If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you can hold the negligent driver liable for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. What can you do if you don’t know the identity of the negligent driver? What if the accident in which you were hurt was a hit-and-run?
Under New York law, anyone involved in a vehicle accident must contact the police immediately and remain on the scene if any person or domestic animal has been injured or killed, or if any property is damaged and the owner cannot be found. Those found guilty of even a non-injury hit-and-run can face up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $250 or more. They’ll also have points taken away from their driving records, face court costs and other consequences. The penalties are significantly higher in cases involving injury.
To help catch a hit-and-run driver, the others involved should note as much information as they can, and should ask witnesses the same, if possible.
But that said, the police do not catch hit-and-run drivers in the majority of cases. Just in New York City in 2022, there were 47 recorded hit-and-run accidents involving injury, but there were arrests in only six of those cases.
Fortunately, insurance should help even when the hit-and-run driver cannot be located. New York requires all licensed drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This can provide the injured with the resources they need after they have been injured in an accident caused by a hit-and-run driver as well as an uninsured one.
Still, insurance sometimes doesn’t pay as much as it should in these cases. It may be wise for the injured to learn more about their options for maximizing their compensation.