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Auto Accident Blog

Exchanging Information Post Motor Vehicle Collision

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

After a motor vehicle accident, the majority of drivers exchange insurance information without issue. However, on occasion, some drivers will refuse to provide their automobile insurance details to the other driver.

Under Maryland law, after an accident, drivers are required to provide their insurance information to the other driver. This information includes the name and address of the insurance carrier, as well as the policy number.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision and the other driver refuses to provide you with their insurance information, you should call the police immediately. It is against Maryland law for drivers to refuse this information.

Have you been injured in an automobile collision? Did the other driver refuse to provide you with his or her insurance information? Call Jaclyne Kartley today for a free consultation at 301-740-3313.

Attorney Jaclyne Kartley

Call or email me with your questions:
Jaclyne Kartley
jkartley@bsgfdlaw.com

Local Government Tort Claims: What You Need to Know to Preserve Your Right to Recovery

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of negligence in which the local government may be liable for your injuries, there are several requirements for placing the at fault entity on notice to properly preserve your claim.

First, if you were injured while on local government property, e.g. at a local city park or playground, you must notify the appropriate official within one year after the date of your injury. If you fail to place the appropriate entity and/or individual on notice of your claim, you may lose your right to pursue your claim. Second, the notice to the government official must include the time, place, and cause of your injury.

Local Government Tort Claims are complex and require a skilled attorney to preserve your right of recovery. If you have been injured, call Jaclyne Kartley today for a free consultation at 301-740-3313.

Attorney Jaclyne Kartley

Call or email me with your questions:
Jaclyne Kartley
jkartley@bsgfdlaw.com

What to expect when you're expecting a judgement

Thursday, August 01, 2019

If your case does not settle or liability is denied, usually a lawsuit is the next step in your case. Understanding the litigation process can answer many of your questions and help you have a better grasp of what is to come in your case.

If your case is filed in a District Court in Maryland, here’s what you can expect from the inception of the lawsuit to the conclusion of the case:

  1. The lawsuit is filed;
  2. The Court will issue a trial date, as well as a summons for the Defendant(s);
  3. The Defendant(s) must be served with all pleadings and papers;
  4. The Defendant(s) are given the opportunity to file an Answer and/or other pleadings;
  5. Limited discovery is performed; and
  6. Trial is held.

You will note that each case is unique, and the above steps are merely a basic outline of the process of a District Court case. For example, after a lawsuit is filed, sometimes the Defendant’s insurance company will make an offer to settle the case and trial is no longer necessary. Additionally, a District Court case will typically conclude faster than a case that is filed in the Circuit Court.

If your case is filed in a Circuit Court in Maryland, here’s what you can expect from the beginning of the lawsuit to its conclusion:

  1. The lawsuit is filed;
  2. The Court will issue a summons for the Defendant(s);
  3. The Defendant(s) must be served with all pleadings and papers;
  4. The Court will issue a Scheduling Order, outlining due dates and deadlines. Depending on the county in which the lawsuit was filed, a trial date may or may not be reserved at this time;
  5. Discovery is performed;
  6. Depositions are taken;
  7. The parties attend mediation;
  8. A pre-trial/settlement conference is attended;
  9. Trial is held.

Again, each case is different and not all of the above bullet points will occur in that sequence, if at all. Circuit Court cases, generally speaking, are more in depth than District Court cases. The discovery that is requested in Circuit Court cases will require the Plaintiff to answer numerous questions and produce several documents to the Defendant.

Understanding the litigation process can help alleviate any stress that you may have regarding your case.

Have you been injured in an automobile accident? Call Jaclyne Kartley today for a FREE consultation at 301-740-3313.

Attorney Jaclyne Kartley

Call or email me with your questions:
Jaclyne Kartley
jkartley@bsgfdlaw.com

But it wasn't my fault! Why you should be using your health insurance

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A common misconception (and rightfully so) that most clients have is that they should not use their health insurance for medical treatment after they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. The reason they feel this way is because the accident was not their fault, so why should they use their health insurance? Shouldn’t the Defendant be paying?

This first order of business is to determine if you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your automobile insurance policy. If you need a refresher on PIP coverage, please read my previous blog, “First Party.” Briefly, using your PIP coverage cannot impact your rate, and it can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your case.

If you have PIP and it exhausts OR you do not have PIP insurance, the next link in the chain is YOUR health insurance. It’s important that all of your medical treatment is processed through your health insurance to ensure that your providers are paid for their services and also so you do not have large balances at the conclusion of your case.

Keep in mind that your health insurance will keep track of what it pays related to your case, and your insurer is required by law to be paid back from any settlement or judgment you receive.

Have you been injured in an automobile accident? Call Jaclyne Kartley today for a FREE consultation at 301-740-3313.

Attorney Jaclyne Kartley

Call or email me with your questions:
Jaclyne Kartley
jkartley@bsgfdlaw.com

Sudden Incapacity - Part 2

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

In my case, the claim was that the driver had been ill and passed out due to dehydration. I filed a lawsuit for my client and began the discovery process. I retained a medical expert to review the driver's medical records, which were inconsistent with someone who passed out due to dehydration. When I took the deposition of the driver, she admitted that she was not feeling well when she decided to drive, and that she rolled her window down to help her to stay alert. She was tired, and knew she was at risk for falling asleep.

