Options?
In a large metropolitan area like New York City, it should be no surprise that hit and run accidents are common. These can be deadly, which is why the Brooklyn law firm of Gary A. Zucker & Associates always strives to help those who are harmed in a hit-and-run collision.
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers would like to go over some basics of hit and run accidents, offering you information on how to seek a legal claim and what options to consider in the event of such an incident.
Hit and Run Statistics in New York City
In December of 2015, an official from the NYPD testified before City Council and estimated that there were 38,000 hit and run incidents in the city. Of that number, roughly 34,000 hit and runs resulted in some level of property damage.
Around 4,000 hit and runs involved the motorist driving away after injuring a pedestrian or bicyclist; and of that number, 48 hit and run accidents led to serious injury or death. At the time of the City Council meeting, the NYPD had arrested 28 people who were involved in those injury or fatal incidents.
Hit and runs need to be taken seriously given how they can impact people's lives and livelihoods.
What Is Expected of Drivers If They Hit a Pedestrian or Vehicle?
At the bare minimum, if a motorist strikes and injures pedestrian or other motorist, he or she should notify emergency services. Calling 911 and letting someone know there is an accident could mean the difference between life and death. It's also important for the driver to remain there until emergency personnel arrives. This will allow a report to be filed and information exchanged.
Given the potential for criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits, drivers may attempt to flee an accident scene. This is grossly unethical, often illegal, and is morally reprehensible as well.
What Should I Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
If you are a driver who strikes a pedestrian or another vehicle, it is important that you remain with at the scene of the collision, contact emergency services, and exchange information.
If you are an accident victim, it's important that you remain calm. If you are a pedestrian, attempt to get out of the flow of traffic if possible. Other pedestrians and motorists may slow down and help you in these incidents.
Be sure to notify emergency services if possible and to speak with witnesses about the incident if you are able. They may have identified the make and model of the car that struck you as well as a license plate number. Taking photos and documenting the accident is also very helpful.
What Legal Options Do I Have?
If you have some solid information about who struck you, you can speak with the police about the incident and provide as much information as you can that will help catch the driver who injured you.
If the driver is found, you can seek criminal charges. You may also consider the assistance of a skilled injury attorney to help seek legal damages from the motorist. These damages will cover medical expenses, lost wages, damage to any property that was on you at the time, and so forth. Punitive damages may also be sought to punish the motorist for their negligent actions.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
To learn more about your legal rights and options following a hit and run accident, we encourage you to contact our team of personal injury and wrongful death attorneys today. The lawyers of Gary A. Zucker & Associates will work with you to seek justice and hold negligent drivers accountable.