Car with damage after a hit-and-run accident.

Hit and run accidents have become more common in recent years and can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. When an at-fault driver leaves the accident scene instead of staying and helping the injured person, the victim can suffer needlessly. Victims of hit and run accidents are entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the accident, but recovering compensation can be more challenging.

Hit and run accident victims in New York benefit from working with an attorney who can help them obtain the compensation they need and deserve. If you or your loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, the attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are prepared to pursue full and fair damages. Our attorneys will help you navigate the legal system and use our experience to negotiate with the insurance company to pursue the compensation you deserve. 

Fatal Hit and Run Accidents Have Increased

A recent report showed that between 2012 and 2021, fatal hit and run accidents increased by 48.7 percent. Hit and run accidents are more likely to occur at night, and 62 percent of fatal hit and run accidents involve pedestrians. Some hit and run accidents do not result in a fatality but cause personal injury and property damage. Hit and run accidents causing an injury increased from 159,854 in 2012 to 194,918 in 2021. 

Similarly, hit and run accidents that only involved property damage increased to 702,341 in 2021 from 490,793 in 2012. Multiple factors may have increased the number of hit and run accidents, including distracted driving and speeding. Rising repair costs and auto insurance rates could influence drivers to make a split-second decision to drive away from the accident scene for fear of the financial consequences. 

Why Is It So Important to File a Lawsuit in a Hit and Run Right Away?

Speaking to a skilled attorney after receiving medical attention will help your claim for compensation in multiple ways. First, your attorney can collect and preserve important physical evidence that may dissipate with time. Evidence can become damaged or lost. Witnesses to the hit and run accident may move or change their contact information, making it more difficult to find them over time. 

Additionally, your attorney will be able to work with the police and their investigators to identify the at-fault driver. In many cases, joint efforts are more likely to achieve positive results. After a hit and run accident, many victims have significant medical expenses that must be covered. Your vehicle may have been damaged. Without the strategic help of an experienced attorney, you may be left responsible for all these expenses. Your attorney will carefully examine all of the potential avenues to recover compensation and develop the most effective legal strategy to do so.

Pursuing an Insurance Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company

New York follows a no-fault insurance rule that protects car accident victims. The at-fault driver who caused the accident is legally responsible for covering the victim’s expenses. Specifically, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company must cover the victim’s damages up to the policy limit. 

If the driver who fled the scene can be identified, the victim should quickly pursue an insurance claim with his or her insurance policy. It’s important to file a claim within thirty days of the accident, or you may unintentionally waive your right to compensation through an insurance claim. Victims can pursue compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, prescription costs, property damage, and transportation to and from medical providers. 

Pursuing Compensation Through a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The best strategy for recovering compensation may be pursuing a civil lawsuit for compensation against the at-fault driver. If you’ve been seriously injured, you may have incurred significant damages. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may be the most strategic option to recover all of the compensation you deserve. 

Through a personal injury lawsuit, victims can pursue compensation for their present and future expenses that the insurance policy may not adequately cover. Specifically, victims can pursue additional compensation for the pain and suffering they’ve incurred, loss of enjoyment of life, and damages for disability and disfigurement. When the at-fault driver engages in willful or wanton misconduct, the victim may be entitled to additional punitive damages. 

The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC have the resources and experience needed to investigate the causes of the accident fully. We work with accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to determine which party or parties caused the accident and why. In addition to the driver who fled the scene, there could be additional at-fault parties. 

For example, if the at-fault driver was working for an employer at the time of the accident, the employer may be vicariously liable for your injuries. Auto manufacturers, local municipalities, third-party drivers, and others may also be liable for the accident. When the driver can’t be identified or is insolvent, pursuing a claim against another at-fault party may be your best option. 

What Happens If The At-Fault Driver Is Never Found?

One of the most frustrating aspects of a hit-and-run accident involves locating the at-fault driver. Although it’s not uncommon for police officers to be able to track down the at-fault driver, in some cases, he or she is never identified. Even if the driver is never identified and located, you may still be able to obtain compensation for your injuries. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, your coverage probably includes supplemental uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). If so, you can submit a claim for compensation through your insurance provider. 

Suppose you can identify the at-fault driver, and the driver has auto insurance, but the coverage limit is far too low to cover your damages. In that case, your uninsured motorist coverage may cover the difference between your actual damages and the at-fault driver’s policy limit. In hit and run accidents, multiple insurance companies are typically involved, and they all attempt to limit or deny the amount of compensation they pay the victim. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are prepared to navigate the insurance claims process so you can focus on your recovery.

Contact a Long Island Car Accident Attorney 

If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident in New York, Dell & Dean, PLLC is prepared to advocate for you and your right to compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation.

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles claims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.