- January 20, 2023
- Vehicle Accidents
Do you know how to report a hit and run?
By law, when any car crash happens, from a fender bender to an auto collision with a pedestrian, the parties involved should get out and exchange insurance information. But some drivers try to avoid the responsibility for a collision when they know they’re at fault by fleeing the scene. This can be done in a panic or simply out of a desire to escape the consequences of their actions.
Without the other driver’s information, it can be difficult to resolve your case and receive the compensation you need for repairs, medical expenses, and potential lost wages. Our NYC hit and run lawyers at Kaplan Lawyers can help you find the driver responsible and hold them accountable for any damage done to you.
How To Report a Hit and Run
When it comes to vehicle accidents, the main challenge of reporting a hit and run is the limited information on the other driver. Unless you memorized or caught a picture of their license plate, you may not know where to start. But that shouldn’t stop you from beginning to report your hit and run case.
If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to chase after the driver. Let professionals track them down; trust the process. If you can, get a picture of their license plate. From there, you can take these steps to report the hit and run.
#1: Get Off the Road
If you were hit while driving a car, pull your car over to the shoulder of the road. If you were hit as a pedestrian and you’re able, move off the road. This puts you out of danger while you process this shocking event and allows you to take the next steps.
#2: Call the Police
Don’t hesitate to call the police. If you are injured, you may need to call 911 in order to receive medical attention, anyway. You can file the accident report with the police, as well as providing any relevant information you may have about the other driver.
If you don’t have a picture of the license plate, provide them with the make, model, or color of the vehicle. If you caught a glimpse of the driver, describe them. Tell the police where the vehicle headed.
#3: Call Your Insurance Company
New York is a no-fault state, one of twelve in the country. That means that regardless of who is at fault for the accident, your insurance company is required to pay up to your policy limit to cover any medical expenses for bodily injury.
Just like calling the police, this is not a step on which you want to hesitate. Call your insurance company as soon as you can to file your claim. Get estimates from mechanics and medical professionals so you know how much coverage you need and report this to your insurance company, as well.
#4: Document Everything
Take pictures of any damage done to your car or other property. If you have injuries, take pictures of your injury and save any medical reports and bills. Save the report from the mechanic about any damages done to your vehicle. If your hit and run case goes to trial or even to a settlement, you will need to present evidence of the damage done. The extent of your documentation is crucial for the success of your case.
#5: Speak to Witnesses at the Scene
Witnesses at the scene may have been able to spot details that you didn’t. Speak to them or at least get their contact information, if they’re willing to give it. Document any details they share with you and give their contact information to police or your legal team (with their consent, of course). This can be key in finding the perpetrator of the hit and run.
#6: Hire Kaplan Lawyers
If you’ve sustained property damage or bodily injury due to a hit and run accident, you need a legal team to support you through settlements, trials, and any interactions with insurance companies. That’s where we come in. We can assist you with your case by:
- Filing all the necessary paperwork to report your hit and run accident
- Interviewing witnesses and first responders in attempts to track down and serve the driver, sometimes even hiring private investigators
- Gathering evidence such as surveillance footage, medical and police reports
- Dealing with the insurance companies and their attorneys
- Building your case whether it stops at a settlement or goes to trial.
Resolving a hit and run case when the party responsible is refusing to cooperate can be a challenge, but when you take these steps, you will know that you’ve done everything you responsibly needed to do in the matter.
Can You Sue in a New York Hit and Run Case?
As stated above, New York is a no-fault state, which means that your insurance is responsible for your coverage up to your policy limit regardless of who is at fault. However, this does not prevent you from suing in a hit and run case.
Your insurance company will only pay up to their policy limit. If your medical bills, repair costs, or other economic damages — such as lost wages or, in the case of a death, funeral expenses — exceed that policy limit, the party responsible for the accident can be sued to cover the remaining cost. You can also sue for non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society, companionship, or consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Non-economic damages can be more difficult to prove than economic damages, since emotional pain tends to be more abstract and nebulous. You can speak with a mental health professional who can provide the court with insight into your emotional state. You can also provide a statement that speaks to the non-economic suffering you may have suffered as the result of the accident.
In order to sue the other driver in a hit and run case, of course, you need to be able to track them down. This is not always possible, although we will exhaust all of our efforts to find the driver. If you or a witness catches a picture of the license plate, the chances of finding the driver are much higher.
If you are able to find the driver, we can help you file your suit against them. If you cannot find the driver, you can refer to your insurance company’s uninsured motorist (UM) insurance policy to cover the damages.
How To Deal with the Insurance Company After a Hit and Run
You will need to review your insurance policy to see what your plan may cover. For instance, if you are unable to track down the other driver, your UM policy should cover medical expenses, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle. Collision coverage can help to cover repair costs or replace your vehicle if necessary.
When it comes to directly interacting with the insurance company, we recommend that our clients not speak to the insurance company beyond filing the accident report. Instead, your legal team can negotiate with the insurance company and their attorneys. Although it may seem simpler to deal with insurance companies directly, this can in fact lead to more issues in your case.
Insurance companies are a business, with thousands or millions of clients. Their only concern is making a profit. Simply put, insurance companies don’t want to pay for your property damage or bodily injury coverage if they can avoid it. So, they will do everything in their power to avoid it.
Insurance companies hire attorneys who are experienced at twisting your words and looking for gaps in your story. They will search for any loophole to allow them to pay as little as possible or to avoid paying at all. That’s where Kaplan Lawyers can have your back.
We try to settle all of our cases with insurance companies to make less hassle for you. If, however, they counter with an offer that is unreasonable, we may take further measures. If we find that they violated the terms of your policy, we will take them to court and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
If you have had interactions with the insurance company without legal counsel, it’s recommended that you record it or otherwise thoroughly document that interaction. This can then serve as a record so that the insurance company will be less likely to go back on their word.
Let Our NYC Hit and Run Attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers Help You Get Compensation
Our team has years of combined experience handling personal injury law cases, including hit and run cases. We do more than simply trying to win your case. We offer you a network of support, because recovering after a hit and run is not something you should have to go through alone.
Contact Kaplan Lawyers today to learn more about what we can do for you or to schedule a free consultation: (516) 399-2364.
Managing Attorney John. J. Tucker, Esq.
John has personally handled thousands of clients who were victims of another’s negligence and fights relentlessly for their rights. John enjoys bringing closure to a client’s matter so that the injured party can move forward with their life. His background enables him to evaluate complex liability related claims and bring resolution to claims in a record time frame. [ Attorney Bio ]