Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident is stressful and troubling in ways that often exceed that of a typical collision, and it may be uncertain at first how such an incident should be handled. Here, the auto accident attorney Jeffrey Scholnick discusses what drivers should do if they are the victim of a hit-and-run.
Attempt to Obtain as Much Information About the Driver as Possible
In instances where the hit-and-run occurs while you are present, attempt to obtain as much information as possible about the driver who struck your vehicle. This should include the color, make and model of the vehicle, license plate number and state, physical description of the driver and any other identifying information. Also, make note of the time, day and location of the hit-and-run incident. If the hit-and-run occurs when you are not present, consider asking others who are in the vicinity if they saw the incident occur. If you are able to identify someone who witnessed the hit-and-run, obtain their contact information in case you require their testimony in the future.
File a Police Report
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense, especially in the state of Maryland, where penalties could range from fines, suspension of driving privileges and even jail time. If a hit-and-run accident has occurred, contact the police so that they may file a report on your behalf. Even if this report does not lead to discovery of a culprit and charges being filed, it may assist with your insurance claim.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Agency and File a Claim
In Maryland, every driver is required to possess uninsured motorist coverage, which is comprised of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage. The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage every driver is required to have is $30,000 per person, with a cap of $60,000 per accident. Drivers who are the victim of a hit-and-run may file a claim through their uninsured motorist coverage. This claim will not impact your insurance rate or deductible but will provide an avenue for you to potentially receive the financial assistance you require to make necessary repairs to your vehicle or other property or receive appropriate medical treatment.
Understand What a “Phantom Vehicle” Case Is
Another driver does not have to physically make contact with another vehicle in order to be legally responsible for an accident. Often referred to as “phantom vehicle” cases, these accidents occur when a driver—due to another individual’s erratic or unsafe actions—is forced off the road and becomes involved in an accident. These types of accidents should be handled similarly to a hit-and-run accident, and, due to the nature of these incidents, it may be possible to identify the at-fault driver and press civil charges, if necessary.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
A hit-and-run accident commonly involves the victim’s personal auto insurance, despite the fact that they are not at-fault for the damage to their vehicle or property. Due to this inherent reality, victims of hit-and-run incidents should seek the counsel of an experienced auto accident attorney to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. Jeff Scholnick has handled hundreds of auto accident claims and diligently represents his clients to ensure they are treated fairly and justly. To schedule a free consultation, contact Scholnick Law today!