What Happens When The At-Fault Party Leaves The Scene Of A Maryland Car Accident?
For all of the obvious reasons, leaving the scene of an accident involving either property damage -or more significantly, personal injury - is a crime under Maryland law. Unfortunately, the threat of criminal prosecution is not always enough to dissuade others from leaving the scene of an accident. Although it is a comparatively rare event- it happens. In such circumstances there are steps that you can take as the victim of injury or property damage to protect yourself and potentially your loved one.
- If you are physically able you should immediately call the police.
- Again assuming the lack of an incapacitating injury, you should canvas the area for witnesses that could be used to identify the fleeing driver. To the extent the circumstances allow, you should take contemporaneous notes about what you were able to observe about the fleeing vehicle: make, model, tag number, and a general description of the driver.
- You must immediately contact your own insurance company.
- You should canvas the area for the potential of municipal or government surveillance.
- You should likewise canvass the area for the potential of private surveillance than might have captured the event.
- I've had clients in the past who have chosen to resort to self-help and “follow” the vehicle that fled the scene. Although this might have been a successful method of getting the individual and their information -there are obvious safety related concerns that should be apparent. I do not recommend this course of action.
If an injured person, or one who has sustained property damage, is unable to obtain identifying information about the hit and run driver they may proceed with a claim to recover for their injuries against their own insurance carrier under the uninsured motorist provisions of the policy. It is necessary, however, in this circumstance, to utilize good faith, diligent efforts, and take all reasonable steps to identify the fleeing driver or obtain identification information about the vehicle they were driving.