Articles Tagged with hit-and-run

Published on:

Lahood Text.jpgOftentimes, pedestrian-versus-car accident cases are among the toughest to litigate. It’s rare that we see that perfect liability scenario:

The pedestrian, observed by traffic cameras, dutifully waited her turn to cross from one end of the street to the other. The approaching traffic stopped, she got the white “walking man” signal, and after looking both ways, she proceeded across the cross walk to the other end. At that point, the independent and disinterested witness observed, the defendant ran the red light at twice the speed limit, hitting the pedestrian.”

What we usually see is something like this:

Published on:

MAIF logo.jpgMost auto accident lawyers hate filing MAIF claims. First, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, including a 180-day notice requirement that, if not met exactly, can capsize the entire claim. Second, MAIF uninsured claims are limited to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident (see our recent post on the increased minimums). Third, MAIF is really hard to deal with–these claims often require twice the amount of work as one against any other insurance company, and most MAIF uninsured claims have to be resolved at trial. MAIF doesn’t like to pay out under any circumstances.

Auto accident victims may have to look to MAIF for recovery in these circumstances:

  • Hit-and-run auto accident (“phantom vehicle”)
Published on:

MAIF logo.jpgWe reported back in February that the Maryland legislature was considering a bill that would increase the minimum amount of MAIF insurance for uninsured drivers to $30,000 (Not Fair: Maryland Law Makes You Carry $30,000 Auto Insurance, But You Might Have a Maximum $20,000 Recovery).

The problem was that just over a year ago, the minimum amount of automobile insurance for all Maryland drivers was $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. Those minimums have been in place for over 35 years, and they were increased to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. The law that increased the amount recoverable for Maryland automobile accident victims was missing one thing, though. It forget to mention the uninsured division of MAIF.

MAIF (Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund) is the insurance company of last resort for drivers who are rejected by most other insurance companies. They insure the uninsurable. MAIF also performs another function–when someone is involved in a Maryland automobile accident with someone who does not have insurance, or in a hit-and-run accident, MAIF will step in to help. They don’t step in voluntarily–usually it takes a lawsuit, but if there is no other insurance available, MAIF will cover the accident up to the minimum amount. Even after the 2011 change, MAIF was still only on the hook for $20,000/$40,000.

Published on:

I'm Just a BillIn 2011, the Maryland Legislature decided that the minimum limits for automobile insurance, which were over 35 years old, needed to be increased. The limits were $20,000 per person/$40,000 per occurrence. They were increased to $30,000/$60,000. Not quite a cost-of-living adjustment (one inflation calculator told me that $20,000 in 1972 would be $107,626 in 2011 dollars). But, it’s something, anyway.

The goal of the 2011 legislation was further protect Maryland drivers. Healthcare costs and lost wages following a Maryland automobile accident can be high. The increase eases the pain a little bit. The problem with the 2011 change was that it did not include the uninsured division of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF).

Not only does MAIF insure (the otherwise uninsurable) drivers of Maryland (who are now required to have $30,000/$60,000), but it also provides protection to people who are in accidents with uninsured motorists, when the victims have no other source of insurance. For example, pedestrians hit by uninsured drivers; and people in bus accidents or taxi accidents who are injured in hit-and-run accidents. In order to pay those claims, MAIF collects a little bit of money from other insurance policies. So, a portion of my Allstate insurance premium goes to the MAIF fund.

Published on:

Phantom Vehicle.jpgMany people come to us because they’ve been in an accident, but they are unsure what their options are. This is rarely more true than in the phantom vehicle case. This is where there is an accident, but no sign of the person who caused the accident. These cases are sometimes hit-and-run accidents, though phantom vehicle cases can happen where the phantom vehicle takes the right-of-way from another motorist, causing that motorist to hit a third motorist (while the phantom vehicle goes merrily along its way). In many cases, these are pedestrian hit-and-runs.

What can be done? Fortunately, Ghostbusters aren’t needed. There are usually two options.

First, if you have uninsured motorist (UM) protection on your automobile insurance policy, you can file a claim against your insurance company, which will stand in the place of the phantom vehicle. You will have to prove your claim, either to the insurance company’s satisfaction or to a judge/jury. In some cases, though, your testimony alone may be sufficient proof (independent witnesses who saw the phantom vehicle wouldn’t hurt your case, however).