There are several reasons why you should never leave the scene of a car accident in New York. Remaining at the scene of an accident is often required by law, especially when there are injuries. What’s more, leaving the accident scene could also put you at a disadvantage should you choose to pursue a personal injury case in the future.
The actions you take after a serious vehicle collision could have lasting consequences. In addition to remaining at the scene of an accident until the police arrive, it is important to take other steps to protect your legal rights. A discussion with a Long Island car accident lawyer could be one of those vital steps.
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.
The Difference Between Injury and Property Damage Accidents
You face the same requirements related to reporting a car accident when the collision results in bodily injuries or only property damage. However, the consequences you might face can differ depending on the circumstances. If you are involved in an accident that results in property damage, you are required to remain at the scene or otherwise notify law enforcement right away.
In cases where 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. If you fail to do so you could face fines, but this is not treated as a criminal offense. Despite only being considered an infraction, you could face up to 15 days in jail and a $250 fine.
The consequences are steeper when you leave the scene of an accident involving bodily injury. If you do not stay at the scene of the collision and wait for the police, you could face criminal charges. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury is treated as a B misdemeanor under state law.
What Comes with a Conviction
A conviction could result in up to 90 days in jail and a fine between $250 and $500. Second or subsequent offenses could lead to as much as one year in jail.
It Benefits Your Injury Case to Remain at the 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 lawyer can arrange interviews with them and document what they saw. This form of evidence can strongly favor your case.
Talk to an 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, 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) 451-7900 for a free consultation with a team member today. We also assist clients in Spanish.