Why do hit and run accidents occur and how we can we reduce their incidence?

In our practice in Laurel, Maryland, we see a substantial number of so-called "hit and run accidents" in which our clients are injured. The inevitable question is why?

This issue has recently garnered attention in the press ( USA Today and The Washington Post) and also in academia and while there is no definitive answer applicable to all instances, it seems there are a few recurrent circumstances.

To be clear, the overwhelming response to being in a crash is to stop, stay at the scene and behave responsibly. There is a suggestion however that injurious and deadly crashes are on the rise with the involved vehicle operator leaving the scene of the crash.

So why? The reasons plumb the depths of human psychology with the most obvious answers being fear of adverse legal consequences for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or in an unsafe manner. Secondary reasons include the flight reflex, generalized fear responses, lack of empathy, and reptilian rationalization that perhaps that wasn't a human but was an animal or inanimate object.

The bottom line, in our modern world with cameras more prevalent, this practice will increasingly lead to criminal prosecution even where the collision was not the result of any wrongful conduct on the driver's part. So remain at the scene or risk prosecution.

For our clients who are the victims of such crashes, don't worry about finding the hit and run drivers, focus instead on healing. One of the reasons this admonition is easy to provide is that your uninsured/uninsured motorist coverage will come into play to compensate you for the injuries visited upon you by the hit and run fiend.

This is also a reason to ensure that you have sufficient uninsured coverage. Some people have high liability limits but do not have commensurate uninsured coverage. Do not make that mistake, the additional coverage is not terribly expensive.

For those who are struck as pedestrians and do not own cars and thus do not have uninsured  motorist coverage, things are gloomier. Both Maryland and the District of Columbia have statutory schemes to provide a minimal level of coverage.

As always, call an experienced attorney to get the best results.

Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer