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What to do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Maryland

Getting into an automobile accident is bad enough, but it feels like a complete nightmare when the person who caused the accident suddenly takes off without exchanging information or even seeing if you are ok. While you hope it never happens, there are also some ways you can protect yourself in the event a hit-and-run does happen to you.

Purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

Before the risk of a hit-and-run accident becomes a reality, you need to ensure you have your own coverage to help pay for your damages and injuries. This is known as Uninsured Motorist, or UM, coverage. This means your insurance company would handle the claim, essentially “stepping into the shoes” of the at-fault driver’s carrier. UM is bundled with Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM), which kicks in if you have a major injury claim and the other, at-fault driver does not carry high enough limits to cover your injury claim.

While you can purchase UM/UIM coverage with low limits, we recommend you purchase the highest coverage you can afford. In the event you have a serious accident, the minimum limits may not be enough to cover your medical bills and loss of earnings, let alone any future medical expenses or disability.

What to do at the Scene of a Hit-and-Run

It is likely that you will still be in shock several minutes after the accident occurs, but if you see that the other driver is about to leave the scene, try to commit to memory or write down as many details about the other vehicle as you can. Maybe you can read all or part of the license plate, or you got a good description of the car and what the driver looked like. You need to call 911 immediately and relay all the details you can remember to them.

The 911 operator will dispatch an officer to the scene who will take a report and initiate a criminal investigation. If you are not too injured that you are taken away in an ambulance immediately, try to get photos of the scene and any important details you may need to refer back to later.

Importance of an Attorney in a Hit-and-Run Case

You should also contact a skilled Maryland car accident attorney right away. While a hit-and-run is a crime, it is also probably going to be on the back-burner for the police, who are likely already swamped with more serious criminal investigations. An attorney can help conduct an independent investigation in an attempt to track down the responsible driver.

You might be wondering why you need an attorney if you are going to present a UM claim to your own carrier. It is important to understand that in the case of UM or UIM claims, your insurance will treat it as a third-party claim. This means they would handle your claim as though they were the other carrier, and that means challenging the necessity of medical treatment and how serious your injuries are in order to reduce the potential payout. Without an attorney, you would be forced to negotiate with them in order to settle your claim.

If you or a loved one were injured in a hit-and-run accident, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.

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