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The law office of Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. helps victims of automobile accidents in New York City recover compensation for their injuries from the negligent or reckless driver who caused the accident. Sometimes, the identity of the driver is not known because the driver sped away from the scene rather than stopping as is required by law. In this case, you may still be able to recover compensation.
The proper recourse when injured in a hit and run accident is to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance carrier. Hit and run lawsuits are covered in New York Insurance Law section 5217, which allows uninsured motorist claims when the identity of the vehicle owner is unascertainable, but only in certain situations (see below). This law applies either when the identity of the owner or operator of the vehicle cannot be ascertained, or when the vehicle was driven by an unknown person without the consent of the vehicle’s owner, even if the owner’s identity is known.
In order to avoid fictitious claims by people who were not really in a hit and run, the law requires the plaintiff to provide proof of physical contact with another vehicle. It is not enough to claim that you were “cut off” in traffic, even if the other driver’s actions caused you to swerve or lose control and strike another vehicle or object. While such reckless driving could make that reckless driver liable if you found him or her, it is not enough under the law to invoke your uninsured motorist policy. In other words, without a “hit,” there’s no hit and run.
Although there must be physical contact with another vehicle, it may only have to be a part of the vehicle. For instance, a muffler could detach from a vehicle and land in the roadway, and another driver striking the muffler could lose control of the car and strike a guardrail or go off the road, resulting in a serious personal injury. This type of accident is very real, but it is hard to prove and presents difficult factual and legal issues related to proximate cause and other factors.
Pedestrians can of course be struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run as well. A pedestrian struck by an uninsured motorist can submit a claim to the insurer of the pedestrian or another household member as an uninsured motorist claim. The same rule can apply to pedestrians involved in hit-and-run accidents. Remember that if making a claim to MVAIC for no-fault benefits , the accident is supposed to be reported within 24 hours.
New York hit and run lawyer Leandros Vrionedes handles all types of automobile accidents, including hit and run claims and other uninsured motorist claims. If you have been injured in a hit and run or any other type of motor vehicle accident in New York City, contact the law office of Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.