The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area is seeing an increase in fatal hit and run accidents according to the AAA. The majority of these fatal car accidents involve pedestrians. Most of these accidents are occurring in uban areas such as Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. On September 17 a pedestrian was killed on Annapolis Road in Riverdale, MD according to Prince George's County police. On September 18 a bicyclist was critically injured as a result of being struck by a car in Washington, D.C. In both cases, the driver left the scene of the accident and has not been apprehended. Other hit and run incidents that AAA notes in our area include two women who were struck by a car in Silver Spring, MD near Capital View Avenue (they were both dragged by the car but survived). In August a 28 year old bicyclist was killed on Lee Highway and Lake Manassas Drive in Gainesville. Emmanuel Yeboah was biking when he was stuck by a car from behind. A cyclist was killed in Ocean City, MD by a hit and run driver according to Maryland State Police. AAA studies indicate that fatal hit and run crashes most often occur on weekends and in the evening hours. An article on this very issue can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/21/AR2009092103498.html
The rise in hit and run accidents is an excellent reason to be sure that you have adequate uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection to you and your family members when involved in a Maryland car accident with an uninsured motorist. Maryland law's definition of an uninsured motorist includes a hit and run motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage is relatively cheap to purchase, and we recommend that all motorists buy at least $100,000.00 of uninsured motorist protection (buy as much coverage as you can reasonably afford). More coverage should be bought if at all possible. Insurance Agents often will try to sell Maryland Consumer minimum limits policies and/or try to get consumers to waive uninsured motorist coverage. NEVER WAIVE YOUR UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE (Or PIP Coverage). It is critically important. If you are injured as a result of an "uninsured motorist" or a hit and run accident call us toll free at 301-589-2999 or visit our website at www.gfmlawllc.com. Phone consultations are free and there is no attorney fee if there is no recovery.
In Washington, D.C. and Maryland there are a lot of uninsured motorists out there and it is critically important that you have uninsured motorist coverage to protect you and your family in the event that you are struck by an uninsured motorist or a hit and run vehicle. The Maryland uninsured motorist law is at 19-509 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code and is set forth below:
§ 19-509. Uninsured motorist coverage-in general
(a) In this section, "uninsured motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle:
(1) the ownership, maintenance, or use of which has resulted in the bodily injury or death of an insured; and
(2) for which the sum of the limits of liability under all valid and collectible liability insurance policies, bonds, and securities applicable to bodily injury or death:
(i) is less than the amount of coverage provided under this section; or
(ii) has been reduced by payment to other persons of claims arising from the same occurrence to an amount less than the amount of coverage provided under this section.
(b) The uninsured motorist coverage required by this section does not apply to a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that insures a motor vehicle that:
(1) is not subject to registration under § 13-402 of the Transportation Article because it is not driven on a highway; or
(2) is exempt from registration under § 13-402(c)(10) of the Transportation Article.
(c) In addition to any other coverage required by this subtitle, each motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued, sold, or delivered in the State after July 1, 1975, shall contain coverage for damages, subject to the policy limits, that:
(1) the insured is entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured motor vehicle; and
(2) a surviving relative of the insured, who is described in § 3-904 of the Courts Article, is entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because the insured died as the result of a motor vehicle accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured motor vehicle.
(d) The uninsured motorist coverage required by this section shall be in the form and subject to the conditions that the Commissioner approves.
(e)(1) The uninsured motorist coverage contained in a motor vehicle liability insurance policy:
(i) shall at least equal:
1. the amounts required by Title 17 of the Transportation Article; and
2. the coverage provided to a qualified person under Title 20, Subtitle 6 of this article; and
(ii) may not exceed the amount of liability coverage provided under the policy.
(2) Unless waived in accordance with § 19-510 of this subtitle, the amount of uninsured motorist coverage provided under a private passenger motor vehicle liability insurance policy shall equal the amount of liability coverage provided under the policy.
(f) An insurer may exclude from the uninsured motorist coverage required by this section benefits for:
(1) the named insured or a family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household for an injury that occurs when the named insured or family member is occupying or is struck as a pedestrian by an uninsured motor vehicle that is owned by the named insured or an immediate family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household; and
(2) the named insured, a family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household, and any other individual who has other applicable motor vehicle insurance for an injury that occurs when the named insured, family member, or other individual is occupying or is struck as a pedestrian by the insured motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is operated or used by an individual who is excluded from coverage under § 27-609 of this article.
(g) The limit of liability for an insurer that provides uninsured motorist coverage under this section is the amount of that coverage less the amount paid to the insured, that exhausts any applicable liability insurance policies, bonds, and securities, on behalf of any person that may be held liable for the bodily injuries or death of the insured.
(h)(1) A policy that, as its primary purpose, provides coverage in excess of other valid and collectible insurance or qualified self-insurance may include the uninsured motorist coverage provided for in this section.
(2) The uninsured motorist coverage required by this section is primary to any right to recovery from the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund under Title 20, Subtitle 6 of this article.
(i) An endorsement or provision that protects the insured against damages caused by an uninsured motor vehicle that is contained in a policy issued and delivered in the State is deemed to cover damages caused by a motor vehicle insured by a liability insurer that is insolvent or otherwise unable to pay claims to the same extent and in the same manner as if the damages were caused by an uninsured motor vehicle.
(j) A provision in a motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued after July 1, 1975, about coverage for damages sustained by the insured as a result of the operation of an uninsured motor vehicle that requires a dispute between the insured and the insurer to be submitted to binding arbitration is prohibited and is of no legal effect.
MD Code, Insurance, § 19-509