What to Do if You Left the Scene of an Accident in NY But You Were Injured

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    Vehicle crashes can be scary and overwhelming. For some, their first instinct is to run, even if they are injured. Leaving an accident scene before the police arrive can lead to serious legal penalties, and you should talk to a lawyer immediately.

    If you were injured in an accident before leaving the scene, you should get emergency medical attention immediately. Go to a hospital even if you believe your injuries are minor. Doctors might find serious internal injuries, and you need accurate medical records for an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you have not already contacted the police, you should do so. Accidents involving certain injuries or damage must be reported to the police. Failing to do so might land you in legal trouble. You might need a lawyer after leaving the scene of the accident. You might be facing hit-and-run charges and need legal assistance with an insurance claim or lawsuit.

    If you left an accident scene while injured, call our NY car accident lawyers at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review with us at The Carrion Law Firm.

    When to Get Medical Care if You Left the Scene of an Accident in NY with Injuries

    You should get to a hospital right away. People sometimes leave accident scenes because they do not think their situation constitutes an emergency. Maybe you were a little banged up, and the damage to your car is minor. You might decide to work things out with the other driver privately rather than get the police involved. Even so, you should see a doctor. You might have internal injuries that will worsen without treatment.

    You also need medical care so that your injuries are properly documented in your medical records. Our Queens personal injury attorneys can use these records later to prove the extent of your damages.

    Next, an attorney can help you work out how to explain your actions to the authorities. Maybe you left immediately because you were afraid an ambulance would not arrive fast enough or because you wanted to avoid the added expense of an ambulance. Maybe you exchanged information with the other driver, and you both agreed not to contact the authorities.

    Not reporting the accident might be a legal violation, depending on the accident and the level of damages. New York accident reporting requirements are explained in more detail below.

    Reporting an Accident After You Left the Scene in NY

    Reporting requirements for auto accidents in New York are described under V.A.T. Law § 605(a)(1). If an accident involves death, physical injuries, or property damage valued at no less than $1,000, it must be reported to the police within 10 days.

    This leaves drivers with a little wiggle room. If you left the accident scene because you believed it was necessary, you should not be criminally charged if you report the crash within 10 days. For example, maybe you left the scene because the police and ambulance took too long to arrive.

    According to V.A.T. Law § 605(a)(2), the penalties for not reporting a car accident may include criminal charges. You may be charged with a misdemeanor and have your license suspended or revoked. Additional criminal penalties, such as for a hit-and-run, are described below.

    Do I Need a Lawyer if I Left a Car Accident Scene in NY?

    Some accidents are minor, and little legal intervention is needed. However, many other accidents are severe, and you should contact a lawyer immediately. You should especially consider hiring a lawyer if you left the accident scene, even if you did so for a good reason.

    Possible Criminal Charges

    As described above, certain accidents must be reported to the police. If you fail to do so, you might face criminal charges and penalties. However, there might be even harsher penalties depending on the circumstances of the crash and how quickly you left. Talk to a lawyer about the possibility of criminal charges.

    Drivers might face hit-and-run charges after fleeing the scene of a collision before the police arrive. According to V.A.T. Law § 600(1)(a), you might be charged for leaving the scene involving property damage. Under V.A.T. Law § 600(1)(b), you may be fined up to $250, sentenced to up to 15 days in jail, or both.

    Charges may be worse if the accident involved bodily injuries, according to V.A.T. Law § 600(2)(a). A driver may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of at least $250 and up to $500 in addition to up to 3 months of jail time, under V.A.T. Law § 600(2)(c).

    Subsequent violations may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, fined at least $500 but not more than $1,000, and possible jail time of up to 364 days.

    A violation where someone experienced serious physical injuries may lead to Class E felony charges. You may face a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $5,000 and up to 4 years in prison.

    Insurance Claim Help

    You might also need a lawyer to help you file an insurance claim. If you leave the accident scene, filing a claim might be challenging. Insurance companies often want to see some official documentation of the crash, like a police report. If you left the scene, the insurance company might be highly skeptical of your claims.

    New York is a no-fault auto insurance state. Drivers may file claims with their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance without having to prove fault. Even though you might not have to prove the other driver caused the accident, leaving the scene might complicate your claim. Your lawyer can help you convince the insurance company to cover you.

    Suing for Damages

    You may sue for damages after a car accident in New York only if you have “serious injuries,” according to I.S.C. Law § 5104(a). If you left the accident scene before contacting the police, you might have trouble convincing a jury to rule in your favor.

    Juries might perceive your leaving the accident as fleeing. This can be especially problematic if you leave the accident without speaking to the other driver. A jury might see this as leaving another injured person to fend for themselves. Your lawyer can help you explain why you left the accident. For example, if your injuries were urgent, you might have decided to drive yourself, as waiting for an ambulance might take too long.

    Speak to our NY Car Accident Attorneys Right Away

    If you left an accident scene while injured, call our Queens car accident lawyers at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review with us at The Carrion Law Firm.