On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Car Accidents on Friday, July 29, 2016.
Every time any of us gets behind the wheel of a car, we have an obligation to drive safely and obey the rules of the road. This means being properly licensed and insured, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and making sure we are not impaired by alcohol, distraction or fatigue.
Unfortunately, many people fail to take this obligation seriously and wind up putting the lives and safety of others in danger. To make matters worse, some of these reckless, negligent drivers go on to try and escape liability by fleeing the scene of an accident they have caused.
In New York, drivers are expected to stop after an accident and exchange contact information, call police if there is significant damage and call for emergency help if someone is injured.
However, when a driver causes an accident while doing something illegal, he or she might decide not to stop in order to try and avoid getting into trouble. In many cases, hit-and-run drivers are unlicensed, drunk or they might even have a warrant out for their arrest. These drivers would rather leave injured people without help than stop and potentially get in trouble. But there are ways to identify a hit-and-run driver.
Tracking down a hit-and-run driver can involve resources like surveillance camera footage in the area, analysis of auto part debris on the scene and witness statements. This and other information gathered during an investigation can lead authorities directly to a driver who fled the scene in the hopes of escaping liability.
Once identified, hit-and-run drivers can and do face serious penalties. Depending on the damage, a driver can be charged with anything from a traffic infraction to a felony; fines can be assessed; jail time could even be ordered.
Victims and their families can also take action to hold these drivers accountable by filing a civil claim seeking compensation for damages. These civil penalties can strengthen the message that people who have been identified as hit-and-run drivers can and will be held accountable for their actions.
If you have questions about your legal options and rights after a hit-and-run accident, you would be wise to discuss them with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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