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You are driving your car when someone runs into you, causing damage to your car or even injuring you. They hesitate for a moment, then speed away, leaving you with no information.
You’ve just been the victim of a hit and run crash, and it happens more often than you may think.
Maryland has some of the toughest hit and run laws in the country. Drivers who are involved in an accident, regardless of how minor it might be, should never leave the scene until police arrive. Leaving could get you charged with a hit and run, then you would be subject to the harsh penalties that the state imposes.
A hit and run accident occurs when a driver causes a crash, then does not stop at the scene of the accident. More specifically, it is an accident if a driver causes a crash that results in bodily injury or property damage.
It’s a good rule of thumb to call the police regardless of whether or not there’s damage to the vehicle and/or you or the other person is or isn’t hurt.
There are any number of reasons why a driver will flee the scene after an accident:
Maryland has very stringent laws regarding what is required of drivers in the event of an accident and regarding hit and runs.
When an accident involves bodily injury to another person or there is a fatality, the driver is required to stop and remain at the scene of the accident. They also must remain at the scene if there is damage to unattended property or a vehicle – even if no one is injured.
Any driver who is involved in an accident that has resulted in a fatality or bodily injury to another person must call 9-1-1. They must also render reasonable assistance to those who are injured.
Of course, a driver involved in an accident is required by law to provide specific personal information to a police officer or injured person such as their driver’s license. If they damage property or a vehicle that is unattended, they must try to find the owner or leave a note containing their contact information. In all cases, they must provide or leave appropriate insurance information.
The penalties for hit and run in Maryland include:
A study conducted by AAA ranked Maryland as 19th in the nation for hit and run accidents. Other states like New Mexico (number 1), Louisiana (number 2), or Florida (number 3) rank far worse. An average of 682,000 hit and run crashes occur each year.
The study also found that there were 2,049 hit and run fatalities across the nation in 2016. Bicyclists and pedestrians made up around 65 percent of those deaths.
If you are involved in a hit and run accident, compensation may be difficult to acquire. If the police are able to locate the driver who fled, you can go after their insurance company or even the driver. If that is not an option, you may be able to go through your own insurance company to get the help you need.
If you have been in a hit and run accident, the first thing you need to do is call 9-1-1. The sooner the police can begin their investigation, the better chances they have of locating the driver and bringing that person to justice. That begins as soon as you make the call to report it.
As soon after the accident as possible, write down as many details as you can remember regarding the vehicle that struck you, and the driver. The more identifying details you can provide, the more you help the police find the hit and run driver. Note things like the make and model of the car, the color, the license plate number if you were able to see it, and what the driver looked like (if you got a good look at them). Write down the details as soon after the accident as possible, even before talking to anyone. You don’t want anything to affect or influence your own memory of the accident.
Your next step is to call a hit and run accident attorney. Call Duboff & Associates and get the help you need. We’ll walk you through the entire process and help you get compensation for your hit and run accident. Let us focus on your accident; you focus on your recovery.