Hit-and-run accidents occur when the driver of a vehicle hits a pedestrian, bicyclist, or another vehicle and doesn’t stop. This blatant disregard for the well-being of others is not only sickening but also a crime.
According to New York traffic laws, drivers are required to stay at the scene of accidents that cause injuries or property damage. When a driver fails to do so, they may face penalties.
What Are the Penalties for a Hit and Run Accident?
The penalties for a hit-and-run accident will depend upon the severity of injuries and property damage left behind. Those who flee the scene may be scared of the consequences, but leaving only makes things worse.
The hit-and-run motorist may be charged with a moving offence, which carries a maximum $250 fine and a maximum 15-day prison sentence. They could also be charged with a Class E felony, which carries a maximum penalty of $2,500 and up to four years in prison, a Class D felony, which carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and up to seven years in prison, or a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of $500 and up to 90 days in jail.
A driver who leaves the scene of an accident can face a traffic violation if they fail to share their license and insurance information if there was only property damage. If they leave the scene of an accident with injuries, it is a misdemeanor. But if those injuries are serious, it’s a Class E felony. When someone dies because of an accident caused by a hit-and-run driver, it becomes a Class D felony.
What to Do if You Are the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Driver
The punishments are severe for leaving an accident scene. Still, it happens every day, leaving the victims left to wonder what happens next. Whether you come out of a store to find your car hit with no one stopping at the scene or you get struck while crossing the street, hit-and-run accidents can be a major disruption.
Your first action is to call the police. They will come to the accident scene and file a police report. You should also write down everything you can remember—if anything— about the other driver and their car.
Get photos of all the damage, injuries, and the scene. If anyone saw what happened, get their information, too. You may also want to ask any nearby businesses if they have security footage of the area that may have captured more details of the accident.
Naturally, this may all be overwhelming for you, which is why you should contact an experienced hit and run accident lawyer to help you manage your claim. With an attorney on your side, it will be easier to find the runaway driver and pursue justice.