Can You Sue if an Uninsured Driver Hits You in Baltimore?March 6, 2023
Car accidents are frightening, and injuries sustained in crashes can be severe and life-altering. Accidents are also expensive, costing thousands of dollars of property damage, mounting medical bills, and lost salary during recovery. Typically, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating the others involved in the accident. But if that driver is uninsured, seeking compensation can be challenging.
There are two classifications of uninsured driver. The first are phantom drivers, the legal term for “hit and run” drivers. Phantom drivers will flee the scene in order to not be identified if they are uninsured. Legally, insured drivers who flee the scene are deemed uninsured for claims purposes. The other classification is an identified uninsured driver. Regardless of which scenario, you are able to file and pursue a claim for damages.
Who Will Pay for My Damages if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Maryland requires all vehicles to be insured by a licensed insurance company, and carry a mandatory minimum coverage of:
- $30,000 per one person for bodily injury
- $60,000 for two or more people, total
- $15,000 property damage
While mandatory minimum coverage abides by the state’s requirements, it is still minimum coverage, meaning that if you are seriously injured or killed by an uninsured driver, you or your spouse will only receive a minimum of $30,000.
Despite the state’s insurance requirements, there are still drivers on the road in uninsured vehicles, which can be a significant problem for others if the uninsured causes an accident. For this reason, the mandatory minimum coverage applies as uninsured or underinsured as well, meaning if you are injured in a car accident with an uninsured driver, your own insurance coverage would take effect to cover damages, medical bills, and lost wages.
There is a little-known silver lining when having to use your own coverage against an uninsured at-fault driver. Maryland law mandates that insurance companies must lower your deductible to $250 if you are hit by an uninsured driver, regardless of the amount of your actual deductible. This means if your standard deductible is $5,000, you will only be responsible for $250.
Insurance companies often ignore this requirement and are frequently successful as many drivers are unaware of the law – another good reason to consult an attorney if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Is it Worth Suing an Uninsured Driver?
Depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries, combined with your own insurance coverage, suing an uninsured driver may be your best option for recovering more appropriate compensation. Though keep in mind that drivers without insurance do not often have significant assets to compensate you.
Car accidents typically result in property damage, significant medical bills, lost wages, and more, especially if your injuries are severe. Maryland’s uninsured motorist coverage for damages mandates that you are entitled to compensation for bodily injuries sustained in an accident with an uninsured driver. In the event the accident results in your fatality, your next-of-kin is then entitled to compensation. Further requirements include:
- The injured person must be insured
- The injured must be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by the at-fault driver
- Accident injuries or death must be the result of the at-fault driver’s “ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured motor vehicle.”
- The insurance company cannot exclude the injured person by a warranty in the insurance contract for any other reason
In some cases, it may be wise to sue the uninsured driver in addition to filing a claim with your insurance company. The laws regarding suing uninsured drivers can be difficult to navigate and these types of cases complex, therefore, consulting an attorney is likely your best option for success.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Your actions following any car accident are important, especially if the other driver is uninsured and will likely try to avoid responsibility for the damages and injuries, if not fleeing the scene altogether. After an accident, you should:
- Report the accident: Always call the police after an accident, even if damage appears to be minimal and there are minor or no injuries. Alerting the police will also generate a police report detailing the at-fault driver is uninsured and cause of the accident, which will be important to your claim.
- Document the scene: Take photos of the scene, including the damage to both vehicles, injuries, road conditions, signage, debris, and anything else that may have contributed to the accident.
- Exchange information: Even if the other driver is uninsured, ask for their name and contact information, which may be necessary later.
- Gather statements: If there are witnesses, gather contact information from each, along with a statement on what they witnessed. Record witness statements if they consent and ask them to share any photos or videos of the accident they may have taken.
- Seek medical attention: Always seek evaluation from a medical professional, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some internal injuries do not present symptoms for hours or days but can be life-threatening if left untreated. Also, injuries are the most crucial element of your insurance claim and without a doctor’s report, your claim will likely be denied.
- Consult an attorney: Seek the advice of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible when the other driver is uninsured as these cases can be complex difficult to seek compensation.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Clients Injured by Uninsured Motorists
Being involved in a car accident is challenging enough, but when the at-fault driver is uninsured, seeking compensation for your damages and injuries can be complicated. The experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can help you seek the compensation you deserve. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.