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Serious Injuries Require
In New York, it is against the law to flee the scene after causing damage or injury in a motor vehicle accident. Despite this law, drivers continue to flee or leave the scene of motor vehicle accidents, whether on purpose, due to fear or sometimes as a result of uncertainty.
Some of these drivers may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while others may be driving without a proper license or proper insurance coverage. Whatever the reason, accidents involving hit-and-run vehicles often leave injury victims with serious issues that go beyond getting the medical treatment that they need. Although witnesses and/or surveillance cameras can assist in locating the driver or vehicle owner, there is no guarantee that the parties responsible may ever be found.
The mere fact that you are unable to locate any information concerning the identity of the driver or owner of a motor vehicle that was involved in a hit-and-run accident does not mean that you are helpless under the law. There are resources and sources of recovery relating to your medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for your pain and suffering and any permanent injuries you may have suffered. This is why it is extremely important to contact a hit-and-run accident attorney immediately so that you can discover all of your rights and options in addition to being guided appropriately so that you and your loved ones can be compensated for any harms and losses that have occurred due to a hit-and-run accident that has resulted in severe injuries or wrongful death.
The Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C., has been representing victims of hit-and-run and uninsured accidents for over 35 years, and our attorneys are fully knowledgeable concerning all of the remedies available to those victims and their families as a result of a hit-and-run or uninsured accident.
Aside from a hit-and-run accident, you or a loved one may have been involved in an accident where even though the identity of the operator and the owner of the vehicle are known, there may be no insurance coverage available for the vehicle that caused an accident. This scenario could occur if a motor vehicle involved in an accident was stolen, the vehicle did not have insurance, which may have lapsed, or the vehicle was never insured to begin with. There could also be other circumstances surrounding the operation of a motor vehicle that gives rise to no available insurance coverage available for the accident. For example, the individual driving the vehicle may not have had permission or consent to operate the vehicle, which results in the insurance company disclaiming coverage. There are a number of circumstances surrounding the operation of a motor vehicle that could result in a vehicle not having insurance at the time it is involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Whether you were a passenger, pedestrian or a driver of a motor vehicle or motorcycle that was involved in an accident caused by a hit and run or uninsured driver of another motor vehicle, there are options and remedies available to you.
If a pedestrian victim in this type of accident resides in a household where either he, she or someone else in that household owns a motor vehicle, it is likely that the insurance policy covering that particular vehicle in the household will have “uninsured motorist coverage” to cover the motor vehicle accident victim in a hit and run or uninsured accident. This is true even though the motor vehicle in the household was not involved in the accident and there is no relationship between the car(s) in the household and the accident in question.
In fact, New York law requires insurance companies underwriting motor vehicle insurance to provide for “uninsured motorist benefits.” What this means is that you or a loved one who has been the victim of a hit and run or uninsured accident can pursue various benefits and coverage as a result of the availability of an automobile insurance policy covering a vehicle that is owned by someone who lives in your household.
There are benefits referred to as No-Fault benefits under the motor vehicle policy in your own household that are available to cover immediate and necessary medical and health care costs, lost wages and other reasonable expenses following a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident.
Other compensation and damages for pain and suffering due to injuries or death resulting from a hit-and-run or uninsured motor vehicle accident are available under the uninsured motorist coverage endorsement in the household automobile insurance policy, which will determine the amount of money you or a loved one can pursue for pain and suffering and injuries or death. Remember, the No-Fault benefits you are entitled to under that policy are separate and distinct from your ability to pursue pain and suffering and injury compensation under the uninsured motorist coverage endorsement. Moreover, pursuing monies to cover you or a loved one for pain and suffering, injuries or death under the uninsured motorist coverage endorsement can take place outside of court through arbitration without a judge or jury, and this is often a much faster process than having to proceed as a party in court.
For those victims who reside in a household where there is no motor vehicle owned by anyone, the law in the State of New York has resulted in a corporation being set up under the New York Insurance Law called the “New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation” or MVAIC. MVAIC was created in 1958 by the New York State Legislature and operates as a nonprofit organization that provides No-Fault coverage to victims who are eligible for benefits in the same manner that other insurance companies would be required to pay No-Fault benefits where there is insurance coverage available in an accident.
Additionally, there is available through MVAIC the right to pursue compensation for pain and suffering and other injury damages if you or a loved one is eligible, meaning that you are a qualified person under the law. Effective January 1, 1996, the maximum amount of recovery for injuries, including pain and suffering to one person who is eligible is $25,000 and $50,000 if there have been two or more persons who have been injured and are seeking recovery for injury as the result of one accident. If someone has died, the applicable coverage is $50,000.
In order to be a qualified person permitted to submit a claim to MVAIC, the victim must be a resident of New York State or a resident of another state or country that has a substantially similar program to New York State’s program in that state or country. Furthermore, a qualified person is someone other than a person who would be permitted coverage through some household policy or the owner of an uninsured motor vehicle and his/her spouse when a passenger in such a vehicle.
With respect to claims that are being made against MVAIC, there are many procedures and requirements. Furthermore, there are time limits that require claims to be made within 90 days of the happening of an accident.
Additionally, if an accident resulted from a hit and run, under New York Insurance Law, there is a requirement that the accident be reported to the police, a peace officer or a judicial officer, or the commissioner of Motor Vehicles, within 24 hours. Of course, if circumstances surrounding the accident could not be reported within 24 hours, the rights of victims should not be prejudiced if it can be shown that it was not reasonably possible to make such a report within 24 hours or that it was made as soon as was reasonably possible.
The bottom line is that there are many complex and specific rules, regulations and procedures that relate to pursuing all claims relating to a hit-and-run and/or uninsured accident, whether against an insurance carrier covering a motor vehicle in the household you live in or through MVAIC. Once you or a loved one can proceed with such a claim, many of the same laws relating to “serious injury threshold” and “comparative negligence” may very well become applicable depending upon the circumstances.
The Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C., have been representing victims of hit-and-run and uninsured accidents for over 35 years and are fully knowledgeable concerning all of the remedies available to those victims and their families. Navigating and prosecuting claims arising from hit-and-run and uninsured accidents can be complicated and require investigation of the peculiar facts and circumstances surrounding every situation that is unique.
You should contact our office as soon as you are aware of this type of accident so that you and your family may be provided with a free evaluation in order to determine how best to proceed so that all necessary claims may be pursued in order to obtain full and fair compensation for any harms and losses that have occurred. Call 212-668-0100 to schedule your appointment today.
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