Website Image Skip to Content

Staten Island Hit and Run Accident Lawyer

Were You Injured in an Accident Involving a Driver Who Drove Away? Contact our Staten Island Hit and Run Accident Lawyer for Help 

Although all motor vehicle accidents can be damaging and frustrating, a hit and run accident ranks as one of the most frustrating types of crashes. This is particularly true when you are seriously injured but unable to describe the vehicle that hit you. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are also a lot more common than most people may believe. According to statistics, each year in the United States there are over 737,000 traffic accidents involving hit and runs that result in over 2,000 wrongful deaths. Sadly, these statistics are increasing, with an astounding 26% increase in fatal hit and run accidents over recent years. This includes in Staten Island and the surrounding boroughs of New York City, where 38% of NYC accidents involved a fatality or injury and hit and run accidents were a large part of that. Whether you were in another vehicle, on a bicycle, or in a crosswalk, your rights under New York law may allow you to recover compensation for conscious pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. A Staten Island hit and run accident lawyer may be able to help you recover that compensation if a driver who caused your motor vehicle accident left the scene.

Here at the O’Connor Law Firm, our compassionate and experienced legal team offers victims and their families free consultations and case evaluations. This means that victims can explain what happened, hear their options, and ask questions without having to make any upfront payment. Although there is also no obligation to sign up, the people who do retain our Staten Island hit and run accident lawyer will pay no upfront legal costs or expenses of litigation. Rather, our bodily injury law firm pays those expenses and is only reimbursed after we recover compensation for you and your family. The same is true of our legal fees, which are only paid from a percentage of the total recovery. To learn more about how the Staten Island hit and run accident lawyer at the O’Connor Law Firm can help you and your family, contact our personal injury law firm today.


What is a Hit and Run Accident in New York?

As the name implies, a hit and run accident involves any type of motor vehicle accident where a driver leaves the scene. This is illegal under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 600, which specifically requires drivers to remain at the scene when there is either property damage or personal injuries. Typically, it is the at-fault driver who leaves the scene, leaving the injured party there. Anyone could be involved in a hit and run accident, and it could happen at any time of day. It also includes all types of motor vehicle crashes including car accidents and trucking wrecks, as well as collisions involving motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

It is further important to realize that a hit and run accident could also occur when a driver gives incomplete information or the wrong information to the victim. Sometimes this is done to deceive the victim to get away – especially after seeing the damage or injuries that a victim may have sustained in a crash. Other times it could be to hide the fact that a driver does not have proper insurance, registration, or a related issue. Thus, not only is this a traffic offense but it could become a criminal offense as well.


No Excuse for a Hit and Run

Sometimes a driver may claim that leaving the scene of an accident was inadvertent. This includes where another driver does not realize that he or she caused an accident. Although this sounds implausible, drivers of large commercial vehicles, construction vehicles, double tandem trailers, and other big vehicles may genuinely not realize that this sideswiped or struck another vehicle. This is also true when motorcyclists or bicyclists are hit by a car.

However, this does not depreciate the seriousness of leaving the scene – especially when innocent people are wrongfully injured. It is not an excuse for drivers to claim that they did not know that they hit someone. Victims and their families still have a right to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other conscious pain and suffering.


Types of Hit and Run Accidents

There are many different types of hit and run accidents, each with unique issues related to the happening of the accident, insurance, and proving a case. It is important to be aware of these types of cases, particularly to protect your rights to compensation under New York law. Some of the most common types of hit and run accidents include the following:


Hit and Run Crashes Involving Other Cars

Since passenger vehicles are the most common vehicle on the roads, this is also the most common type of hit and run crash. There are many reasons why this type of crash could occur, including due to drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving, or otherwise negligent conduct. Victims and their families will need to rely on their own UM/UIM if they cannot identify the other driver, which can be tricky if the other passenger vehicle is a common color or make and model.


18-Wheeler Collisions

When a hit and run accident involves an 18-wheeler, it can be particularly difficult because identifying the truck may be hard if the trailer is unbranded and a generic white. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that tractor trailers also result in serious damage and injuries. As a result, victims who are injured by a truck driver leaving the scene often have a harder time identifying a party.


Motorcyclists Injured by a Hit and Run

Another common type of hit and run accident is one involving a motorcyclist. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are usually seriously injured in crashes. Many types of collisions with motorcyclists occur from behind or sideswipe, preventing the rider from seeing the defendant. This makes it harder to identify the hit and run driver in order to seek compensation. But not all drivers leaving the scene may do so intentionally, as some drivers causing motorcycle collisions may not even realize they hit a rider.


Pedestrian Knockdowns

Far too many hit and run accidents involved pedestrians. This is often because a driver may get scared and hesitate, especially if a pedestrian appears to have been seriously injured. Other times drivers see that it is too easy to flee the scene as the pedestrian is unlikely to be able to catch up to them. Many hit and run accidents involving pedestrian knockdowns result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries.


Bicycle Crashes Caused by a Hit and Run Driver

Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to falling victim to a hit and run accident in Staten Island or the greater New York City area. That’s because a driver who accidently clipped a bicyclist may find it too easy to keep driving away. Sometimes that is because a driver does not even realize he or she has hit a bicyclist, but other times it is because a driver sees the aftermath of the bicycle crash and flees to avoid responsibility.


What Makes Hit and Run Accidents Different?

 Generally, most motor vehicle collisions involve an exchange of information between the parties. However, hit and run accidents are different because there must be an initial investigation into the identity of the fleeing driver. This usually involves law enforcement, who may conduct a criminal investigation. But other times it may be up to the victim’s personal injury lawyer to review surveillance video footage, question witnesses, and gather other information to reveal the identity of a defendant. Sometimes this may even require making FOIL requests to government offices or agencies, including to check for traffic cameras that may depict a vehicle matching the description of the hit and run vehicle. Other times a private investigator may be required to assist with the investigation.

In addition to these factors, hit and run accidents also require a greater understanding of auto insurance. That’s because victims may need to rely on their uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage for compensation when a hit and run driver cannot be identified. Usually the carrier’s adjuster or assigned lawyer will conduct their own investigation, or may even challenge the adequacy of your efforts to identify the defendant.

Unfortunately, this may lead to a special type of lawsuit known as a declarative judgment action in order to establish your rights to compensation. This is often called a “case within a case” because a victim will need to establish both their negligence case (the hit and run accident) as well as their entitlement to compensation under their insurance policy (the declarative judgment part). As such, it is imperative that victims and their families retain an experienced Staten Island hit and run accident lawyer to represent them such as ours at the O’Connor Law Firm.


Other Driver Left the Scene? Our Staten Island Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Although leaving the scene of an accident is illegal under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, there are still far too many hit and run accidents in New York City, Long Island, northern New Jersey, and the surrounding area. If you or a loved one were seriously injured by a motorist who left the scene of your accident, learn more about how the O’Connor Law Firm can help you and your family recover compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and other damages associated with your accident. There are no upfront or hidden fees to begin working with our personal injury law firm and our Staten Island hit and run accident lawyer.

To schedule your FREE consultation and case evaluation, call by dialing (718)-948-3500 or by sending us an email through our “Contact Us” box available here.