Four Essential Steps to do Immediately After a Hit and Run Accident
No car accident is ever a good thing, but hit-and-run accidents can be especially complicated to handle. Without the ability to collect the other driver’s information, you end up left feeling helpless and unsure what to do.
This article will cover what the law considers a hit and run accident and provide four essential tips to follow immediately after the incident to ensure your safety and cover your losses to the fullest extent possible. Plus, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about responding to a hit and run.
What is a Hit and Run?
Maryland law requires any driver who is involved in a vehicle accident resulting in death, bodily injury, or property damage (however minor), to remain at the scene until they’ve fulfilled the following obligations defined in Maryland Transportation Code Section 20-104:
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone who has suffered bodily injury and call for an ambulance for anyone who requests it or obviously needs medical help.
- Give their name, address, registration number of their vehicle, and driver’s license (if requested) to anyone involved in the accident or any police officer investigating the scene.
- If unable to provide the required information to the people listed above (for example, if no other person involved is in a condition to receive the information, and no officer is present), the driver must immediately report the accident to the nearest law enforcement entity.
When a person involved in an auto accident fails to remain on the scene until these obligations have been met, it is commonly called a “hit-and-run.” Usually, a person flees after an accident because they want to avoid an encounter with law enforcement. They might have warrants, be driving on a suspended or revoked license, be intoxicated, be uninsured, or they might have just panicked and left the scene in a hurry.
Whatever the case, as the other driver involved in the accident, you’ll need to take these immediate steps to protect yourself, your passengers, and your property. Here are four steps to follow immediately after a hit-and-run.
What to Do After a Hit and Run
It’s essential that you take these four immediate actions following your hit and run accident. Following these steps will ensure that you and your passengers are safe and maximize your chances of recovering any financial losses from medical services or damage to your vehicle.
Step 1 – Get Everybody to Safety
The first and most important thing to do after a hit and run is to get you and everyone with you to safety. If able, immediately move your vehicle out of traffic. After that, check yourself and your passengers for any injuries and provide first aid if necessary. Finally, call 911 and request an ambulance immediately if anybody is seriously injured.
Remember to check yourself thoroughly, as the shock of the accident may make it difficult to realize how injured you really are.
Step 2 – Call the Police
There are two reasons you need to call the police immediately after a hit and run. First, it dramatically increases the chance that the fleeing driver will be found and be held accountable. Second, the police will provide you with a detailed report of the accident, which will help you with your insurance claim.
Step 3 – Write Down What You Remember About the Accident
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, you can start taking notes to help the police with their investigation. Try to include the color, make, and model of the other vehicle if you can remember them. Of course, if you can remember all or part of the license plate number, that will go a long way toward finding the other driver.
Step 4 – Call Your Insurance Company
If anybody required any medical assistance, or if there was damage to your vehicle, you will need to make an insurance claim. Your insurance representative will help you understand your coverage and go over what is or isn’t covered resulting from this accident. Your insurance company will also be able to arrange for a tow if your vehicle is inoperable and may even be able to arrange a ride home for you and your passengers.
Hit and Run FAQs
Here we’ll answer some of the most common questions about hit and run accidents.
Does Insurance Cover a Hit and Run Accident?
The short answer is yes. Maryland drivers are required to have minimum uninsured motorist coverage, which means that your own insurance company will take the place of the at-fault driver if that driver is uninsured.
In the case of a hit and run, since the other driver has no insurance that you can use, it is considered being hit by an uninsured motorist and will be covered under this policy.
However, since Maryland law only requires the minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage, that might not be enough to fully cover you in an accident where significant property damage or bodily injury occurs. Talk to your insurance provider if you want more information about uninsured motorist coverage.
Will a Hit and Run Increase My Insurance Rates?
If you are not the at-fault driver, then no. Insurance companies will not view you as an increased risk just because you were hit by a driver who fled the scene. However, if you commit a hit and run and get caught, you can expect to pay more for insurance coverage for a long time.
Is it Still a Hit and Run if the Accident Wasn’t my Fault?
Absolutely. As described above, a hit and run is unlawful because the driver failed to stay on the scene to administer help and provide the required contact information. It has nothing to do with who was at fault or the extent of the damage or injury that has occurred.
Getting a Tow After a Hit and Run
This article defined what a hit-and-run is under Maryland law, talked about essential steps to take immediately following a hit-and-run accident and answered some of the most common questions about these incidents. Of course, if you ever find yourself in an accident and need a tow, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Geyers Towing will be there when you need us most, no matter the situation.