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Detailing the duty to remain at the scene of an accident

Many in Mineola may not even consider leaving the scene of accident in which injuries are involved. Yet what about those single-car crashes that only result in property damage? The temptation may be there (especially in accidents where there were no witnesses and that do not render vehicles inoperable) to simply drive away and leave the property owner to guess as to what caused the damage. Given that no one else was hurt by a driver's actions in such cases, he or she may not classify leaving the scene as a hit-and-run. Unfortunately, that is not how the law sees it. 

Section 600.1 of the New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law states that when one is involved in a motor vehicle accident that involves damage to property, he or she must show his or her driver's license and insurance verification card to the property owner before leaving. On top of that, he or she must also provide the property owner with the following information: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Insurance carrier name 
  • Insurance policy number and effective dates

If the property owner cannot be found, the driver must give the aforementioned information to a law enforcement officer or officials at the nearest police station as soon as possible. A failure to follow these regulations is considered to be a traffic infraction and could result in a 15-day imprisonment and/or a $250 fine. 

Authorities treat cases of leaving the scene of an accident very seriously due to the potential expenses such incidents leave property owners having to deal with. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association reports that the average auto liability claim for property damage is $3,231. Drivers might only end up feeling that extra expense in an increase in their insurance rates, which most would agree is preferable to facing the penalties for leaving the scene. 

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