Depending on the settings on your phone, you may receive amber alerts for missing children and silver alerts for seniors. A Maryland Senator has proposed creating a yellow alert when there has been a hit-and-run accident. According to a news report in The Associated Press, Senator Bryan Simonaire will introduce the legislation in the new session, which begins on January 14, 2015. The Republican Senator told the press that there have been five unsolved fatal hit-and-run accidents in Arundel County since 2009 including three in his district. He believes that more should be done to give victims’ families closure.
Under Maryland Statute 20-103, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, even if it only results in damage to property, “shall stop the vehicle as close as possible to the scene of the accident, without obstructing traffic more than necessary.” Under Statute 20-102, drivers involved in an accident that results in bodily injury or death shall immediately stop or return to the accident and “remain at the scene of the accident.”
Drivers who leave the scene of a crash can face serious criminal charges if they are tracked down and apprehended by the authorities. They can also face civil penalties if the victim or the victim’s family chooses to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim against them. However, not all hit-and-run drivers in Maryland are apprehended and many families never have the opportunity to seek justice for their losses.
It is unclear if the yellow alert system will become a reality, but if it does, it could prove to be a valuable tool for officers as they search for hit-and-run drivers. In the meantime, if you or a loved one was the victim of a hit-and-run driver, it may be in your best interest to learn about your legal rights and options.
It is not always possible to file a civil lawsuit against a hit-and-run driver, but there are other ways for victims and their families to seek financial support. For example, a hit-and-run attorney can help a family pursue compensation for their loss by filing a claim with their own insurance provider. Many insurance policies include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which may apply to accidents involving uninsured drivers and hit-and-run drivers.