Injuries From Hit & Run Accidents in NY

If you are injured in a hit and run motor vehicle accident in New York you need to know the law, and that there are important steps you must take to protect your rights. A hit and run accident in New York is an accident caused by a motor vehicle, where neither the operator nor owner of the vehicle can be identified. Further, there must be contact between the unidentified vehicle and the victim or the victim's vehicle.  It is not enough that the unidentified vehicle caused an accident or injury by cutting another vehicle off. There must be contact. The law encompasses situations where the operator is unidentified and has left the scene of the accident because there was then no reason to identify him, as well as an operator who actually prevents identification by leaving the scene. If you own a vehicle you may look to your own auto insurance policy and its uninsured (UM) coverage provision.  If you do not have your own insurance you can look to the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). In addition, the accident must be reported within twenty-four hours after the occurrence, or as soon as reasonably possible to a police, peace or judicial officer in the vicinity. If the claim is to be made against MVAIC, it can also be reported to the MVAIC commissioner.  The best evidence that a hit and run accident was reported is a police report filled out by a police officer at the scene.  Thus if you are in a hit and run accident you should call 911 and ask for a police officer to come to the scene so that a report can be made.  If a report is not made at the scene, a report can me made at a police precinct. A telephone call to 911, police, peace or judicial officer, giving an oral report of the incident will be deemed a sufficient report as the language is to be read liberally to favor the victim of the hit and run accident.  The report of the hit and run accident may be oral.  The report of the incident need not be made by the victim, it can be made by anyone. Thus, if you are involved in a hit and run accident in New York you must make sure that the accident is reported within 24 hours or as soon as possible to the proper authority. If there was contact, and timely reporting, then a claim can be made against a proper insurance company or MVAIC.  That claim must be timely made. The vitim's automobile insurance policy should be consulted for the exact language and requirements set forth in the policy.  If there is no applicable insurance policy, then Article 54 of the New York State Insurance Law governs and should be consulted. If you are the victim of a hit and run driver you should consult a lawyer experienced in handling hit and run cases.  Zalman Schnurman & Miner are personal injury lawyers experienced in representing victims of hit and run accidents.  For a free consultation call 212-668-0059 or 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-528-5463).

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