A Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Fighting for Fair Compensation

Car accidents are common; thankfully, most result in only minor injuries. Unfortunately, there are accidents that result in very serious injuries and, in some cases, death. Accident victims and their families face incredible challenges following their accidents, ranging from getting the medical treatment they need to recover their lost income. If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, a Maryland car accident lawyer can help you rebuild your life.

A Baltimore Area Car Accident Lawyer Handling All Types of Car Accident Cases

Understanding how the type of accident impacts your claim is vital to a successful case. We have been helping people injured in car accidents in the Baltimore region for over 30 years. During that time span, we have handled all types of car accident cases, including the following:

Whatever type of accident you are involved in, an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer can explain your options and help you get the compensation you deserve.

What You Need to Prove in Your Car Accident Case

Even if you are certain the other driver is at fault, you must prove your case. In order to get the compensation you deserve, you will need to prove the following three elements:

  • That the other driver owed you a legal duty, generally speaking, all drivers have a legal obligation to drive safely and make a reasonable effort to avoid causing an accident.
  • That the other driver breached that duty, in most car accident cases, drivers breach their legal duty to drive safely when they drive negligently.
  • The other driver’s breach of their duty caused the accident that resulted in your injury. There must be a direct causal connection between their negligence and your injuries.

In most car accident cases, the main challenge lies in proving that the other driver was negligent in some way. However, the other party may claim that you had pre-existing injuries or that the treatment you received was not medically necessary. An experienced Maryland car accident lawyer will know how to prove your case so that you can get the compensation you deserve.

Most Car Accidents Are Caused by Negligence

Negligence is the failure to take due care to avoid causing reasonably foreseeable accidents, as measured by the perspective of a reasonably prudent person in the same or very similar situation. For example, a reasonably careful person may do their best to follow all traffic laws while driving or reduce their speed during inclement weather. Here are some common examples of driver negligence that frequently lead to car accidents:

Identifying the cause of the accident is not always easy, and proving the cause of the accident can be even more difficult. This is particularly true for people who have been seriously injured. If you have been injured in an accident, a Maryland car accident lawyer can determine whether the other driver is at fault and what evidence you will need to build a strong case.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Modern cars have multiple standard safety features that do a tremendous job of keeping the driver and passengers safe in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, injuries are still common, some of which can be life-changing. We routinely handle car accident cases involving the following types of injuries:

  • Back and Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Concussions and head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Facial, dental, and eye injuries
  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments and tendons
  • Internal organ damage
  • Severe lacerations

In recent years, we have also come to better understand the impact car accidents can have on the victim’s emotional and psychological well-being. People who are involved in serious car accidents are commonly diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Whatever injuries you have suffered in your accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you have health insurance, you may have significant out-of-pocket expenses, including copays and deductibles. For those without health insurance, hiring a Maryland car accident lawyer may be the only way to get the compensation you need.

Proving the Cause of Your Accident Is Critical to Your Case

While the type of accident is essential to building a strong case, identifying and proving the cause is even more important. It is not uncommon for the people involved to be unsure of exactly what happened. Even if you are certain that the other driver was at fault, you will need to provide evidence that proves that they were at fault. Some of the things that can help you prove your case include the following:

  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Accident reports prepared by the police
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident
  • Photographs of the damage to your vehicle
  • GPS tracking data
  • Video footage from either dashboard or traffic cameras
  • Accident reconstruction experts

Some items will be easy to obtain, while others may be more difficult. For example, you can get a copy of the accident report from the police. Footage from a traffic camera may require a subpoena. Accident reconstruction experts can be expensive, but a Maryland car accident lawyer will know if one is necessary and when is the right time to hire them.

What to Do if You Have Been in a Car Accident

At the Scene, Immediately Following the Accident

It is normal to feel disoriented and overwhelmed in the moments following a car accident, especially if you have been injured. To the extent that you are able to, try to take the following actions immediately following your accident:

  • Contact the police. You and the other driver should remain at the scene until they arrive. Do not allow the other driver to talk you out of calling the police. The police can secure the scene and redirect traffic to keep you safe. They can also generate an accident report, which can be very helpful later on.
  • Request an ambulance If you think you may be injured.
  • Get contact information. Get the names, phone numbers, emails, and addresses of the other driver and any witnesses to the accident.
  • Exchange insurance and other information. The easiest way to do this is to use your phone to take pictures of the other driver’s insurance card, driver’s license, and plate numbers.
  • Take lots of pictures. Capture pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and the scene of the accident. Consider also taking pictures of anything else that may be relevant, such as signage or road hazards.

