Jill Kolodner | November 4, 2022 | Car Accidents
Hit-and-runs are illegal in Maryland. Yet, according to statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 2,500 hit-and-run fatalities across the country in 2020, the latest year from which full data are available. In addition, more than 20% of pedestrian and bicycle accident fatalities were hit and runs that year.
Unfortunately, there were 26% more hit-and-run fatalities in the United States in 2020 than in the previous year. Though COVID-19 certainly impacts this figure, the trend is alarming nonetheless. With how prevalent hit-and-run accidents currently are, you may be wondering what your options are as far as receiving compensation and whether a lawyer can help.
What Is the Difference Between a Hit-and-Run Accident and Other Types of Accidents?
The major difference between a hit-and-run accident and other car accidents is that, in a hit-and-run accident, it is not clear who the at-fault driver is. In other car accidents, drivers will exchange names and other information at the scene.
A hit-and-run accident makes this exchange impossible because a driver has left the scene. In some cases, the driver who stays on the scene is able to get the license plate information from the driver fleeing the scene; but this is not something to count on.
Can I File an Insurance Claim for a Hit-and-Run Accident with My Insurance Provider?
The short answer is yes. If you have coverage under your insurance policy for uninsured motorist collisions, your insurance is obligated to cover the damages to your vehicle and any injuries you sustained from the hit-and-run accident. The law assumes that the driver who fled the scene and cannot be found is deemed as not having insurance.
If you have this coverage, your insurance claim will be just as valid as it would be in another type of car accident. That is one reason why purchasing this coverage is generally recommended if you are able to.
Can I Sue the Driver Who Flees If They Are Caught?
Yes – in most cases. Maryland is an at-fault state when it comes to car accidents, which means that you can generally file a lawsuit to pursue compensation from the driver who caused the crash.
However, contributory negligence rules are especially strict in Maryland. If you, as the accident victim, are found to be even slightly at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to receive compensation from the at-fault party, even if they are located.
What Damages Am I Entitled to with a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Personal property damages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
This list does not fully encompass what you may be owed in a hit-and-run accident. That is why it is important for you to seek legal advice from a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney. Whether the driver is found or not, you may need assistance handling your claim against your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.