Car accidents can cause serious injuries or death. If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, it is important to ensure your safety, and then check to see if others involved in the collision are ok.
In the state of Maryland, a driver who is involved in a car accident must stay at the scene. If you leave the site of the accident shortly after the collision occurred, you will face penalties, especially if someone was injured or killed. Maryland has a high rate of uninsured drivers which is believed to increase the percentage of hit-and-run cases in Maryland.
Drivers who are uninsured and involved in a car accident may flee the scene as they worry that they could be caught as uninsured drivers. It is always important to stay at the scene of the crash. Being a hit-and-run driver calls for far worse offenses than being an uninsured driver. Contact our Maryland personal injury attorneys today.
Steps to Take Following a Hit and Run Case in Maryland:
There are a few basic steps you should take if you or a loved one are involved in a hit-and-run case in Maryland.
If you or a passenger in the vehicle are injured as a result of the collision, call 911 immediately. Your safety is extremely important and should be the first thing on your mind after a collision. Visit your doctor if you believe you have suffered a head or neck injury due to the impact of the crash. It is crucial that you keep all medical records and doctor visits on file if you choose to bring the documents to court in hopes of receiving compensation.
Contacting the police and giving a statement should be your next step. Tell them when and where the accident occurred, the make and model of the vehicle that took off after the collision, and collect a copy of the official police report.
Witness information is also crucial when you testify in court. Whether you sustained injuries from the collision or not, having witnesses at the scene can prove that the hit and run occurred and allow for a criminal investigation.
Photographing the scene after the accident is crucial for providing evidence in court. Take pictures of any damages and injuries sustained in the collision. You should also take pictures of the exact location of the vehicle when it was hit.
Next, you should report the hit and run to your insurance company. You should also request confirmation of your current insurance coverage. You should never give your insurance company a written or recorded statement. Our Baltimore car accident attorneys are here to help.
Consequences of a Hit and Run Case in Maryland:
If you are caught participating in a hit-and-run case in Maryland, you should expect up to five years of jail time and a fine of up to $5,000. If the accident results in a fatality, your jail time will increase significantly and fines will increase to $10,000.
Are There Defenses to a Hit and Run?
Hit and run drivers never want to be charged with a hit and run. The majority of hit-and-run drivers are uninsured, which can lead to legal complications and fines in the future. Oftentimes, the hit-and-run drivers will try to defend themself. One way the driver may try to defend him or herself is to say that they or were unaware that the accident occurred.
This seems unlikely that someone would be unaware of a car accident, but there may be times that the driver does not realize that he or she slightly bumped into another vehicle. Mistaken identity can also be a way of defense as eyewitnesses can be incorrect in determining who the driver was and details from the scene. Reach out to our Ocean City car accident lawyers today.
What if The Hit and Run Driver is Never Identified?
If the hit-and-run driver is never identified, you will not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the hit-and-run driver is never identified, you can still file a claim on your uninsured motorist policy, as long as there is a police report about the accident.
Will Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Maryland is an at-fault state for car accidents, which means that if you are liable for the collision, you are responsible for paying for damages sustained in the accident. Collision car insurance will cover damages that are required to be fixed for your vehicle. Sometimes, car insurance can help pay for any legal fees and fines that come with being involved in a hit-and-run accident in Maryland.
Maryland law helps victims of hit and run accidents by enabling them to recover for damages through automobile insurance coverage. If you have car insurance in Maryland, as the law stipulates, your insurance company protects you from paying if someone hits you and flees the scene.
It does this with uninsured motorist coverage. For all intents and purposes, the motorist who hit you may as well have not had insurance. Your insurance company will step in, in place of the motorist who left the scene. While this gives victims a means of recovering for damages, it, in essence, pits you against your own insurance company. Your insurance company will reimburse you for your medical bills and property damage expenses, but you still must prove that another driver negligently caused your accident and injuries.
You must have a viable claim against the responsible party for your insurance company to cover damages. Your insurance company can use the same range of possible defenses the at-fault party might have during negotiations, such as that you were partially responsible for the crash. To handle these negotiations and fight for the compensation you deserve, retain a lawyer to represent your interests.
Also, frequent instances of hit and runs are the result of the driver being uninsured or undersinsured, and your attorney will be an invaluable asset to help your case. A hit and run attorney can increase your chances of securing a settlement from your insurance company. An attorney will investigate your accident, obtain eyewitness statements, get expert key witnesses to testify on your behalf, and recreate the crash in front of a judge and jury, if necessary.