These actions can help you build a strong case if you later need to pursue a claim. However, it is completely understandable if you were unable to take these steps if you were seriously injured or simply overwhelmed. An experienced Maryland car accident lawyer will know what to do to help you get the compensation you deserve.

In the Days Following Your Accident

To the extent that you are able to, here are some steps you can take to protect your rights in the days and weeks following your accident:

  • Get a thorough medical exam. Even if you were treated at the scene or immediately afterward, you should schedule an appointment for a thorough exam following the accident. Schedule a follow-up examination if your symptoms worsen, or you begin to experience new symptoms.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders. Many people undermine their claims by failing to follow the recommended treatment. As a result, stay home from work or stay in bed if your doctor recommends.
  • Report the accident to the insurance company. Contact your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company to inform them of the accident. Limit your comments to things like the date and time of the accident. Do not discuss who you think is at fault or the extent of your injuries. Anything that you say to the insurance company may be used against you.
  • Get statements. Contact the witnesses to the accident and ask them to provide statements about what they saw.
  • Get a copy of the police report. The officer at the scene should have given you their card and may have given you instructions for obtaining the report. If not, contact the non-emergency number for the police.
  • Track your lost income. Keep a log of any days or hours you didn’t work or leave that you used. It may be helpful to gather all of your pay stubs from the past few months for comparison purposes.
  • Track your accident-related expenses. You may be entitled to compensation for any expenses you incur as a result of your accident. For example, you should keep receipts for transportation expenses because you cannot drive your car.
  • Keep copies of all medical bills and records related to your accident. This includes any bills or records from the hospital, your primary care physician, emergency services, pharmacies, physical therapy, or rehabilitation.
  • Keep copies of any and all correspondence related to your accident. This includes letters, emails, and any other paperwork you receive or generate regarding your accident.

This can be an overwhelming amount of documentation to keep track of. This is one of the ways that a car accident lawyer can help – they can gather and organize all of the documentation you will need to support your claim.

Contact a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Before It Is Too Late

Maryland law requires that any lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident be filed within three years of the date of the accident. This deadline is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” If you do not file your lawsuit within three years of the date of your accident, you will lose all of your rights to compensation, regardless of how strong your case may be. This deadline applies even if you do not plan to go to court, as you will have no way to compel the other driver or their insurance company to accept your claim.

Three years gives you plenty of time to determine the extent of your injuries and other losses and whether you need to pursue compensation. The problem is that the longer you wait, the harder it may be to gather the needed evidence. Paperwork can be difficult to locate. Witnesses’ memories can fade. Other parties to the accident can move or even pass away. The reality is that you could jeopardize the value of your case by waiting until the three-year deadline has almost expired.

The sooner you contact an attorney, the stronger your case will be. They can help you gather the evidence you need and navigate the claim process so that you can focus on your recovery. In addition, the sooner you pursue a claim, the sooner you can get the compensation you need to rebuild your life.

A Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Explains Contributory Negligence

A common defense that you may encounter is where the other driver claims that the accident was either partially or wholly your fault. This is sometimes referred to as a “contributory negligence” defense, and it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.

Maryland is one of only five states (including the District of Columbia) that follows the “pure” contributory negligence rule. The rule is that if your negligence contributed to the accident in any way or to any degree, you are barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries or other losses. An example may help explain how the rule works:

  • You are injured in a t-bone accident in an intersection when the other driver runs a red light.
    It was determined that you exceeded the speed limit by approximately 10 miles per hour.
  • You file a lawsuit against the other driver because you suffer a broken leg and are unable to work for several weeks.
  • Even though it is determined that the other driver did run the red light and was negligent, you are unable to receive any compensation because you were speeding.

