Baltimore Hit-and-Run Attorney
We all have certain responsibilities as motorists. Chief among them is the duty to stay at the scene when an accident occurs. You expect the other driver involved in your accident to wait for the police to arrive, but there is always a chance they could flee. If that happens, you will need the services of a Baltimore hit-and-run lawyer.
Baltimore’s a big and bustling city, so the risk of getting involved in hit-and-run crashes should not be dismissed. You must be especially careful while driving on crowded roads such as I-95, I-895, and I-83. South Green St. and W Fayette St. intersection outside the University of Maryland Baltimore is another potential accident site. Move cautiously through that intersection to avoid getting T-boned by an inattentive driver.
Pedestrians can also be victims of hit-and-run accidents. Remember to look both ways before crossing S. Charles Street to reach Cross Street Market because a driver may be running a red light nearby.
The aftermath of a hit-and-run accident can leave victims injured and confused. Handle that chaotic situation the best way you can with the aid of an experienced lawyer.
Rise in Fatalities in Hit-and-Run Crashes
A disturbing trend related to hit-and-run accidents has emerged, and it relates specifically to fatalities.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, fatalities stemming from hit-and-run crashes reached 2,049 in 2016. To put that number into context, it is higher than any total the foundation has tallied since 2016. It also accounted for 5.5% of all traffic fatalities that year.
Unfortunately, it does not seem like that trend has slowed down in more recent years. More recent numbers provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that hit-and-run accidents remain as deadly as ever. The agency reports that fatalities in 2020 were up to 26% compared to 2019.
It probably will not surprise you to learn that pedestrian fatalities and deaths related to speeding and drunk driving were also up significantly from 2019 to 2020. Cyclist and motorcycle rider fatalities also trended up during that timeframe.
We cannot disregard the increased prevalence and deadliness of hit-and-run crashes. Lives are on the line here, and we must all do our part to prevent those tragic accidents.
Forcing responsibility on the motorists responsible for causing hit-and-run crashes is critical to getting these incidents under control. If you ever find yourself in an accident involving a driver who fled the scene, do your best to bring them to justice by working with the police and a Baltimore hit-and-run attorney. Let us know what happened, and we will help you manage that situation.
What Are Some Common Types of Hit-and-Runs, and Why Do Drivers Leave the Scene?
Hit-and-run accidents can be byproducts of bad luck, but that is not always the case. In many situations, hit-and-run accidents occur due in part to one driver’s negligence or malicious actions. They then compound that already harmful act with a similarly damaging decision in the form of fleeing the scene.
In this section of the article, we want to get into the reasons these accidents occur and what causes drivers to run. Read up on those matters so you can protect yourself better while navigating Baltimore’s busy roads.
Distracted driving is one of the key contributors to the rise of hit-and-run accidents. While there is never any excuse for distracted driving, it is not hard to see why these accidents happen from time to time. You can easily get distracted by your phone pushing a notification at the wrong time. Some motorists who eat breakfast while driving to the office are also more susceptible to hit-and-run accidents.
It is best to avoid driving if you know you are more likely to be distracted. Pull over to eat your meal or receive a call and return to the road afterward. Reaching your destination a bit later than you intended is not ideal, but it beats causing an accident.
Drivers who do not know what they are doing have a greater chance of being involved in hit-and-run accidents. That is the case with many intoxicated drivers. A drunk driver pulling out of a parking space may clip a nearby vehicle without realizing it. They are already miles away by the time the other vehicle’s owner sees what happened.
As frustrating as that scenario would be, it is still preferable to an intoxicated driver hitting another motorist on that road. Fatalities may emerge from an accident like that.
We all expect our fellow motorists to be considerate individuals, but that sadly does not reflect reality. Reckless drivers are all around us, and they cause trouble for everyone. They put themselves and other people at risk by speeding, tailgating, and engaging in other forms of dangerous driving behavior.
Do not let any reckless driver get away with their irresponsible actions. Contact a hit-and-run lawyer in Baltimore and make sure the driver who caused your action is held accountable for what happened.
