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Don’t feel helpless if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident

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On October 23, 2015 the Poughkipse Journal reported that a resident of Kent, NY pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident in the hit-and-run death of a woman was struck while walking on an eastern New York road.

In New York, drivers involved in serious or fatal motor vehicle accidents are required by law to to remain at the scene of the crash until they are permitted to leave by the police. Despite this requirement, some drivers leave the scene of an accident, leaving behind injured victims. Beyond criminal charges that may apply, a driver may be cited for a traffic violation and may face a fine for violations such as failing to yield to traffic for failing to stop at a traffic control signal. Such a driver may also be sued by a victim of the accident who seeks to recover monetary compensation for his/her injuries and any economic losses suffered.

Some drivers leave the scene of an accident because they fear punishment by the police or reprisal from an employer if the collision involved someone who was acting within the scope of his/her employment or was using a work vehicle. Another reason a driver may leave the scene of an accident is because the driver had been drinking or using drugs sometime in the hours before the collision, was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident and does not want such drug or alcohol use to be discovered. In some cases, a driver may lack a driver’s license or proof of car insurance which is required by law to operate a vehicle in New York and may choose to leave the scene rather than face the police. Many times a driver who leaves an accident scene can be identified later by eyewitnesses or other evidence, such as security cameras that may have recorded the accident.

Whether in a hit-and-run accident where the driver fled was later discovered or where no driver was ever found, a motor vehicle accident victim may be entitled to monetary compensation for his/her injuries and other losses, even if the hit-and-run driver failed to insure his vehicle or the insurance on the vehicle had lapsed.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident, call O’Dwyer & Bernstien at 800 471-2402 for a free consultation.

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.