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Will Your Car Insurance Go Up After a Hit-and-Run in Maryland?

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What is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Drivers who are involved in any type of accident are required to remain at the scene until released by law enforcement. Leaving the scene is not only considered to be a hit-and-run, but it is also a crime. This applies to accidents involving other vehicles, pedestrians, or property.

What Should I Do Following a Hit-and-Run?

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, following any type of vehicle accident, drivers should provide insurance information to any motorist involved, to any person with vehicle or property damage from the accident, and to any law enforcement officer who is present. Additionally, the involved vehicles’ insurance agents should be contacted as soon as possible.

Following a hit and run, these measures should be considered:

  • Document a description of the involved vehicles and drivers. Include vehicle make, model, color, and license plate number.
  • Document the details of what occurred, including the direction of travel taken by the fleeing vehicle.
  • Record the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Record the names and badge numbers of responding officers.
  • Take photos of the accident, including vehicle and other property damage.
  • Contact nearby businesses regarding captured video footage of the accident. Video footage may only be released to the police in some instances.

Does Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Car insurance policies do include hit-and-run coverage, but only under the right plan. For example, liability coverage insurance will not cover the driver or the car. Most cases require collision coverage when dealing with a hit-and-run accident.

Will My Insurance Rates Increase as the Victim of a Hit-and-Run?

Insurance rates are typically affected after a claim is filed against the driver. A driver who bears no fault in a hit-and-run accident should not have a reasonable claim filed against them. Victims of a hit-and-run are strongly encouraged to file a claim against the responsible driver. This can be a difficult process if the responsible driver leaves the scene. That is why the best course of action is to contact Teharani Law, LLC.

Will My Insurance Rate Increase if I am Responsible for a Hit-and-Run?

Maryland is an at-fault state. That means that any driver found to be responsible for an accident will be penalized. This greatly affects insurance rates by up to 50% in some instances. For a valid claim against an at-fault driver, the victim must prove the following elements of negligence:

  • Duty of care. The victim must prove that the offending driver assumed the responsibility of driving with an expectation to act in a certain manner. For example, drivers are expected to obey traffic laws and maintain responsibility for their person and vehicle.
  • Breach of duty of care. The victim must demonstrate that the driver’s actions deviated from the assumed expectation of care, such as fleeing the scene after striking a vehicle.
  • Causation. The victim should prove that the driver’s actions caused the accident and any related injuries.
  • Damages. The victim must show that damages were incurred due to the accident.

If a driver flees the scene of an accident, that driver is typically assumed to be at fault.

What Other Factors Influence Insurance Rate?

In addition to being at fault versus the victim, insurance companies also consider other factors when determining how much rates will increase following an accident. Those include:

  • Driving record
  • Type of car insurance
  • The severity of the accident

A driver may be considered high risk if the accident is related to:

  • At fault accident
  • Speeding
  • Racing
  • Drunk driving conviction
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Other violations

What Legal Repercussions Follow a Hit-and-Run Case?

The consequences of fleeing a hit-and-run vary depending on the severity of damage incurred. Drivers fleeing an accident that results in property damage may face up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, and up to eight points on their license, which will cause suspension of driving privileges. Any driver who flees an accident resulting in the severe bodily harm of another person may face felony charges. Upon conviction, the penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 and five years in prison. If the accident resulted in the death of another individual, the driver would face felony manslaughter charges with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to ten years imprisonment.

How Can I Avoid Hit-and-Run Charges?

To limit fault and make the process easier, drivers should follow these simple steps:

  • Stop. If the vehicle is still drivable, immediately pull into a safe location that is as close to the scene as possible without endangering any other parties. If the vehicle is not drivable, turn on hazard lights and stay as close to the scene as safely as possible.
  • Address any injuries. If any injury has occurred, it is the legal obligation of any bystander to get help right away. Call 911 and request medical assistance, even in the event of a minor injury.
  • Call the police. Police reports serve as an official record of events. Even in minor accidents, getting the police involved early may help prevent other legal issues.
  • Exchange information. Remember to get insurance and license information from all involved parties.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Whether you are at fault or the victim of a hit-and-run auto accident, you need the right representation on your side. At Teharani Law, LLC, we are committed to fighting on your behalf and for your best interest. Give us a call today at 301-973-6510 or contact us for a free consultation.

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