If you are a licensed driver in the state of Maine, Maine state law requires that you stop at the scene of an accident or return to the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a Class E crime in Maine. And Class E crimes carry a maximum penalty fine of up to $1000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days of jail.
The laws for a hit-and-run varies from state to state. Some hit and run penalties are felonies and others are misdemeanors.
In most states, a felony hit and run are defined as leaving the scene of the accident in which another person in the accident has any type of injury or there is a resulting death. That injured person can be an occupant of a vehicle or a pedestrian at the scene.
Additionally, felony penalties for a hit and run as described above can be quite high: $5000 – $20,000, varying in each state. Incarceration is also a possible result of a felony hit and runs, up to 15 years in prison depending on the state and the severity of the accident.
Although a misdemeanor hit and run do not necessarily involve any physical injuries or result in death, it does however still come with severe penalties and should not be taken lightly. A misdemeanor hit and run can also come with significant fines of up to $5000 and perhaps 1 year of jail time.
Maine law requires that all drivers involved provide information such as driver’s licenses and proof of insurance.
If someone has been injured, parties present have a duty to provide assistance to the injured. This could involve calling 911.
If your vehicle interferes with traffic try to move your car to the side of the road. If you have flares set those up so people can see you. If you cannot move your car, put on your blinkers to increase the chances that other drivers will see you.
Call the police immediately. Whether you are injured or not, the police must be contacted in order to file the proper claim with your insurance company to recover compensation for a damaged vehicle, for example.
Record and state an accurate account of what happened. You can record your own notes but always ensure that the police have verbally heard your account of the accident. It’s not a good idea to speculate. Communicate the facts you know. If you can be present when other parties relay their information it is helpful if possible so you can ensure the statements of other witnesses/parties are also accurate.
Document the scene by taking your own photos. Any physical property damage or visible external bodily injuries should be photographed. Do so without interfering with the police investigation.
Exchange info with the other party if they are present. If a police officer is on the scene they will do this for you. Drivers’ license info, insurance information, and the names and contact info of any witnesses are important. A police officer who arrives at the scene and documents the accident will provide you with a police report number. It is important that you save this. You’ll need this from the state police if the accident happens on a state highway.
It’s up to you to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you’re able. You may have medical benefits in your coverage so ask your insurance company if you have “med pay” benefits in your policy, which in Maine is a standard part of your policy. . If you have med pay in your benefits you have the option of using it or your health insurance to pay your bills upfront. The best way to utilize your med pay coverage is to pay any out of pocket, co-pays or deductibles sent to you after your bills have been processed by your health insurance.
If you have injuries, seek medical attention as soon as possible with a hospital or your physician. Your pain and discomfort may not show up immediately so it is important to monitor your pain. For example, accidents with even minor impact can result in permanent internal injuries such as spinal cord injury. It is important to remember that if you lost consciousness even for a moment it is possible you may have experienced a head injury or concussion. So it is important to monitor behavioral or cognitive changes.
File all documents/notes as anything you obtain as a result of the accident or record on your own can be used to help your case with a lawyer and/or the insurance claim’s adjuster. These may also include car rental receipts, medical invoices, etc.
If you’re having doubt about what you’re owed, if you’ve been wronged or need a consultation about how to generally proceed, contacting a personal injury lawyer for a consultation can only help your sense of wellbeing. A personal injury attorney can advise on vehicle damage compensation, medical treatment, navigating insurance companies, and so much more. Fortunately, personal injury attorneys work on what’s referred to as a “contingency fee basis” which means you’re not charged a fee for legal assistance unless the lawyer recovers compensation for your injuries.
Your own auto insurance may contain “uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage” to compensate you for the uncovered losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not always transparent about coverages available to you, so it is best to contact an attorney to learn if you’re eligible to receive compensation for your losses when the responsible party does not have insurance.
Every driver under Maine law is required to have a minimal level of car insurance coverage. But a driver may feel compelled to leave the scene of an accident if they are uninsured or if they are acting criminally, such as operating an unregistered vehicle or operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
A lack of coverage for either party can disrupt the recovery of medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a car accident or motorcycle accident and are seeking legal representation, contact Mann Law, a Maine-based personal injury law firm for a free consultation. The team at Mann Law is well-versed at navigating the various layers of coverage provided by insurance companies no matter the circumstance of your accident.