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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michael E. Greenspan with Greenspan & Greenspan.
Never flee the scene of the accident. There is an element of fear behind hit and runs; no one wants to get “caught.” However, trying to flee can only make things much, much worse. Such was the case in a recent accident in Hoboken, NJ, involving a 66-year-old driver, a collision into a building, and then a subsequent fleeing only to accidentally hit a pedestrian on a sidewalk.
Parties involved deserve a chance to be represented well. The fact is the Hoboken pedestrian would’ve not had been left with several fractures in that accident had the 66-year-old driver tried not to flee the scene. However, that is an isolated event. Drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents flee the scene and pretend like nothing happened. Therefore no one can be held accountable, except with how much information law enforcement can discover via the accident scene and bystander accounts.
Aside from the fact that it is illegal to hit and run in New York, it’s also a pretty good idea to review the specifics in the law regarding what’s expected of you behind the wheel.
For starters, if you’re in an accident with another driver—and the accident wasn’t your fault—you must stick around to exchange information and also call law enforcement to ensure protocol is followed. However, the law also applies to parked cars. If you hit a parked car, stick around. If no one’s around, leave an appropriate note on the windshield along with your contact info.
It’s important to know that any kind of damage—whether it’s personal property, or private property, or especially State property—has to be answered for. If you caused the damage, stick around. Don’t just leave. Surprisingly, however, the law does exclude more of the random items, such as telephone poles, mailboxes, garbage cans, and even animals. This is often why you can accidentally hit a deer, and you’ll just drive off without the worry of being chased by a cop or two.
Long story short, if you get into an accident, whatever the accident is, make sure to somehow exchange your information before thinking that it’s okay to just move on. You certainly don’t want to incur penalties of up to $250 for accidentally rear-ending a bus or anything. In New York, even prison could be a consequence, for up to 15 days.
Seriously injuring someone, or causing the death of someone, and then cutting out could land you with a Class E or D felony. Fines tend to fluctuate between $1K to $5K.
After sustaining injuries or property damage in a hit and run accident, your best recourse is to contact an attorney. Even if you’re worried that the police don’t much evidence, an attorney can conduct an investigation of their own to determine liability. At the very least, you can obtain peace of mind knowing that you’ve explored your options.
And remember that if you hit something or somebody, leaving only makes things worse.
Written on behalf of Michael Greenspan by AskTheLawyers.com™
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