Onset of Panic
Switching our focus now to why drivers run from the accidents they cause, one of the leading factors is undoubtedly the onset of panic. After realizing you hit another car, you may give in to panic and drive away. You may only understand the gravity of the situation after you have calmed down a little.
Panic is no excuse for committing a hit-and-run. Obey the law and stop your vehicle if you do not want your situation to get any worse.
Lack of Insurance
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, motorists caught without auto insurance may receive fines and lose their license plates. They may also become barred from registering any vehicles until they clear their insurance-related charges.
Those penalties can be quite difficult for many motorists to deal with. That is why some of them choose to run after causing an accident. Of course, their decision to run will only lead to more problems. Bring that negligent motorist to justice by partnering with a hit-and-run attorney in Baltimore.
Pre-Existing Legal Troubles
In the heat of the moment, some drivers responsible for hit-and-run accidents decide that they are already in too much trouble to stop and help. That may happen if the driver who caused your accident has existing legal troubles. They know that as soon as the police get to the scene, they will go to jail.
Instead of accepting their fate, they make one more bid for freedom. Their selfish act may ultimately land them in more trouble.
Belief They Can Escape Responsibility
Lastly, some drivers who cause hit-and-run accidents may flee the scene simply because they believe they can get away with it. If they hit a vehicle in a parking lot, they may think they can leave the scene without taking responsibility for their actions. They forget that security cameras monitor those establishments.
You owe it to your fellow motorist to stop if you hit their vehicle. Be a responsible member of society and fulfill your legal obligations.
How Do I Recover Compensation for Damages in a Baltimore Hit-and-Run?
Maryland is an at-fault state for personal injury cases, so car accident victims have the right to sue for damages. Although you have the right to sue for compensation, you may not be able to do so because the defendant’s identity and whereabouts are unknown.
So, how should you go about recovering compensation if you have an unknown assailant?
First, you need to get together with your Baltimore hit-and-run lawyer and try to track the other driver down. Ask your lawyer to gather evidence at the accident scene and tell the police what you know because any information can help bring your assailant to justice.
Ideally, the efforts to find your assailant will bear fruit, and you can recover damages from them. That would be the ideal scenario, but you cannot bank on it happening if the evidence is lacking in your case.
If the efforts to find the driver do not yield results, you should focus on securing some form of compensation first. Since the other driver and their insurer are not around to offer compensation, your best bet is to file a claim with your insurance provider. You can file either an uninsured motorist or personal injury protection (PIP) claim.
Compensation from Uninsured Motorist Claim
Uninsured motorist coverage could be a lifesaver if you are the victim in a hit-and-run accident. The policy can cover the medical expenses and repair bills you incurred due to the crash. Pursuing compensation through your insurer should be an option because uninsured motorist coverage is required in Maryland.
Compensation from PIP Claim
PIP insurance is not required in Maryland, but insurers must offer it. If you accepted their offer, you could use that policy to cover your medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the accident.
Obtaining compensation via a PIP claim is also easier because the party who caused the accident is not a point considered when granting payouts. The contents and timing of your filing are the only things that can jeopardize a PIP claim. Ensure the claim is correctly filed by coordinating with your Baltimore hit-and-run lawyer.
How to Make a Hit-and-Run Insurance Claim in Baltimore
The process of seeking hit-and-run compensation from your insurer works similarly to suing another driver. If you do not have a lawyer, you need to hire one and let them handle your uninsured motorist claim.
Your lawyer can start by gathering evidence to bolster your claim. Once they have collected enough evidence to prove the accident was not your fault, your lawyer can send the claim to your insurance provider.
Expect your insurer to get in touch after they receive your claim. They may reach out and ask questions about the accident as well as the specifics of your filing. It would be unwise to have those conversations by yourself. The best course of action for you in that situation would be to get a lawyer involved.
Your Baltimore hit-and-run lawyer can manage those conversations and negotiate the terms of a potential settlement. They will ensure that you receive a fair deal. Having a lawyer on your side also means you can take the case to court if your insurer refuses to make a fair offer.
