There are few things more shocking than being seriously injured in an accident, and seeing the other driver take off. Recently, one of my clients was walking ON THE SIDEWALK when an out of control car went up ONTO THE SIDEWALK and hit him. His leg was broken in several places and thankfully some people inside adjacent homes heard the noise and called for an ambulance and the police. He was successfully treated for his injuries and the police caught the driver, who is being charged. This bring us to the question of legal rights to compensation after a hit and run accident.
An experienced Queens Car Accident Attorney knows that there is always somewhere to go for compensation for hit and run accidents. If you are able to get a plate number and confirm insurance with the offending vehicle, that policy will cover both your loss for both first party benefits (no-fault) and also for pain and suffering and other liability claims. If you are hit by a New York car, the no-fault benefits will be at least $50,000, but if you are hit by an out-of-state vehicle, insured with a company that does not do business in New York, if could be significantly less, sometimes as little as $5,000. If you have health insurance, it will cover you once the no-fault benefits have been expended. New York required a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident in liability coverage for personal injuries. It is a tragedy when there is so little coverage for catastrophic injuries, and with an out-of-state vehicle, it can be even less! This is why some people purchase their own “under-insurance” policy to cover this type of accident.
If it’s not possible to get a plate number and the offending vehicle is not found by the police, the next place to go for coverage is a “car in your household.” If anybody in your home owns a car that is insured, that policy with cover both no-fault and liability benefits under the terms of that policy. This is a statutory scheme to afford coverage in such situations, so there will be absolutely no impact on the policy extending coverage, as it cannot be used a basis for raising premiums for that policyholder.
Experienced accidents attorneys in Queens know that even if there is no applicable insurance, the loss will be covered by the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). All insurance companies licensed in New York must pay into this fund for this purpose. The monetary limits for MVAIC are the same as the minimum policy limits for New York which are $50,000 for no-fault first party benefits and $25,000/$50,000 for liability coverage. It should be noted that MVAIC is extremely strict about enforcing the “serious injury” requirement, so if there is not a fracture, scar or at least 3 months out of work, MVAIC will not pay out on liability. The no-fault benefits will pay out in all eligible situations. For a more detailed explanation, it’s a good idea to contact a Queens car accident attorney as cases against MVAIC can be complicated.
It’s always important to remember that revenge against the hit and run driver plays no part in your case. The police may ask for your assistance in prosecuting a hit and run driver, and you should certainly cooperate with them, but the results of the criminal prosecution will not generally have an impact on your case. Accident attorneys in Queens will encourage you to concentrate on healing from your injuries and returning to work as soon as possible, rather than anger against the hit and run driver.
If you have any questions, please call Wittenstein & Wittenstein at 718-261-8114. We pride ourselves in answering any and all questions fully and clearly.