New York follows a no-fault system regarding car accident claims, so drivers can usually recover compensation for medical expenses and lost income from their own insurance provider. But if your injuries qualify as “serious,” you may be able to file a third-party claim with the liable driver’s insurer.
But what if the at-fault motorist fled the scene?
If a hit-and-run driver cannot be found, this could limit the victim’s options for pursuing compensation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take immediately following a hit-and-run collision to increase your chances of both finding the at-fault motorist and building a strong case against him or her. Those steps include:
1. Pull Over and Call the Police
Do not chase after the other motorist; doing so could result in a subsequent collision and end with you facing criminal charges. Instead, pull out of the flow of traffic and call the police. Getting law enforcement involved right away will improve your chances of finding the liable driver. It will also ensure you have a valid police report, which most insurers require in order to process a claim.
2. Write Down Everything You Remember
While waiting for officers to arrive, write down everything you remember about the other vehicle including its make, model, color, license plate number, and any identifying features. If there are any eyewitnesses nearby, ask what they remember about the other vehicle, and add their comments to your notes. Then, get their names and contact details so your personal injury attorney can obtain more comprehensive statements at a later date.
3. Document the Scene
Photograph your vehicle from all angles, making sure to document every indent in detail. Believe it or not, police have been able to identify hit-and-run motorists based only on license plate imprints left on bumpers. You should also take pictures of the area where the accident occurred including both small details like skid marks and larger details like the road conditions and the flow of traffic.
4. Seek Medical Care
It’s wise to visit a doctor as soon as possible following a hit-and-run accident, even if you feel relatively fine. Shock and adrenaline can mask the symptoms of serious injuries, but delaying treatment could cause your condition to worsen.
Seeking medical care right away will also show the insurance company that you’re committed to mitigating your damages. This will contribute to the strength of your claim.
5. Call a Car Accident Lawyer
Police may not prioritize your hit-and-run case, but a personal injury lawyer will. Seasoned attorneys have various strategies for identifying hit-and-run drivers. Even if the liable party is never located, your lawyer can help you pursue other avenues of compensation.
Discuss Your Claim with a Car Accident Attorney in New York
If you were hurt in a hit-and-run collision, turn to LoTempio P.C. Law Group to determine the best way to proceed. We have been representing injured parties throughout the Empire State for more than 40 years. Call 716-855-3761 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free and confidential consultation with a car accident lawyer in New York.