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What to do if you are a victim in a hit-and-run

A hit-and-run is an accident in which a pedestrian is struck by an automobile and the driver fails to stop. Hit-and-runs are criminal offenses and they also give rise to civil liability. Normally, you would rely on the police to locate and arrest the suspect. Once you identify the person that struck you, you can file a lawsuit against them to recover your damages. However, if the police are unable to locate the driver then you may file a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation. The MVAIC was created as a payer of last resort for victims of hit and runs.

To qualify for recovery from MVAIC you must have been involved in an accident in New York State. You must have been a resident of New York State at the time the accident occurred. You cannot recover under any other automobile insurance, such as your own or the insurance of the driver that struck you. This means that you are not eligible to recover from a relative or family's car insurance. You cannot own the uninsured vehicle that caused the accident. For example, if a friend borrowed your car and struck you, then you cannot go to the MVAIC. This exclusion also applies if you were the spouse of the owner of the uninsured vehicle.

In addition to the above requirements, you must have also filed a report with the police within 24 hours of the occurrence of the accident. So it is important that if you are involved in a hit-and-run that you file a report with the police as soon as possible. Not only to give them a chance to catch the person that harmed you but also to secure your rights to recover from the MVAIC. Finally, you must also submit paperwork to the MVAIC within 90 days if it was a hit-and-run or within 180 days if it was an unidentified vehicle.

The MVAIC is a payer of last resort; it exists for people that have no other options. Speak to an attorney regarding your qualifications to recover from MVAIC. Just because you can't find the person that harmed you does not mean that you are stuck with the medical bills.

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