Car accidents are serious events that can cause significant injuries and property damage. When you are involved in one, you deserve justice, but what happens when the other driver flees the scene? At Bowers Law, we understand just how scary a hit-and-run accident is and how confusing the process can be to victims. Learn what to do after another vehicle hits you and flees, how to recover the compensation you deserve, and how a Maryland auto accident attorney with the law firm of Bowers Law can help you through the entire process. You do not have to face it alone.
In the state of Maryland, any driver who is involved in a vehicle accident is required to remain at the accident scene. When a driver chooses to leave the scene of the accident, it is referred to as a hit-and-run and brings with it specific Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) sanctions as well as possible criminal penalties. These penalties include points against one’s driver’s license, fines, and jail time or prison sentencing. The level of penalties depends on the circumstances of the accident, and those that involve a serious injury or death will be considerably more.
A driver can have different reasons for fleeing the scene of an accident. The most common ones include lack of a valid driver’s license, being uninsured, and fear of a DUI charge. In addition to facing criminal hit-and-run charges, the driver can also face a civil lawsuit if someone is injured in the accident.
In the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident, do your best to stay calm and take the following steps.
The steps to take if someone hits your parked car will mostly be the same, but since you were not in the vehicle at the time of the crash, medical attention is not required. Instead, follow these steps.
After a hit-and-run accident, you will need to avoid taking certain actions, including the following.
By leaving the accident scene, you miss out on the opportunity to obtain eyewitness contact information and the ability to take photos of the area. Law enforcement may question your decision to leave, and you can be at risk for another accident or negative encounter with the other driver.
By not reporting the accident as quickly as possible, doubt can arise as to who is at fault and can put you at risk of not receiving any compensation from the insurance company.
Following an accident, you may not be aware of the circumstances that led to the accident and may feel responsible in some way. However, avoid admitting any fault when reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company. The details of the crash will be discerned based on the evidence surrounding the accident scene and the fleeing driver. Maryland is a contributory negligence state, which means that if you are found to be at least partially at fault for the accident, you cannot recover compensation for damages.
If you make repairs, you will be unable to show your damages to the insurance adjuster and also prevent the creation of an estimate to include in your claim.
Following a car accident, especially when that accident results in injuries, time can become muddy, and you may be busy with medical care for yourself or a loved one. Even when no bodily injury occurs, you must report all hit-and-run accidents in Maryland, and you only have 15 days to do so.
You will need to contact the following to report the accident:
It is also recommended that you contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyer as soon as possible for legal advice and guidance.
A Maryland hit-and-run accident can leave you unsure of the next steps for proving the crash was caused by another who then fled the scene. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you will need evidence, including photos, medical records of your injuries, a copy of the filed police report, and eyewitness statements.
When the fleeing driver cannot be identified and located, you will have limited recourse for obtaining compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and property repairs. Your only option in this situation is to seek compensation through your own insurance agency, and all of this evidence will be necessary to prove the hit-and-run occurred.
The types of evidence that can be used to track down the hit-and-run driver include:
An eyewitness to the accident may be able to identify the type of vehicle involved, what the driver looked like, and any other potential details (such as decals or specialty tags on the vehicle). These should be included in the police report.
Cities and towns often have cameras at intersections and on different roadways, and these can record a hit-and-run accident. Businesses near the accident scene may also have their own cameras in place. Another source of videos may be from witnesses who used their cell phone cameras to document the occurrence. These videos can serve as valuable evidence in your case and help law enforcement personnel locate the hit-and-run driver.
The damages to your vehicle can hold insightful clues about the car that hit you. For example, paint can be left behind and stuck to your vehicle. Professionals can analyze this paint and narrow down the vehicle possibilities of the hit-and-run driver.
Maryland car accident attorneys can help in the discovery of the hit-and-run driver by speaking with police and obtaining a copy of the accident report, as well as speaking with eyewitnesses. Your hit-and-run lawyer can also contact government officials and private business owners for camera footage near where the car accident occurred.
Your Maryland car insurance policy covers hit-and-run damage to your vehicle. Essentially, you are entitled to compensatory damages in a hit-and-run insurance claim if it is clear that you would have had a viable claim against the other driver if that driver had been located. The total damages will be the same amount as you would recover in a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
It is essential to understand how your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage applies in Maryland. To help you with this, consult with a knowledgeable car accident attorney so that you get what you rightfully deserve. Insurance adjusters often use specific tactics to limit or deny insurance claims, and knowing your legal rights ahead of time will be beneficial.
To recover damages when a hit-and-run driver is found, your insurance company can work with that driver’s insurance company to obtain damages on your behalf. If, for any reason, your claim is delayed, denied, or limited, contact an attorney to help wade through the reasons and fight for what you deserve. If the fleeing driver is found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident in which they were at fault, you may also have grounds for filing a civil lawsuit in order to obtain compensation.
To recover damages when a hit-and-run driver is not located or is found to be an uninsured motorist, options for obtaining damages include:
Hiring a Maryland hit-and-run accident lawyer can be helpful for a number of reasons. They can:
Bowers Law has already handled numerous hit-and-run cases and reached successful resolutions. Our office will thoroughly investigate all aspects of potential compensation in your hit-and-run accident case.
Being involved in a sudden hit-and-run accident may leave you confused and unsure of how to proceed in filing a claim and obtaining the compensation you need and deserve. The experienced hit-and-run Maryland attorneys with Bowers Law can help you and your loved ones through this time and will stay by your side until a fair solution can be reached. Call or text our law office today at 667-220-6500 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.