A hit-and-run claim is unlikely to raise your insurance. However, multiple accidents in a few years or collisions where you were at fault certainly could. New York law requires drivers to carry no-fault auto insurance policies to cover most injuries. If you suffered serious injuries or need to recover compensation for property damage, these cases require showing fault and pursuing compensation from the driver who caused the crash.
If a driver leaves the scene, this could mean filing a claim based on your own uninsured motorist coverage. The best way to understand your options and the effect on your car accident case is to discuss your options with a lawyer familiar with these situations.
- In What Ways Does New York Law Regulate Rate Increases?
- There Are Few Hard and Fast Rules About Insurance Hikes
- How Car Accident Claims Work Under NY Insurance Laws
- Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer to Handle My Hit & Run Claim?
- Discuss Your Next Steps With Our Car Accident Team
In What Ways Does New York Law Regulate Rate Increases?
Under NY Insurance Law § 2335, there are rules about when an insurance company can increase premiums. While this does not strictly rule out an increase following a hit and run, it does prevent increases based on many fender benders—those with less than $2,000 in damage—and some other circumstances.
When a crash involves more significant property damage or personal injuries, the insurance carrier is free to increase rates under most circumstances. Whether the company will and by how much depends on the company, the policy, and the unique case facts.
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There Are Few Hard and Fast Rules About Insurance Hikes
Generally, if your car was in a hit-and-run accident and you reported it quickly and appropriately, the insurance company is unlikely to increase your premiums. The same is true if someone else hits your parked car in a parking lot, as long as you are legally parked.
You might not see a price increase if the other driver received a traffic ticket after a crash and you did not. This could be true even in no-fault accident claims since the insurer will likely request and review the police report filed about the crash.
However, if you have damage or injuries in more than one incident within a few years of one another, you could face a significant increase in premiums. This is true even if your repair costs are low or you were not cited in any of the accident investigations.
How Car Accident Claims Work Under NY Insurance Laws
New York car insurance laws require all drivers to have no-fault insurance, known as a personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This policy pays for a person’s basic losses after a crash, including medical bills and lost wages as deemed necessary or to the policy maximum.
Victims seek fault-based compensation for property damages, serious injuries, and expenses that exceed their PIP coverage. If your injuries are serious, as defined by law, or your expenses exceed your policy maximum, a lawsuit against the at-fault driver is possible. You must show who caused the crash and the damages the collision caused, supported by evidence and a compelling case.
While New York law defines “serious” injuries in the applicable statute, the application of that law to the specific facts of a given case is left to a judge or jury for ultimate determination if a case cannot settle and must go through a trial.
Most cases will settle and will not need to go all the way through a trial before a judge and jury, but every case should be processed in such a manner that if it will eventually need to be litigated and brought to trial, it has been optimally prepared for that possibility.
Of course, none of this is possible unless you know the identity of the hit-and-run driver. Therefore, it is important to understand your options when the at-fault driver is unknown, generally including your PIP or uninsured motorist policies. Under this circumstance (i.e., the identity of the driver and owner of the hit-and-run vehicle are unknown), our insurance carrier will expect you to show the other driver’s fault to recover a payout through your uninsured motorist policy.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer to Handle My Hit & Run Claim?
Just like in a fault-based case against an at-fault driver, an uninsured motorist claim allows injured parties to recover several types of damages unavailable through your PIP coverage. This includes:
- Additional current medical care costs
- Future treatment and care needs
- Current and future income losses
- Reduced ability to work and earn the same income as before
- Related expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Property damages
To recover appropriate compensation in your case based on the facts and your documented expenses and losses, you must have a compelling case to support your allegations that another driver caused the crash, your injuries, and the resulting damages. Developing this case on your own is difficult, especially if you have serious injuries and are still undergoing rehabilitation.
Car accident lawyers generally provide free initial case consultations for those hurt in these crashes. They will assess your options for compensation based on the case facts. If you decide to work with the attorney, you should expect them to:
- Keep you updated on your case
- Identify the liable party or parties
- Communicate with the insurance carriers and all other parties for you
- Gather evidence and build a case
- Determine a value for your case
- Fight relentlessly to win the best possible case outcome for you
Showing fault and documenting the recoverable damages in a case is not always easy. It requires a time-consuming investigation, surveying the scene, obtaining official documents, interviewing witnesses, gathering paperwork, and sometimes reconstructing an accident.
Your attorney likely works with expert witnesses such as medical experts, vocational rehabilitation specialists, life care planners, and economists to understand injuries and future care needs, a key part of ensuring you seek appropriate compensation based on your case facts.
Managing this process on your own will most likely be frustrating and stressful. Working with a lawyer from our firm will allow you to focus on healing while they navigate the process for you.
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Discuss Your Next Steps With Our Car Accident Team
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. offers complimentary initial consultations for crash victims. We meet people on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area for these consultations. Our multilingual staff will assist you in Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, or Kannada. Let us know what you need. We are here for you.
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