How to Get Increased Coverage for Hit-and-Run Insurance Claims
Recouping compensation from your insurer via an uninsured motorist claim can yield a substantial return, but there are ways to increase your coverage. One option involves getting a policy with higher limits when you first purchase auto insurance. Your other option is to pay for enhanced underinsured motorist coverage.
Enhanced underinsured motorist coverage allows policyholders to obtain compensation that is not affected by the at-fault driver’s policy. Thanks to this coverage, you can combine the payout from your policy with the compensation provided by the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Is a Crime in Maryland
Maryland law requires motorists to remain at the scene following an accident.
According to Maryland Statute §20–102, all drivers involved in an accident that causes bodily injury must stop their vehicle as close as possible to the crash site without disrupting the flow of traffic. If you unwittingly drive away from the accident site, you must return to the scene and stay there. The same rules apply even if the accident only causes property damage.
The drivers involved in the accident are also bound by law to provide “reasonable assistance.” Reasonable assistance typically comes in the form of requesting emergency medical care. That may involve calling emergency responders or arranging the other party’s transportation to a nearby hospital.
You must also supply personal information to the other driver and the police officers responding to the accident. Tell them your name, address, contact details, vehicle registration number, and insurance information. Make sure you get the same pieces of information from the other driver.
Are There Ways to Find the Hit-and-Run Driver?
Even if you can recoup compensation from your insurer after a hit-and-run accident, you do not need to settle for that option immediately. You can still look for your assailant.
Ask your Baltimore hit-and-run lawyer to contact the police and any known witnesses. Through those conversations, your lawyer can pick up valuable pieces of evidence that may point them in the direction of the person who caused your accident.
Aside from speaking to police officers and witnesses, your lawyer can also check in with the owners of establishments near the accident site. They may provide clues about the accident that no one has gathered yet.
Do not overlook additional resources, including social media platforms and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Look through social media platforms in search of local posts that may be relevant to your case. If you can obtain a critical piece of information, such as the other driver’s plate number, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration can help you identify the vehicle’s owner.
Traffic Camera Footage and Maryland Auto Insurance
We mentioned in the previous section that your lawyer can speak to owners of establishments near the accident site to collect evidence. That is indeed the case, and the evidence they can obtain is video footage.
Their security cameras may have recorded footage of your accident. Apart from definitively proving that the accident was not your fault, the video footage could also provide clues about the identity of your assailant. Those security cameras can offer solid evidence even if they are not of the highest quality. Make sure you secure those videos before they are erased.
You can also stay out of a precarious financial situation brought about by a hit-and-run accident by purchasing insurance from the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund sells policies to Maryland residents who were rejected by at least two private insurance companies. The fund can also help residents who had their policies canceled for any reason aside from failing to pay insurance premiums.
Note that the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund functions similarly to a private insurer.
The presence of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund is another reason there is no excuse for you to lack car insurance. Seek help from that resource to obtain the coverage you need and ensure that a hit-and-run accident will not ruin your financial situation.
Below are a few resources for Baltimore, MD, residents who have been involved in a crash.
Monument Street Auto Center – Located at 3700 E Monument St, Baltimore, MD 21205, MSAC can help you out if you are in need of car repair.
F&M Auto Repair – in addition to custom repairs, F&M also offers a number of other services including preventive maintenance, tire rotation, and more.
Maryland Healthcare Clinics – MHC offers physical therapy, manual therapy, back pain relief, and other services which can help you recover after a car crash in Baltimore.
ATI PT – With a number of locations including 871 E. Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230. ATI offers many therapy services to Baltimore residents.
Knowledgeable Baltimore Car Accident Attorney
Attorney John Leppler is ready to help if you or anyone you know was injured in a Baltimore hit-and-run accident. John’s extensive experience dealing with hit-and-run accidents will undoubtedly prove helpful when the time comes for you to seek compensation from the relevant parties.
Expect nothing less than the best service from John and the rest of us here at Leppler Injury Law. Unlike the legal mega-firms, John is always available to answer your questions and address your concerns. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today and hire John for your hit-and-run accident case!