What to Do When You Are Involved in a Maryland Hit and Run

Written by Jobeth Bowers. Posted in .

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.

What is a Hit-and-Run?

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.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in Maryland

In the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident, do your best to stay calm and take the following steps.

  • Seek emergency medical attention for yourself or anyone else suffering a potential injury. If you do not believe you are an injured person, still seek an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to be sure. In many cases, injury symptoms do not appear for hours or even days after the crash.
  • Call law enforcement as soon as you are able, and ask them to send a police officer to investigate and to create a written report.
  • Take photos of the crash scene, including traffic signs or lights, the damage to your vehicle, and any signs of injury.
  • Identify any eyewitnesses and request their contact information.
  • Try to note details about the driver and vehicle, including the make, model, color, and license plate number.
  • Report the accident to your own insurance company.
  • Seek legal advice from a Maryland hit-and-run attorney.

What to Do If Someone Hit Your Parked Car in Maryland

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.

  • Search for a note left behind by the person who hit your parked car. If found, look for shared contact and insurance information.
  • Take photos of the damage to your vehicle as well as the scene of the crash from every angle possible.
  • Notify law enforcement and file a report, as this can be considered a hit-and-run accident.
  • Contact the insurance company that holds your auto policy and report the accident, informing them of a police report and any note left behind.

What NOT to Do After a Hit-and-Run in Maryland

man driving his car yelling out the window

After a hit-and-run accident, you will need to avoid taking certain actions, including the following.

Chase the Fleeing Driver in the Other Vehicle

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.

Delay in Contacting Law Enforcement and Your Insurance Company

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.

Admit Any Fault in the Accident

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.

Get Your Damaged Vehicle Repaired Immediately

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.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit-and-Run in Maryland?

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:

  • Law enforcement professionals
  • Your personal insurance agency
  • The Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA), along with a written statement of the accident along with your insurance policy details

It is also recommended that you contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyer as soon as possible for legal advice and guidance.

How Can You Prove a Hit-and-Run Occurred?

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.

How Can the Hit-and-Run Driver Be Found?

The types of evidence that can be used to track down the hit-and-run driver include:

Eyewitness Statements

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.

Camera Footage

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.

Damages to Your Vehicle

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.

Does Maryland Car Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Damage?

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.

How to Recover Damages After a Hit-and-Run in Maryland

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:

  • Filing a first-party claim through your insurance policy’s UM/UIM coverage and PIP (personal injury protection)
  • Filing a claim through your personal health insurance to recover medical bills
man calling emergency services after an auto accident

How Can a Maryland Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Help?

Hiring a Maryland hit-and-run accident lawyer can be helpful for a number of reasons. They can:

  • Explain your legal rights
  • Compile evidence, including the police report and medical records
  • Speak with eyewitnesses
  • Follow up with law enforcement on efforts to identify the hit-and-run driver
  • Thoroughly investigate any and all aspects of potential compensation
  • Negotiate with one or more insurance companies to reach a settlement
  • Obtain rightful compensation from your own personal auto insurance policy
  • Pursue a lawsuit against the hit-and-run driver

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.

We Will Stay By Your Side

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.

Jobeth Bowers

Written By Jobeth Bowers

Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law

Schedule a Free Consultation with Jobeth Bowers

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