Why You Should Never Leave The Scene Of A Car Accident

Why You Should Never Leave a Car Accident Scene: What You Need to Know

Leaving the scene of a car accident, also known as a hit-and-run accident, is a serious offense that can lead to severe legal consequences and jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for any injuries or damages. In New York, drivers involved in accidents are required by law to remain at the scene, report the incident to the police, and exchange information with the other parties involved.

Below are some reasons why you should never leave the scene of a car accident, the legal requirements you must follow, and the potential penalties for hit-and-run offenses. This blog will also provide guidance on what to do immediately after an accident, how to gather evidence to support your claim, and how to deal with insurance companies. It will even cover some common injuries sustained in car accidents and the time limits for filing a personal injury claim in New York.

By understanding your legal obligations and the steps you should take after an accident, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for any damages or injuries.

You should never leave the scene of a car accident before the police arrive, as it could lead to steep civil and criminal consequences.

You May be Required to Wait for Police to Arrive

If you are in an accident with another vehicle, there are actions you must take before you can leave the scene. If the accident involves property damage or injuries, you must report the accident to the police and stay at the scene until they arrive in most cases.

If another person was in the accident or the owner of the other vehicle is present, you are required to give them your insurance information. You have this duty when you are in an accident with someone else. The requirements are slightly different if you strike an unoccupied vehicle, and the owner is not present. This most commonly occurs in situations where you collide with a parked car.

In these cases, you have the option to report the accident in person to the nearest police station. You are under no obligation to remain at the scene of an accident if you suffered serious injuries and require emergency medical care. In these cases, you are not at risk of criminal prosecution if you leave the scene to seek medical treatment. Often, officers will meet with you at the hospital to take your statement.

It Benefits Your Injury Case to Remain at the Car Accident Scene

Remaining at the scene of the accident to speak with the police could also help your injury case. Speaking with the officer gives you the opportunity to ensure your side of the story is reflected in the police report. It also allows you to obtain the insurance information of the driver that struck you.

Staying at the scene of an accident lets you investigate the facts of the case. It’s important to gather evidence at this time. You can take pictures and videos of the vehicles involved and the scene of it all, which can help your case.

If there were witnesses to the accident, you could collect their contact information while you are at the scene of the collision. Your car accident lawyer can arrange interviews with them and document what they saw. This form of evidence can strongly favor your case.

The Difference Between Injury and Property Damage Accidents

In New York, the legal consequences for leaving the scene of an accident differ depending on whether the collision results in property damage or bodily injury. If you are involved in an accident that results in property damage, you are required to remain at the scene or promptly notify law enforcement.

If the owner of the other vehicle is not present and cannot be located, you have the right to report the accident to the nearest police officer or station. Failing to do so is considered an infraction, which could result in a fine of up to $250 and a possible jail sentence of up to 15 days.

Penalties for Hit-and-Run Accidents

The consequences for leaving the scene of an accident are more severe when the collision involves bodily injury or fatalities. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If the accident results in serious physical injury or death, the charges can be elevated to a felony, with penalties including significant prison time and substantial fines. The specific penalties for felony hit-and-run offenses depend on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injuries or fatalities involved.

What to Do in the Days Following a Car Accident

In the days following a car accident, it’s essential to take certain steps to protect your health and legal rights, even if some time has passed since the incident:

1. Seek medical care: If you haven’t already done so, visit a doctor or hospital to assess any injuries you may have sustained. Some injuries, like whiplash or concussions, may not be immediately apparent, so it’s crucial to get a professional medical evaluation. Keep records of all medical visits, treatments, and expenses related to the accident.

2. Contact your insurance company: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with factual information about the incident but refrain from admitting fault or accepting any settlement offers without consulting an attorney.

3. Gather and preserve evidence: If you were unable to collect evidence at the scene of the accident, try to obtain a copy of the police report, which should contain information about the other driver(s) involved and any witnesses. Keep any photos or videos you took at the scene and maintain records of all communications related to the accident, including emails, phone calls, and text messages.

4. Keep a journal: Start a journal to document your injuries, pain levels, and how the accident has affected your daily life. This information can be valuable when pursuing a personal injury claim.

5. Be cautious when communicating with others: Be mindful of what you say to the other driver(s), witnesses, and insurance companies. Avoid admitting fault, apologizing, or downplaying your injuries, as these statements could be used against you in future legal proceedings.

6. Contact a car accident lawyer: Consult with an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your legal options and protect your rights. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process, gather additional evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.

Common Injuries in Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which may have long-term effects on a person’s life. Common injuries include:

  1. Whiplash and neck injuries
  2. Broken bones and fractures
  3. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  4. Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  5. Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains

Seeking proper medical care and legal representation is crucial to ensure you receive the treatment and compensation you deserve.

Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Claim

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to a car accident is generally three years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions, and it’s essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected and you don’t miss any important deadlines.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Working with an experienced car accident lawyer can provide numerous benefits, including:

  1. Handling communication with insurance companies
  2. Gathering and preserving evidence to support your claim
  3. Negotiating settlements
  4. Representing you in court, if necessary
  5. Making sure you meet all legal deadlines and requirements

In other words, an attorney can help alleviate the stress and confusion often associated with the aftermath of a car accident, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Talk to a Car Accident Attorney from Our Firm About Your New York Auto Accident

You should never leave the scene of a car accident. Not only could leaving place you in criminal jeopardy, but it could also make it more difficult to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. It is the best thing for everyone involved in an accident to follow the law.

The team at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. is ready to offer our experience with handling car accident cases to you. We resolve accident claims on behalf of injury victims, and we look forward to fighting for the compensation you need. To learn more, call (631) 994-1910 for a free consultation with a Long Island car accident lawyer today. We also assist clients in Spanish.

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