Maryland Car Accident FAQs
Q: What Steps Should I Take Immediately after an Accident?
A: The steps you take immediately following an auto accident are very important. In order to help ensure that you receive just compensation for any injuries and/or property damage you and your vehicle have sustained, you must be able to prove fault.
Step 1: If you are seriously injured, seek immediate medical attention! Your health is your top priority. If you have suffered only minor injuries, you should still seek medical attention, but can do so after these next steps.
Step 2: Call the police. Having an official police report will help you when the time comes to file a claim with the insurance company.
Step 3: Use your phone or camera to take pictures of the scene. Be sure to take pictures of any damage to your vehicle and any injuries you may have suffered.
Step 4: Take witness statements and write down witness contact information.
Step 5: Contact an attorney. Getting all the necessary information after a collision is one thing, but obtaining the compensation you need to recover from the crash is another. Having the skills and resources of a knowledgeable lawyer at your disposal will help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Q: What Are the Common Causes of Car Crashes?
A: Auto accidents may be caused by a number of different factors. These include:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver error
- Speeding and other forms of reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Defective equipment/parts
- Failing to obey right-of-way laws
- Hazardous roadways
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Q: When Can Victims Recover Compensation for their Injuries?
A: Car accident victims are legally entitled to compensation when the crash in which they were involved was the result of someone else’s negligent conduct. Negligence occurs when a person fails to use the degree of care that would ordinarily be used by a person in the same or similar circumstances. In addition, under Maryland law, when a person violates a statute and that violation results in the type of harm that the statute was enacted to prevent, that violation is evidence of negligence. Driver conduct that is almost invariably considered negligent:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Texting and driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Following too closely
- Failing to adequately maintain a vehicle
- Failing to use headlights at night or when otherwise required
- Ignoring poor weather conditions
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
As a car accident victim, remember that it’s not just other drivers that can cause serious accidents. In some cases, the negligence of a vehicle manufacturer or the state agency responsible for the design and maintenance roadways could cause a serious accident. In many cases, accidents caused by these parties are single-vehicle accidents, leading many victims to wrongly assume that their accident was their fault. For this reason, it’s critical for all accident victims to have their case reviewed by an experienced attorney, even if no other vehicles were involved. If you don’t, it’s possible that you’ll miss out on significant compensation for your accident-related losses.
Q: Do You Need an Attorney if the Insurance Company Has Indicated That It Intends to Settle Your Case?
A: If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident and have not yet retained an attorney, there’s a good chance that you’ve already by contacted an insurance company looking to settle your case. The fact that the insurance company isn’t contesting liability and is offering to write a check often gives victims the mistaken impression that there’ no reason to consult with a lawyer.
As a car accident victim, it’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company that you’re dealing with is a for-profit business and, as a result, is doing everything it can to settle your claim for as little as possible. Some of the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize their payout include the following:
- Pressuring victims to provide a recorded statement in order to help them “process” their claim. In reality, insurance companies take these statements in an effort to trick victims into saying things that they can use to justify a lower settlement offer.
- Taking an unreasonable amount of time to make a settlement offer, knowing that victims’ medical bills and other expenses are piling up, knowing that financial pressure will make it more likely that victims will settle for less.
- Requesting overbroad medical record authorizations, hoping to find anything in victims’ pasts that could be used as evidence of pre-existing injuries or conditions.
- Misrepresenting the damages that victims are legally entitled to seek. An adjuster may imply that victims are not entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering or that your compensation is capped at a certain amount.
Car accident victims need to retain a lawyer to represent them during settlement negotiations. An attorney will be able to assess the value of your claim and present evidence of your damages to the insurance company, putting pressure on them to settle your case for what it is actually worth. Furthermore, when you retain an attorney, the insurance company knows that there’s a more realistic possibility that you will sue if they do not make a reasonable settlement offer, significantly strengthening your position in negotiations.
Q: What Are Maryland’s Cell Phone Laws?
A: Distracted driving occurs in many forms and causes thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year. One form of distracted driving is using a cell phone while driving. In order to decrease the number of cell phone accidents in Maryland, the state enforces the following laws:
- Hand-held cell phone ban for ALL drivers (including school bus drivers);
- Text messaging ban for ALL drivers; and
- Complete cell phone usage ban for young/provisional drivers (including hands-free phones).
If a driver is in violation of any of these laws and causes an accident, victims will likely be able to recover compensation for their crash-related losses.
Q: Can I Still Obtain Compensation after a Hit and Run Accident?
A: Hit and run collisions can be complicated. If the hit and run driver is caught, then you can pursue compensation through insurance and civil action as you would for any other crash. However, the unfortunate reality is that many hit and run drivers are never caught. In this situation, you would obtain compensation from the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of your own auto insurance policy. The bad news is that insurance companies are in the business of making money and will look for any reason to deny or not pay out the full amount, even for a legitimate claim. If you have been injured by a hit and run driver, the first thing you should do, after seeking medical attention, is contact the police to report the incident, and then speak to a Maryland hit and run attorney at (844) 632-7274.
Q: How Much Will Legal Representation Cost Me?
A: If you’re like many car accident victims, you are concerned about how much it’s going to cost to retain an attorney to represent you. This is understandable, particularly when you’re looking at medical bills, lost income, and the other losses that victims commonly incur. Fortunately, you can retain an attorney with no up-front costs. The lawyers of Alpert Schreyer will review the facts of your case at no charge and advise you as to whether you may have a claim. In addition, we will never collect legal fees from you unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. By using this type of contingent-fee arrangement, we ensure that car accident victims can get the legal representation they need regardless of their ability to pay.
Contact Alpert Schreyer, LLC Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Maryland Car Accident Attorney
If you suffered an injury in a car accident, it’s in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as you can. The lawyers of Alpert Schreyer are dedicated to helping car wreck victims obtain the compensation to which they are entitled under Maryland law and will not hesitate to take a case to court if justice demands it. To schedule your free case evaluation, call our office today at 866-444-6363 or contact us online.