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What Happens If You Leave the Scene After a Car Accident?

As of 2019, NYPD reported that 492 civilians had left the scene of a hit and run without reporting the incident to the police. While any car accident can be shocking, leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and can lead to arrest or further legal issues. We will review the legality aspects of leaving a hit-and-run accident, the consequences, and what to do if you are in this situation.

New York Laws and Hit-and-Runs

A cop's motorcycle parked behind a vehicle that is being towed away

In the state of New York, you must provide your license and insurance information to the persons involved in the accident if there is property damage or personal injury to either party. Even if there is no visible personal injury or property damage in the initial accident, exchanging contact information can come in handy if issues arise a few days after the accident. New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (VLT) 600(1)(a) regards property damage while VTL 600(2)(a) involves personal injury, not including animals. Personal injury from accidents should be reported to the police as well.

Consequences of Leaving a Hit-and-Run

If you leave the scene of a car accident before exchanging license and insurance information, you can be subjected to fines, license revocation, or even jail. According to New York law, the penalties depend per VTL 600(1)(a) or VTL (600)(2)(a). For property damage, a fine up to $250 dollars can be implemented as well as points off of your license. For injury, a fine of $250 to $1,000 can be implemented as well as jail time depending on your criminal record history. Charges could also occur if the person with the sustained injury has delayed medical attention or dies.

What To Do

If you get into a car accident, it’s important to remain calm. Chances are the others involved are just as anxious as you are and want to resolve the issue as efficiently as possible. Check to see if you are injured before stepping out of the car. Are you bleeding? Does your head or neck ache? If you feel okay, step out of the car to inspect any damage and then exchange information with the others involved. If necessary, seek legal help to evaluate any damages.

If you have recently experienced a hit-and-run, Leav & Steinberg LLP wants to help you. At Leav & Steinberg, we’ve obtained sizable settlements on behalf of injured clients in a wide variety of cases in the Tri-state area. To request a free consultation with an attorney, contact us online or call 212-766-5222.

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