New York City Hit & Run Accident Attorney
Hit & Run Accidents in Brooklyn & NYC
Most states, including New York, have laws requiring drivers to stop and identify themselves after collisions with other vehicles and objects along the roadway. Failure to do so is known as a hit-and-run, and it constitutes a crime in the state of New York, including in New York City.
Unfortunately, these laws do not entirely prevent hit-and-runs from happening. If you were injured in a crash and the other driver fled the scene before you could get their information, you may be feeling unsure of your options. How will you be able to collect compensation for your damages? Can the hit-and-run driver be held accountable?
With roots dating back to 1972 and founded in 1996, Rubenstein & Rynecki has been representing victims of car accidents and other motor vehicle collisions throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Based in Brooklyn, our NYC hit-and-run accident attorneys provide compassionate, personalized legal service tailored to the unique needs of our clients. We are available to answer your questions and provide the guidance you need to move forward with your claim.
What Is a “Hit & Run?”
A hit-and-run is the name for an accident in which one of the involved parties fails to stop at the scene. According to New York State law, all motorists who are involved in collisions are required to stop, identify themselves, and render reasonable aid to others. This includes crashes with other vehicles, as well as those involving private and public property, such as mailboxes, fences, or parked cars.
Hit-and-runs are not only illegal; they are also morally wrong. A person who flees the scene of the accident could be leaving a severely injured individual without the ability to call 911 or obtain medical aid. Even when hit-and-run accidents only result in property damage, victims have relatively few options when it comes to recovering compensation for the cost of repairs, as they are generally unable to identify the at-fault driver and bring a claim against their insurance provider.
Common Reasons for Hit & Run Accidents
Despite the moral and criminal consequences, many people commit hit-and-runs every year in New York City.
There are many reasons a person may flee the scene of an accident, including but not limited to:
- They were driving drunk/under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- They were committing a traffic violation, including illegally using a cell phone
- They do not have any auto insurance
- They were scared of the consequences of the accident
- They did not realize they had caused an accident/property damage
- They simply panicked
Regardless of the reasoning, leaving the scene of an accident without providing reasonable aid to others or identifying oneself is never justified. If you were injured or if your loved one was killed by a hit-and-run driver, we at Rubenstein & Rynecki believe you deserve justice. You should not be forced to carry the consequences of the accident yourself, and our New York City hit-and-run accident attorneys can help.
What to Do After a Hit & Run Accident
There are several things you should do if you are involved in an accident and the other driver leaves the scene. It is important to take these steps not only to protect your safety and well-being but also to protect your rights and future claim.
After a hit-and-run accident, try to do the following:
- Seek medical attention; if necessary, call 911
- Report the accident to the police, providing as much detail as possible
- Document anything you can remember about the other driver and/or their vehicle
- Talk to anyone who witnessed the crash and get their name, contact information, and statement
- File a claim with your insurance company under your no-fault coverage
- Report the accident within 10 days if it resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $1,000+
- Contact a lawyer to learn more about your various options for compensation
Because New York follows a no-fault system when it comes to car accident claims, you may be able to recover compensation after a hit-and-run even if you cannot identify the at-fault driver. In addition to personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, you are required to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage (also known as supplemental uninsured motorist, or SUM, coverage) in the state of New York. This coverage protects you in the event that you are hit by someone who does not have auto insurance or when the at-fault driver cannot be identified and, therefore, you cannot obtain their insurance information.
Why You Should Work with an Attorney When Filing a SUM Claim
Although you may be covered after a hit-and-run accident by your own auto insurance policy, filing a SUM or UM claim can be extremely complicated. SUM coverage is limited, meaning you may not be able to recover for all of your damages unless the hit-and-run driver can be identified. If the police are able to identify and locate the hit-and-run driver, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against their insurance provider for damages not covered by your insurance.
Additionally, recent changes to New York’s SUM laws in 2018 made it so that your SUM coverage must match your bodily injury coverage. The minimum required amount in New York is $25,000, but if you elect to increase your bodily injury coverage, your SUM coverage will also be increased. You are entitled to opt out of this if you wish to retain only the minimum SUM coverage required by law, but your insurance company will need to provide you with a written waiver for you to sign proving that you have opted out of the new SUM law.
Additionally, your insurance company is required to notify you of additional available coverage.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, and you only have the minimum SUM coverage, you could face significant challenges in your recovery. Many accident victims face medical bills, lost wages, and other losses in excess of $25,000, but you may have an extremely difficult time collecting for your additional damages if the hit-and-run driver cannot be identified. We strongly recommend that you reach out to an experienced attorney, like those at Rubenstein & Rynecki, who can help review your auto insurance policy and pursue every possible avenue of compensation.
Helping You Get Back on Your Feet
At Rubenstein & Rynecki, we understand the devastating impact hit-and-run accidents have on victims and their families. Not only are you left to deal with serious physical and financial repercussions, but you must also contend with the emotional trauma of the crash.
Our team recognizes the challenges you are facing. We never lose sight of the fact that our clients are real people who are going through some of the most difficult times in their lives. With this in mind, we make it our mission to be there for you every step of the way, providing compassionate and personalized counsel tailored to your unique needs, concerns, and legal goals. We have successfully helped those injured in all types of hit-and-run accidents, including collisions with other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists—to date, our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
Here at Rubenstein & Rynecki, our goal is simple: we want to help you get back on your feet. We will handle all of the legal details so that you can focus on healing and moving forward.