Hit-and-run accidents are traumatic events that can cause severe injuries and property damage. It happens when a driver involved in the accident fails to stop and flees the scene. Drunk driving, reckless driving, mechanical failures, or distracted driving can cause hit-and-runs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there has been a significant increase in hit-and-run accidents over the last few years.

Hit-and-run accidents are a significant issue in many urban areas, including New York City. Factors such as traffic congestion, pedestrian density, and the presence of cyclists and motorists can contribute to tragic outcomes. Furthermore, certain areas within New York, such as high-traffic intersections or neighborhoods with inadequate infrastructure, may experience a higher frequency of hit-and-runs.

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights and seek advice from a New York car accident lawyer. This post will dive into the legal recourse for victims of hit-and-run accidents.

Steps to Take After A Hit-And-Run Accident

The obvious first step is getting medical attention if needed. Once medical attention is taken care of, following these steps becomes pertinent:

1. Report The Accident

The victim should contact emergency services immediately – 911. Ask law enforcement to arrive at the scene. This initial call is also a matter of public record, so don’t delay making it. However, safety is the primary concern. Ensure you can move around. If possible, get video/photo evidence from the fleeing driver. If nothing else, try to remember the license plate.

2. Gather Evidence

This can include recording video footage or taking photos with your mobile phone that may show details of license plate numbers, vehicle features, etc. Documenting every detail you remember about what happened before and after the impact is essential. This documentation will make it easier for investigators to track down the person responsible.

3. Inform Your Insurance Company

Many jurisdictions, including New York, require drivers to carry auto insurance coverage. Reporting the accident to your insurance company ensures you fulfill your legal obligations as a policyholder. Failure to report an accident may lead to penalties or even the cancellation of your policy.

Before contacting the insurance company, consult competent legal aid to guide you. Insurance agents will try to negotiate an early settlement, but it is imperative to have a lawyer present and avoid settling for much less.

Legal Options For Victims Of Hit-And-Runs

Victims of hit-and-run accidents can pursue legal action against the negligent driver. A personal-injury lawyer experienced in handling automobile accidents will first attempt to identify the perpetrator. The following are some ways the restitution process can go:

1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to financially protect policyholders when involved in an accident caused by a driver who either has no insurance or lacks sufficient insurance coverage to compensate for the damages and injuries fully. This typically applies to bodily injury, compensating for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages. In some cases, it may also cover property damage caused by an uninsured driver, although this varies depending on the policy and jurisdiction.

2. Civil Lawsuit

Victims of hit-and-runs accidents have the right to file a lawsuit seeking civil damages, which enables them to sue the liable party responsible for their injuries and losses incurred. Find a reputable personal injury attorney specializing in auto accident cases which can assist with getting financing and documentation so that you can obtain remuneration for claims you want.

How Much Compensation Can Victims Receive After Making A Claim?

Several factors determine the compensation amount typically awarded:

  • Type and severity of Injuries sustained
  • Medical expenses associated with those injuries (both present and future)
  • Level of damage inflicted on properties (cars/homes/etc.)
  • Loss of wages or loss of earning potential due to illness after the accident(post-traumatic stress disorder acquired after an incident could cause temporary/long-term disability)

Note: The extent of your damages will determine how much financial recovery you may get from any insurance claim you submit.

Statute of Limitation Applicable For Hit And Run Accidents

You may be barred from filing a lawsuit or obtaining reimbursement under the law if they don’t come forward within a certain period following the event. Statute-of-limitation deadline can vary depending on specific jurisdiction. Therefore, consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an unfortunate incident.


If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, you must seek legal help as soon as possible to safeguard your rights. If you were hit by an unidentified driver, claiming insurance coverage or suing the responsible entity owner-of-vehicle is a direct way of pursuing compensation legally.