Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. In 2020, over 80,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents, over 5,000 of which resulted in fatalities. Even if an accident doesn’t result in death, the cost of treatment for the injuries can be high. This is why it’s even more frustrating and challenging when you are involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident, and there is no clear path to compensation.
Maryland follows an at-fault system, meaning when you are in an accident, the at-fault party is financially responsible for your injuries and other damages. But what happens when it’s a hit and run accident, and you don’t have anyone to file a claim against?
Our Maryland motorcycle accident lawyers have the answer to this question and more. If you need help with a hit and run motorcycle accident claim, please get in touch with someone from our team so we can help you get the compensation you need as soon as possible.
What are Maryland’s Hit and Run Laws?
A hit and run, which is simply defined as a driver fleeing the scene of an accident, is illegal in Maryland. However, hit and run laws only apply if the accident resulted in bodily injury or damage. That being said, it is never wise to leave the scene of an accident for any reason, even if there is no visible sign of damage or injuries.
Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Below are common questions people ask regarding hit and run motorcycle accidents and the answers you may need to help you better understand what happens in these situations.
1. What Should You Do If You Witness a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident?
Maryland law only requires those directly involved and affected by the hit and run accident to stay at the scene. However, if you are a witness to a hit and run accident, it can be helpful if you stay behind to offer your contact information in case witness statements are needed to corroborate what happened.
For example, as a witness, you might have seen more than the person who was hit and injured, such as the identity of the person who hit them and fled the scene. Even if you don’t know the exact identity of the person that fled, any details you can give can be helpful.
That being said, you will not get in trouble or be punished if you leave the scene of a hit and run motorcycle accident that you were not directly involved in.
2. What Are the Consequences of Leaving the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident?
For those involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident, the consequences of leaving the scene are severe.
- If the accident resulted in property damage only, the penalty in Maryland is a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
- If the accident resulted in bodily injury, the penalty is a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
- If the accident resulted in a death, the penalty is up to ten years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
3. How Does a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Affect Insurance?
If you were involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident, your insurance should not be affected unless you were responsible for what happened. In other words, your insurance should only punish you by raising your insurance if you were the one at fault for the accident. If you were not at fault, your insurance premiums would not increase.
What Should You Do After a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident in Maryland?
The steps you take after the accident are important because hit and run motorcycle accidents can be more challenging to file a claim. The more evidence you can gather as soon as possible, the more likely it will be that the person who hit you is caught.
Below is the list of steps you should take to ensure your safety and help the police catch who caused the accident:
- Do NOT attempt to follow or chase down the driver that hit you and fled. This is dangerous and could even result in you breaking other traffic laws. Even if you are scared that they will not be found, you should never try to chase them down yourself.
- Pull your car over to a safe place out of the way of oncoming traffic, if possible, and call the police immediately to report the accident and request medical services if you are injured.
- If you can do so, take detailed notes of anything you can remember while you wait, such as the color, make, and model of the vehicle you saw drive away, any descriptions you can remember of the car or the persons inside the car, what direction the vehicle took off when they fled, and what direction the car was coming from before they hit you. Write everything down that you can.
- You should also take pictures and videos of the scene if possible. This includes damage to your motorcycle, any tread marks left in the road from the vehicle that fled, as well as your injuries and anything else you think is relevant to what happened.
- If there are witnesses that saw what happened, speak to them and ask for their contact information if they are willing to give it.
- Keep an eye out for any traffic cameras or surveillance cameras from nearby businesses that might have captured what happened. You can report this info to your lawyer after the accident, and they can help you obtain access to the video footage captured by those cameras.
- Wait for the police to arrive and make sure they file an official report.
- After you are given the go-ahead to leave the scene, make sure you keep copies of documents regarding the treatment of your injuries. If you also happen to remember anything else later, make sure you write it down and report it to the police and your lawyer.
- Notify your insurance of the accident.
- Contact a lawyer as soon as possible following the accident. They will be able to help you investigate the accident and gather evidence that can help you build a strong case.
Can You Claim Compensation After a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident?
Yes, you can claim compensation after a hit and run motorcycle accident. This is possible even if the at-fault driver is not found.
If the at-fault driver is found, their insurance company will be responsible for compensating you for your injuries and any other damages you suffered. However, if the driver is not found, you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
In Maryland, all car insurance policies include uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This coverage is meant to pay for your injuries in an accident if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or if their policy limits are not enough to cover your expenses. However, your UM/UIM coverage also kicks in if the at-fault driver cannot be found after a hit and run.
The state minimum for UM/UIM coverage is $30,000 and will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
Have a Legal Question About a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident? We Have Answers.
If you were injured in a hit and run motorcycle accident in Maryland, we are here to help. At Zirkin and Schmerling Law, our team is dedicated to helping injured motorcycle accident victims get the compensation they deserve. We can help you gather evidence that can potentially help the police find the at-fault driver and even if they are not found, we can help you build a strong case to ensure insurance fully and fairly compensates you for all of your losses.
Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our hit and run motorcycle accident attorneys today.