A hit-and-run occurs when a driver hits another car, person, or object and then drives away without providing their insurance details and contact information. A hit-and-run is a serious criminal offense that can result in jail time, fines, and other repercussions. In some states, drivers can face felony hit-and-run charges for accidents that involve fatalities or severe injury.
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The length of time that a hit-and-run case takes depends on many factors, including the extent of the injuries or property damage, whether or not the person responsible for the accident can be found, and how busy police are at the time. If the case is for a minor accident with minimal injuries or damage to you or your property, it can take as little as two to four weeks for the police to investigate and begin gathering evidence.
In the meantime, if you are injured in an accident, it is vital to report it to the police. Failure to do so can prevent you from pursuing compensation for your injuries and damages.
Once you have filed a police report, it is essential to take photographs and gather witness statements as soon as possible. This will help police identify the person who caused your injuries and damages. It will also be helpful for your accident lawyer if you are filing a claim against the responsible party.
You should write down everything you can remember about the driver and their vehicle as quickly as you can after the incident, as details may fade in the days and weeks following a hit-and-run. This includes license plate number, color, make and model.
If possible, ask witnesses if they know the identity of the driver and where they live. This will help police identify the driver and determine where they may be hiding.
Lastly, take note of the location where the hit-and-run occurred. If the crash happened in a parking lot, for example, you should find out where the parking spaces are located and the distance between them. This will help you to figure out the route that the driver took to leave the scene.
A good way to do this is to use your phone. It is usually possible to take a photograph of the license plate of a hit-and-run driver from a distance using your phone camera. You should also try to get pictures of the surrounding area, as this can be important for any future investigation into the case.
When you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is vital to take your case to the court as quickly as possible. New York Civil Practice Law & Rules SS214 explains that you must file a complaint in court within three years of the date of the accident, or else your rights to pursue compensation for your injuries will be compromised.
In addition to this, a hit-and-run conviction can impact your driving privileges and lead to administrative fees and penalties, such as points on your license or revocation. A skilled Long Island criminal justice attorney can provide the legal representation you need to avoid these harsh consequences.