After her deposition, we were able to rebut the defendant's claim that she passed out due to dehydration; her claim was more consistent with her falling asleep, and her medical records did not support a claim of dehydration. More importantly, after her deposition, it was clear that her incapacity was foreseeable; she knew she was at risk of losing consciousness, but instead of pulling over, she rolled the windows down to help her stay alert.

In the end, the defendant's defense of sudden incapacity failed, and we were able to get a very positive result for our client.

Sudden Incapacity - Part 1

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

I recently handled a case where my client was traveling down the road, minding his own business, when suddenly, and without warning, a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line and hit him head-on. The impact was big, and my client suffered significant and permanent injuries. When the police arrived, it was clear what happened, the vehicles were in my client’s lane; you would think this would be an easy case on the issue of liability. It was not.

I opened a claim for my client with the other driver’s insurance company, and to my surprise, I received a written denial. According to the insurance adjustor, their driver had suffered from dehydration, which caused her to pass out at the wheel. They were raising the defense of sudden incapacity, sometimes referred to as sudden medical emergency.

Sudden incapacity is a complete defense, meaning, if a defendant can prove that they suddenly became incapacitated and that the incapacity was not foreseeable, they are not responsible for whatever injury they cause. For example, if a person has a heart attack or stroke while driving, they cannot be found negligent nor held responsible if they cause a motor vehicle collision. The exception is that if they knew or should have known it was unsafe for them to drive, then they cannot raise the defense. That means if someone with a seizure disorder knows they might have a seizure, but decides to drive anyway, and then has a seizure causing a collision, the driver can be held liable.

Child Safety Seats

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Car seats for children have been around since at least the 1930s, but they weren't necessarily designed for safety, they were more for child storage. Over times the seats evolved and relics such as travel cribs for your car fell out of use.

In the 1970s, when I was a child, it was not unusual for people to not wear seatbelts. In fact, when I was young, I would often sit on the floor in the back of the car or lie across the entire back seat. We didn't have child safety seats. When the 1980s came, my family switched to always using seatbelts. It’s almost funny, looking at the current seatbelt law and remembering my childhood, because I specifically recall being strapped into the middle seat in the back of a car, two kids to a single seatbelt. But I can barely remember seeing car seats.

As time has passed, we've learned a lot about safety, and the importance of car seats. Child safety seats are mandatory in Maryland. This means that if you are transporting a child under the age of 8, in a vehicle, that child must be in a child safety seat, unless the child is 57 inches or taller. Children under 16 years of age must be transported in a car seat (that law really says that), or they must wear a seat belt.

Move it on Over, Slide it on Over

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The law regarding a driver’s duty relating to emergency vehicles changed in October of 2018. On the approach of an emergency vehicle with lights a sirens, you are required to pull to the side of the road and let the emergency vehicle pass. Everyone knows that. The change to the law, is what has been described as the "Move Over" law.

Motorists in Maryland now have a duty to, as the classic artist George Thorogood might describe it, "move it on over, slide it on over." Or more specifically, when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the highway, with its lights flashing, you must, if possible, make a lane change to an available lane that is not directly adjacent to the emergency vehicle.

The failure to make the required lane change carries a one point and a fine from $110 to $750 fine.

Is That a Hawk?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I saw something recently that I had not seen before. There is a crosswalk I pass every day on the way to work at an intersection with no traffic light. The roadway has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour, so it wasn’t the safest place to cross, but there was a crosswalk nonetheless.

Recently, the County added the strangest looking traffic control device I had ever seen. The signal sits dark unless activated, after which, there are two horizontal red lights that sit over a single yellow light. There is no green signal. It was so strange looking that I decided to do a little bit of research. The signal is not addressed in the Maryland driver’s manual, however, I checked the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and adopted by the State of Maryland, and there it was.

The funny looking traffic control device was a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, also called a HAWK (High-intensity Activated crossWalK). The acronym might be a bit of a stretch.

The signal remains dark until a pedestrian activates the beacon (hits the walk button). After it is activated, the sequence is as follows: flashing yellow, steady yellow, dual steady rad, alternative flashing red, and then dark again. I reviewed several studies, and it appears to be very effective in protecting pedestrians in locations that do warrant full traffic signals.

The Boulevard Rule

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Maryland Boulevard Rule holds that motorists on a through highway have the right of way over vehicles entering the road from side streets, driveways, and similar locations. The Court summed it up pretty succinctly: "The purpose of the Boulevard Rule is to 'facilitate the free flow of traffic on major thoroughfares by preventing interruptions or delays and insuring the safety of the drivers there."

This means that vehicles entering the roadway, whether from a side street, driveway, dirt road, shoulder, or other similar location, must yield to vehicles already on the roadway. It is not uncommon, however, for a motorist who enters a main road from a parking lot, for example, to claim that the car on the main road "came out of nowhere" or was speeding. Under the Boulevard Rule, the Court will not consider speed as long as the vehicle already on the roadway is there lawfully. As the Court of Appeals describes it, they will generally not consider "nice calculations of speed, time or distance lest the purpose of the boulevard rule, to accelerate the flow of traffic over the through highway at the permitted speed, be thwarted."

In short, the vehicle on the main road has the right of way over vehicles entering the main road. It does not matter how fast that vehicle is travelling, unless the speed is extremely excessive.

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