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Maryland Hit-and-Run Laws: Consequences and Responsibilities Explained

Maryland Hit-and-Run Laws: Understanding Your Legal Obligations and Possible Penalties

In life, accidents happen, and when they involve vehicles, the results can be catastrophic. Whether minor or severe, an accident can leave lasting effects on those involved.

But what happens when the person responsible decides to flee the scene? This is where hit-and-run laws come in.

In this article, we will explore Maryland hit-and-run laws and what they entail.

Legal Obligations after an Accident

According to Maryland law, drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage must stop their car immediately and provide reasonable assistance to anyone involved in the accident. Reasonable assistance includes administering first aid or calling for emergency help if necessary.

The driver must provide contact information, including their name, address, and vehicle registration number, to anyone who may have been injured or suffered property damage. This also includes the owners of any vehicles or property damaged in the accident.

If the accident involves hazardous materials, the driver must stay at the scene until appropriate help has arrived, such as police, firefighters, or hazardous material response teams. The driver must also notify the authorities if the accident resulted in death or serious bodily injury to anyone involved.

Misdemeanor Offenses

A hit-and-run accident that results in only property damage is a misdemeanor offense in Maryland. If convicted, the offender may face a fine of up to $500, incarceration for up to 60 days, and a driving privilege suspension or revocation.

If the driver leaves the scene of an accident involving a moving vehicle, it is also a misdemeanor offense that can result in up to 90 days of incarceration and a fine of up to $500. Leaving the scene of an accident in a way that obstructs or interferes with the flow of traffic can also result in these penalties.

Reporting an Accident

In Maryland, drivers involved in a hit-and-run accident resulting in property damage only may not be required to contact the police. However, if the driver is unsure whether the accident resulted in property damage, they should call the police to investigate and provide a police report if necessary.

Drivers involved in an accident resulting in death, injury, or property damage greater than $500 must report the accident to the authorities. The report must include details about the accident, such as the time, location, weather conditions, and contact information for those involved.

Drivers have 15 days from the time of the accident to report it to the police. In addition, drivers must notify their insurance carrier and provide their policy number and the name of their insurance producer.

Penalties for Hit-and-Run

Leaving the scene of an accident that results in serious bodily injury or death is a felony offense in Maryland. If convicted, the offender could face a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison.

Hit-and-run accidents involving driving under the influence (DUI) are also considered a felony offense. For hit-and-run accidents resulting in property damage, the offender can face misdemeanor charges with fines, probation, and possible jail time.

The length of license suspension will depend on the severity of the accident and previous infractions.

Civil and Administrative Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, drivers found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident may face civil action for damages. In a civil action, the victim of the hit-and-run accident may seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

If the victim contributed to the accident, known as contributory negligence, the damages awarded may be reduced accordingly. It is important to note that civil actions may have a different statute of limitations than criminal charges.

In Maryland, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident.

Defense for Leaving the Scene

There are some defenses for leaving the scene of an accident, such as fear for personal safety, a stolen vehicle, victim refusal of assistance, or unawareness that the accident had occurred. To use any of these defenses, the driver must be able to prove that they had no intention of evading the scene and did everything possible to avoid leaving.

Involuntary leave, such as a medical emergency, may also be considered as a viable defense.

Conclusion

Hit-and-run accidents, whether a misdemeanor or felony offense, are serious violations of Maryland law. The best way to avoid being charged with a hit-and-run offense is to always remain at the scene of the accident and provide any necessary assistance.

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you should contact a lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and defend your rights. What Happens if Someone Does a Hit and Run?

Understanding the Consequences and Responsibilities

A hit-and-run accident can be a traumatizing and life-altering event for both the driver responsible and the victim. While drivers have legal obligations after an accident, they may still decide to flee the scene.

In this article, we will explore what happens if someone does a hit and run, including the legal consequences and the responsibilities of both the driver and victim.

Maryland Hit and Run Laws

Maryland law requires drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage to stop their car and provide reasonable assistance to anyone involved in the accident. If the accident resulted in death, serious bodily injury, or damage to unattended property, the driver must notify law enforcement immediately and provide their contact information.

A hit-and-run accident that results in property damage only is a misdemeanor offense that can lead to a fine, incarceration, and suspension or revocation of driving privileges. However, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death is a felony offense that can result in significant fines, jail time, and possible license revocation.

Hit-and-Run Consequences

The consequences of a hit-and-run accident can be severe for the driver responsible. If found guilty, the driver may face monetary fines, probation, jail time, and a permanent criminal record.

In addition, the driver may have their driving privileges suspended or revoked, which can make it difficult to find or maintain employment. The driver may also face civil action for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

The victim of the hit-and-run accident may file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim to seek compensation for their losses. The driver’s insurance can also be affected by the hit and run accident.

If the driver is convicted of a hit-and-run offense, their insurance rates are likely to increase, and they may lose their insurance coverage altogether.

Responsibilities of the Driver

If a driver is involved in an accident, regardless of fault, they have a legal obligation to remain at the scene. The driver must document the details of the accident and obtain evidence of any injuries or property damage.

They should also provide reasonable assistance to anyone involved in the accident, including medical assistance if necessary. The driver must report the accident to law enforcement and provide their contact information, insurance information, and vehicle registration number.

It is also advisable to contact an attorney who can advise the driver on their legal rights and responsibilities.

Responsibilities of the Victim

If a victim is involved in a hit-and-run accident, their first priority should be their safety and the safety of others involved. The victim should document the details of the accident, including the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle, and obtain evidence of any injuries or property damage.

The victim should seek medical assistance if necessary and contact law enforcement immediately. They should also obtain contact information for any witnesses to the accident.

To seek compensation for their losses, the victim may file a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. It is advisable to contact an attorney who can assist in navigating the legal process and advising the victim on their rights and responsibilities.

Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Law

Maryland follows a contributory negligence rule when it comes to determining fault in a personal injury case. Contributory negligence means that if the victim contributed to their injuries in any way, even 1% fault, they may not recover any damages for their losses.

This rule can make it difficult for those seeking compensation for a hit-and-run accident. Insurance claims adjusters and investigators may use contributory negligence to shift blame onto the victim, making it challenging to receive fair compensation.

Defense for Leaving the Scene

In some cases, a driver may have a defense for leaving the scene of an accident. The most common defenses include fear for personal safety, a stolen vehicle, or victim refusal of assistance.

Drivers may also use unawareness of the accident or involuntary leave, such as a medical emergency, as a defense. To use any of these defenses, the driver must be able to prove that they had no intention of evading the scene and did everything possible to avoid leaving.

Conclusion

A hit-and-run accident can have serious legal, financial, and reputational consequences for the driver responsible. It is important to remain at the scene of an accident and provide reasonable assistance to those involved.

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is advisable to seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities. For victims of hit-and-run accidents, it is essential to prioritize safety and document the details of the accident to seek compensation for their losses.

In conclusion, understanding Maryland hit-and-run laws is crucial for both drivers and victims involved in an accident. Drivers have legal obligations to stop, provide assistance, and report the accident, while victims need to prioritize safety and gather evidence.

Committing a hit and run can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, fines, jail time, and civil suits. Furthermore, Maryland’s contributory negligence law can complicate matters when seeking compensation.

By following the law and being responsible, we can ensure a safer and fairer environment for all. Remember, leaving the scene of an accident is not only a legal offense but also a moral one.

Let’s strive to uphold our responsibilities and promote accountability on the road.

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