SOUND COUNSEL. STRAIGHT TALK. SENSIBLE SOLUTIONS.
Albany Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
AAA estimates that there were an estimated 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in 2015, which averaged to a hit and run occurring every 43 seconds in the United States. While hit and run collisions don’t always end in death, hit and run fatalities are rising, which can be worrying for pedestrians and drivers alike.
These statistics prove the importance of having collision coverage, as well as practicing defensive driving. To reduce the possibility of being involved in a hit and run accident, you’ll want to fully understand the pedestrian right of way laws in your state. New York state gives pedestrians the right of way in all crosswalks and at intersections with marked or unmarked crosswalks.
Hit and run accidents don’t always involve pedestrians, but instead cause property damage. If you cause property damage, be sure to try and get a hold of the property owner or leave a note with your personal information, in order to avoid possible hit and run charges.
If you have or someone you love has been injured or killed due to a hit and run accident, call an Albany hit and run lawyer at 518-456-0082 today. We offer a free legal consultation to all new clients.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
The legal definition of a hit and run accident, according to AAA, is one “in which at least one person involved in a crash flees the scene before offering any (or sufficient information or aid to the other involved person(s) or fails to properly report the crash.”
When it comes to hit and run cases, it’s generally easy to determine fault, but this doesn’t mean it will necessarily be easy to recover compensation. This is why it can be helpful to hire an Albany hit and run lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck, who will advocate for you or your loved one.
Is it Illegal to Leave the Scene of an Accident?
According to New York State, under Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600(1): Leaving Scene of an Incident Without Reporting- Property Damage, it is illegal to leave the area where the accident happened when you are aware that you have caused property damage. The sentence for this infraction can be a fine of up to $250, as well as a maximum sentence of 15 days in jail.
It is also illegal if the driver flees the scene where serious injury has occurred. In this instance, leaving your contact information will not exempt you from leaving the scene, as it might in the case of property damage. The maximum sentence for leaving the scene of a hit and run where personal injury has occurred is one year in jail, as well as any medical costs or other damages due to the injured party.
Civil vs. Criminal Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents
It’s important to understand the difference between civil and criminal penalties of hit and run accidents. Civil penalties usually involve compensation, or monetary damages owed to the defendant. Pursuing a civil suit can be quicker, and cheaper, when it comes to legal fees and time spent.
Criminal cases would pursue compensation as well as incarceration. Be sure that when you’re looking at an accident lawyer or law firm, that they handle the type of case that you’re interested in pursuing. For example, The legal team at Bailey, Johnson & Peck only handles civil hit and run lawsuits, not criminal hit and run lawsuits.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
If you have hit someone or something with your car, do not leave the scene of the accident. Stay calm, and go through the following steps. This may help reduce the charges you ultimately face, as well as help mitigate or address any damages caused.
If you have hit someone, call 911 first and foremost. Even if they don’t seem to need immediate medical attention, you should always call 911 for accident victims. 911 will dispatch police, tow services as needed, and paramedics, so it is definitely worth a call.
It cannot be stressed enough to not leave the scene of an accident as the at fault driver. Not only is this illegal, but it builds a stronger case of guilt in the case of a personal injury claim or other lawsuit. Leaving the scene of a hit and run crash can also make you liable for negligent driving. Call 911 from your car, and get yourself to safety, but do not go out of reasonable range of the accident.
Try not to disturb the scene, but gather evidence in the form of pictures. License plate numbers, insurance information, and pictures of the incident itself are all valuable tools for both your insurance adjuster, and an Albany hit and run lawyer. This should be done after you’ve assured that any victims injured in a hit and run are being tended to by emergency services. The police may ask for any pictures that you take in the event that you are charged with a criminal offense.
Try not to talk too much to the victim or property owner. Anything you say can be interpreted as an admission of guilt if it’s recorded or used as testimony if the victim decides to pursue compensation. Answer police and emergency personnel questions, but overall err on the side of caution until you can talk to your lawyer or car insurance company.
Once the scene is in the hands of emergency personnel, then it may be time to call an Albany hit and run attorney. Even if the injured person or party doesn’t press charges or seek compensation, getting a hold of a legal team is in your best interest for the at-fault party. Especially because the New York State statute of limitations for hit and run accidents is three years, and the victim could choose to press charges at any point in that time period. While your own insurance company can help you manage your car and victim payouts, an Albany car accident lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck, can represent you in court.
What Should I Do if I Am the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident?
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, your condition will help determine your next steps. If you are seriously injured, don’t do anything but wait for emergency services. If they haven’t been called by someone else, then call them immediately after you’ve been hit if you can. If your property has been hit, and not your person, then this can make it easier for you to proceed forward.
It’s important that you don’t try and chase the hit and run driver. It’s illegal for the at fault driver to leave the scene of the accident, and chasing them may cause more damage, or even cause you to get in trouble. The best thing that you can do if the other driver is leaving the scene of the hit and run is try to get their license plate number. This will allow the authorities to identify the driver and charge them accordingly.
You should always call the police if you've been involved in a hit and run accident. This will ensure that you’ll be entitled to any financial compensation in the future, and allow the authority to create an accident report, which can help you stay up-to-date on the hit and run case progress. This is especially important if you weren’t able to get the license plate number, or any other identification, from the fleeing car.
It’s important to gather evidence at the scene of the accident, without touching or tampering with the scene. This could include taking pictures, getting the license plate number of any drivers involved, getting the driver’s license and insurance coverage of the hit and run driver if they stay at the accident scene, and anything else that may help in a hit and run case.
If you are injured and unable to collect evidence, this is another reason to call the police, and hire Albany hit and run lawyers immediately.
Once you’re safely able to, call your car insurance company and get started on an insurance claim, particularly if your car was damaged. Many drivers will see an increase in their insurance rates after car accidents, even if they aren’t at fault.
That’s why it’s important to get in touch with your own insurance company after a hit and run collision, in order to get ahead of any changes to your insurance policy and understand what changes may be coming to your policy after the case.
Lastly, and most importantly, call an Albany hit and run accident lawyer. If you have suffered a variety of damages due to this hit and run accident, you deserve justice and financial compensation.
Damages for Hit and Run Accidents
There are several damages that you can pursue for a civil hit and run accident. This can include:
- Lost wages;
- Medical bills;
- Vehicle repair costs;
- Property damage costs;
- Emotional pain and suffering damages;
- Funeral and burial expenses if the hit and run resulted in wrongful death.
Call an Albany Hit and Run Accident Lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck TodayIf a driver hit you, caused you severe injuries and car damages, and fled the scene of the accident, you may have grounds to take legal action. Albany hit and run accident attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help victims of hit and run accidents recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, car damage, emotional distress, and so much more. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a Free consultation with an Albany hit and run accident lawyer today.
Helping Injury Victims
Put Their Lives Back Together
Schedule a Consultation
Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law, including car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. If you have questions about insurance coverage and how to get the financial compensation you need, contact us today to see how we can help.
We have represented many clients on both sides of personal injury and insurance disputes. Let us use our depth of knowledge and experience to help you and your family get the medical care and financial compensation you need and deserve.