What’s the Statute of Limitations for a Hit-and-Run Claim?

Published on May 7, 2024 at 7:39 pm in Car Accidents.

What's the statute of limitations for a hit-and-run claim?

Being involved in any kind of vehicle collision can be traumatic and disorienting. Not only might you and your passengers be hurt, but your vehicle is likely damaged, and you may be stuck in a dangerous spot,  such as the middle of fast traffic. To make things worse, the driver who caused your accident then flees the scene.

A hit-and-run accident is a crime in Maryland, that occurs when a driver collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, or stationary object and then leaves the scene. The aftermath of a hit-and-run accident can be devastating and frustrating and leave you reeling and unsure of what to do next.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what’s the statute of limitations for a hit-and-run claim in Maryland, so you won’t miss your opportunity to seek justice for the crash that left you hurt.

How Long Do You Have To File a Claim?

Three years is the statute of limitations for filing a civil claim against another driver for a car accident in Maryland. This includes all car accidents, including hit-and-run collisions. It’s vital that you begin the process of filing a claim as soon as you can to ensure you don’t miss a deadline and that you receive the proper compensation for any injuries or damages the at-fault driver caused.

There are a few exceptions to make note of:

  • In wrongful death claims stemming from a car accident, you have the same three years, but the time starts from the date the person died of their injuries, not necessarily the date of the crash.
  • If anyone injured in a car crash was a minor (under the age of 18) at the time of the accident, they have until their 21st birthday to file a claim for damages.
  • The last exception is that if a person was mentally incapacitated at the time of the collision, the time doesn’t start until they are deemed legally competent.

Another important thing to note is that, per Maryland Transportation Statute 20–107, you have 15 days to report a car accident (including a hit-and-run) yourself if law enforcement officers never arrive at the scene of your accident.

What’s the Law for Hit-and-Run Accidents?

There could be several reasons why a driver might flee from the scene of a car accident.

They might not have a valid driver’s license, or they might have no insurance, or perhaps they already have an outstanding warrant. In some cases, distracted drivers or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not even be aware that a collision has occurred.

Whatever the possible reason for failing to stop, according to Maryland Transportation Statute 20-104, it is illegal for drivers to leave the scene of an accident without following the basic steps of:

  • Stopping their vehicle
  • Determining if medical attention is needed
  • Sharing contact and insurance information with the other driver(s)
  • Contacting the police to file an official report

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run collision, there are penalties that the at-fault driver will face for fleeing the scene. Anyone found in violation of the statute may be subject to imprisonment not exceeding two months or a fine not exceeding $500, or both.

Who To File a Claim With

Even if the at-fault driver of your hit-and-run accident is eventually caught and convicted for their crime, that sense of justice you might feel won’t pay for your crash-related expenses. You will still have to file a claim against the driver’s insurance company for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.

If the at-fault driver is never apprehended, you won’t have any of their personal or insurance information to pursue a claim against them.

So, where does that leave you? Can you still attempt to receive compensation?

Depending on your level of coverage with your own car insurance policy, you should be able to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim through your insurance provider. In the best-case scenario, your claim will be approved, and your medical or car repair expenses from your hit-and-run accident will be covered.

Often, however, insurance companies don’t want to pay out for hit-and-run situations, or they may attempt to settle with you by awarding you an amount far less than what you should receive.

This is when an experienced attorney can help to ensure you receive the fair amount of compensation you deserve for the damage caused to you and your vehicle.

What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

You might be confused or injured immediately after your accident, but it’s best to gather as much information as you can.

If you are able, you should do as much of the following to help strengthen your eventual claim:

  • Make sure you and your passengers or other drivers involved are safely out of further harm’s way but don’t leave the scene
  • Call 9-1-1
  • Take photos of the at-fault vehicle and license plate, or if you can’t take a photo, try to remember or write down the license plate number and the make, model, and color of the vehicle
  • Write down the damage on the at-fault driver’s vehicle and the direction in which it drove away
  • Take photos of the damage to your own vehicle, plus photos of the scene
  • Gather contact information from any nearby witnesses
  • Report your accident to your insurance company
  • Contact an experienced Maryland car accident attorney

As with any vehicle collision, it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as you can after your accident, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been hurt. Sometimes severe injuries don’t present themselves right away and getting a full workup from a doctor is always a good thing to do to ensure there are no hidden injuries.

Hit-and-run accidents are often complex, especially in cases where the at-fault driver is never caught.

You can rest assured, however, that our legal team at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can assist you with the entire process, from filing with your own insurance provider to pursuing a civil suit against the at-fault driver if they are apprehended.

Time is often of the essence in these cases, and the clock starts ticking as soon as your accident occurs.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation today so that you don’t miss a deadline to file your claim.



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