Because the contributory negligence rule tends to lead to unfair outcomes, most other states have adopted some version of the rule that accounts for contributory negligence but does not lead to such harsh results. That said, it is important to note that the other side must prove two things in establishing a contributory negligence defense:

  • That you were negligence in some way and
  • Your negligence contributed to the accident, i.e., there is a causal connection between your negligence and the accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident and the other driver claims it is your fault, you should contact a Maryland car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to determine whether the other driver has a valid contributory negligence defense and whether they can prove these elements.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If you have suffered severe injuries as a result of a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the following:

  • Damage to your vehicle. The at-fault driver may be liable for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle.
  • Your current and future medical expenses. This includes bills for any treatment arising from your accident, including ambulance costs, emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, outpatient treatment, medication, and physical and rehabilitative therapy. It can also include the cost of medically necessary equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, or ramps. If you suffer from psychological trauma, you may be entitled to compensation for any mental health therapy or counseling you receive.
  • Your current and future lost income. You may be entitled to compensation for any wages or other income you lost because you could not work or had to take time off to receive medical treatment. If you are facing a permanent disability, you may be able to seek compensation for your loss of expected earnings, loss of retirement income, and other benefits you would have earned if you had continued working.
  • Your pain and suffering. Maryland law allows accident victims to seek compensation for the physical pain and mental anguish they have suffered as a result of their injuries. This can include feelings of loss, sadness, anger, anxiety, frustration, and grief, in addition to physical sensations of pain and discomfort. Because these are non-economic damages, they are more difficult to prove than economic losses such as medical bills or lost income, especially for non-lawyers.
  • Any other financial losses you have suffered. You may be entitled to compensation for any other financial losses you suffer as a result of your accident. For example, you may be entitled to compensation for increased transportation costs if you cannot drive as a result of your injuries.

Many non-lawyers wind up settling their case for far less than it is worth simply because they do not know what their claim is worth. Unfortunately, they later discover that the compensation they received from the insurance company does not cover all their losses, leaving them with bills they can’t pay. A Maryland car accident lawyer can estimate your case is worth so that you can get all of the compensation you need.

A Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions

Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement?

You may be surprised by how quickly the insurance company offers to send you a check to cover your initial medical bills and other losses. They may not call it a settlement offer, and it may not sound like they are settling your claim. Regardless, you need to understand that the insurance company is offering this payment as a full and final settlement of your claim. In other words, you are not entitled to any additional compensation if you accept the check. Furthermore, you will be unable to pursue any additional compensation even if your losses are greater than you anticipated.

If you have been offered compensation by an insurance company, the best thing to do is contact a Maryland car accident lawyer for help before you accept it. They can review the offer with you, evaluate it, and help you decide whether it is fair or not.

Will I have to go to court?

Most people are understandably hesitant to go to court. The good news is that most personal injury cases settle long before trial, and many cases settle without even needing to file a lawsuit. In this situation, the accident victim and the insurance company come to an agreement over how much compensation the victim should be paid.

Of course, there are no guarantees that your claim will be settled without litigation. Your case may involve complex factual or legal issues that are difficult to resolve outside of court. Insurance companies can sometimes be unreasonable or even act in bad faith. While it is difficult to predict whether you will need to go to court, a Maryland car accident lawyer can evaluate your case and identify whether there are any specific issues that may make it difficult to resolve without litigation.

How does the settlement process work?

The settlement process begins by making a written demand upon the insurance company setting forth the specific amount of compensation you believe you are entitled to for your injuries and other losses. The insurance company will then either reject your demand or respond with a counteroffer.

Your only option is to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to pay the amount demanded. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that settlement is impossible. Filing a suit may prompt the insurance company to enter into earnest settlement discussions to avoid a costly trial.

If the insurance company responds to your demand letter with a counteroffer, this means that the insurance company is willing to negotiate. Once they make a counteroffer, you can then decide whether to reject the counteroffer or make your own counteroffer. It could take weeks or months to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Settlement negotiations can fail for a variety of reasons, so litigation is still a possibility, even if the insurance company initially seems to be willing to negotiate.

Contact a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a car accident in the Baltimore area, a Maryland car accident lawyer from Timothy A. Dachille & Associates can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today via phone or email to schedule a free consultation.

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Timothy A. Dachille and Associates

20 South Charles Street, Suite 1102
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Call - 410-752-2325

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