When you are injured as a result of a hit-and-run accident, it is extremely important that you take certain steps without delay. The first one is to contact the police immediately so that law enforcement officers can began investigating right away to identify the person involved. You should also reach out soon to retain an experienced New York hit-and-run accident attorney, who can represent you and help you with accomplishing everything needed to get the compensation to which you are entitled.
Sometimes, your hit-and-run accident case may involve pursuing more than one person or entity. For example, if police identify the driver and the owner of the vehicle involved in your accident, and they are two different people, the law may give you the opportunity to pursue both of them in your lawsuit. If law enforcement is unable to identify the driver or the vehicle involved, you may have a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with your own auto insurer.
An example of the first of these two scenarios was the case of a Buffalo-area accident involving a woman named Sheltrice. Sheltrice was driving when her vehicle was struck by another driver who did not stop at the scene. Eventually, the vehicle that struck Sheltrice in the hit-and-run accident was identified as one owned by a man named Darryl but allegedly driven by a woman named Jenny.
The injured woman sued both the driver and the vehicle owner. The vehicle’s owner, Darryl, attempted to get out of the case by arguing that he could not be liable because Jenny had used the vehicle without his permission. Fortunately for people injured in hit-and-run accidents, this argument is a difficult one to win. The law in New York strongly presumes that, if someone is driving your car, she is doing so with your explicit or implied consent and permission.
The law establishes a high hurdle for a vehicle owner to claim that a driver of his vehicle was operating it without his permission (and avoid liability for any accidents that person caused). The vehicle owner must give the court “substantial evidence” that the person driving his car really was using it without his permission. The owner’s testifying that the driver was using the vehicle without his permission is, by itself, not enough; the law requires more proof than that. In Sheltrice’s case, that was all Darryl had. Jenny had given a statement that she was not driving Darryl’s vehicle on the night of the accident and that she did not know Darryl, but that statement was not admissible as evidence at all. That meant that the only proof Darryl had was his own testimony, and that, according to the New York courts, is insufficient.
As a result, Sheltrice was entitled by the law to pursue her case against both Jenny, the driver, and Darryl, the vehicle owner.
The knowledgeable Queens hit-and-run accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been representing injured workers hurt on construction jobs for many years. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with determined advocacy and personalized attention. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
New York City Music Producer Paralyzed in Hit-and-Run Crash Wins Jury Verdict and $23M Damages Award, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 5, 2017
How are hit-and-run drivers identified?, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 16, 2016