Hit and Run Accidents
As the name suggests, a hit and run car accident occurs when one of the motorists involved in a car accident flees the scene before police or an ambulance arrives. In some cases, a driver may be completely unaware that he or she caused an accident after unintentionally cutting off another driver, causing that car to crash into another vehicle.
More commonly, however, a hit and run accident involves a driver fleeing the scene after hitting another driver and panicking. Not only is this an extremely irresponsible decision, but it can also endanger the lives of the other motorists if the accident caused serious injuries.
One of the most frustrating aspects of a hit and run accident is that you cannot exchange insurance information with the driver who hit you. If you were lucky enough to see the other driver’s license plate and write it down before he or she sped away, the police may be able to track the person down. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
There are things you can do, however, both before and after you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, to ensure that your rights are protected. An experienced car accident lawyer can explain your options and help you secure the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take
The first thing you should do if you are the victim of a hit and run accident is to call 911 and notify the police about the wreck and that the other driver left the scene. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, so when police arrive, they will fill out a report and initiate a criminal investigation.
It is also important to document the scene by taking pictures and speaking to witnesses if you are physically able. If you have been injured, seek immediate medical treatment, particularly if you suffered from any head or neck injuries as they may be more serious than they appear.
Since you cannot control how other people drive, or how they will react if they were responsible for causing an accident, it is in your best interest to carry both personal injury protection (PIP) and underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM/IUM) coverage. This enables you to file a claim with your insurance company if you are hit by an uninsured driver.
In other words, your insurance company will protect you by acting as the other driver’s insurer. Unfortunately, many drivers only carry the minimum amount of UM/UIM coverage, which is $30,000 in damages per person with a cap of $60,000 per accident. When you consider the fact that the medical costs associated with a serious car accident-related injury can easily exceed that amount, drivers should consider purchasing additional UM/UIM coverage.
PIP coverage is another relatively inexpensive coverage option available which provides benefits for medical bills and other injury-related expenses, as well as up to 85 percent of lost wages. Because PIP coverage is not based on fault, you will be covered for any out-of-pocket costs related to the accident, regardless of who is responsible for the crash.
The main difference between PIP coverage and UM/UIM coverage is that PIP does not cover any damage to your vehicle or property. It only covers medical costs and lost wages.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Hit and Run Victims
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact a Baltimore car accident lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. If the other driver involved engaged in unsafe driving behavior or failed to maintain their vehicle, we will hold them responsible for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.