A hit-and-run accident is an incredibly frustrating experience, especially when the person at fault flees the scene before authorities are notified. As a result, victims often find themselves left alone to process the incident and determine how it affects them financially and physically.
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Leaving the scene of an accident without identifying yourself and offering aid is a serious offense in New York. While some hit-and-runs are minor collisions, the law still requires you to offer aid to any victim or witness of the crash.
In addition, many states extend the definition of a hit-and-run to include parking lot collisions as well. For example, if you back into an unoccupied car in a parking lot and do not leave any identification or contact information on the vehicle, this can be considered a hit-and-run under many states’ laws.
The first thing to do after a hit-and-run is to assess the damage to your vehicle. Check for dents, scratches, and other signs of damage. If you can, take pictures of the accident scene so that you have a clear picture of what happened.
If you can, gather as much information about the other driver and vehicle as possible right after the accident. This will help you to document the incident and provide police with more details about the case, says Derek Senegal, public information officer for Louisiana State Police.
Grab a pad of paper (or your smartphone) and write down as many details as you can remember. This will help to prevent the “fog of war” effect, which is caused by memory loss after a car crash.
Getting the name, address, and contact information of any witnesses who were in the same car or other vehicles as the accident can be a key piece of evidence. This information will be essential when filing a police report and determining the liability of the at-fault driver.
Whether you’re the at-fault driver or a bystander, if you have insurance coverage, your policy will cover the cost of any medical bills and repair costs associated with the hit and run. Your insurance company may also provide compensation for lost wages and other expenses related to the accident.
When you’ve gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to call the police. This will allow them to investigate the scene and file a police report. It will also help you to get the names and contact information of any witnesses who were not in your car at the time of the accident so that they can be contacted if needed later.
If you are unsure about your legal rights, it’s important to consult with an experienced New York hit-and-run attorney immediately. These professionals can guide you through the entire process and make sure that your best interests are protected at all times.
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