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Auto Accident Blog

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.

How Much is My Auto Accident Case Worth?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

One of the most often asked questions from my clients is, “how much is my case worth?” The answer is, “it depends.” There are many different factors to consider to determine the value of a personal injury case.

First, it depends on your treatment. If you, for example, attend a few physical therapy sessions and feel better, your case will obviously be worth less than a case where someone underwent surgery.

Second, it depends on your injuries. If you suffered a fracture, your case is probably worth more than a case where the claimant suffered soft tissue injuries. The total cost of your medical treatment will also play a role in the value of your case. Without knowing the cost of your medicals, it is difficult to ascertain what your case is worth. Permanent injuries are also an important factor when examining the value of a case.

Third, did you lose time from work? If yes, your lost time from work should be included in your damages. Further, if you are no longer able to perform your job, or even work at all, a claim for future loss of earnings should be made.

These are only a few aspects of a personal injury claim that determine what a case is worth.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact Jaclyne Kartley for a free consultation today at 301-740-3313.

 

Police Reports: What Do They Mean?

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

In most counties in Maryland, if the police respond to a car accident, they will issue a police report, or more accurately, a Vehicle Accident Report, if someone is taken from the scene by ambulance, someone is arrested, or if a vehicle is towed. The issuance of a report, otherwise, is generally within the discretion of the responding officer. If no report is issued, the officer will usually provide a written information exchange form.

The important information in a police report or information exchange is generally the identity of the people involved, their addresses, and their insurance information. Both the report and the information exchange may provide witness information as well.

The accident report, unlike the simple information exchange, will also have information about the road, weather, and other similar conditions, and will give a description of the collision with a diagram. It is important to remember that the reporting officer is not a witness to the accident. The diagram and description may be based on several different descriptions of the collision. If a driver is “faulted” by the police officer, it does not necessarily mean that his or her insurer will accept responsibility for the collision.

How to Unsettle an Unfair Settlement

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The insurance companies and adjustors are not your friends. After an accident, they call and ask how you are doing, and they sound like they care, but they don’t. Well, they do, just not about you. They care about settling your case for a little money as possible, even if it is not fair to you.

The practice of insurance companies settling cases with unrepresented parties, right after an accident and even when in the hospital is so bad, that the State Legislature had to pass a law to protect Marylanders injured in car accidents.

Under Maryland Law, if you are not represented by an attorney and you settle your case within the first 30 days of becoming injured, you have 60 days to return the money and rescind the settlement in writing. If you are hospitalized, the insurance companies can’t even negotiate with you for the first 15 days after your injury.

This law is necessary because the insurance companies routinely try and settle claims immediately after car accidents in order to minimize their payments. Don’t talk to the insurance company until you call me.

Mind The Gap

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A few years ago, I had a client who fell down some steps at his apartment complex and injured his back. The cleaning company had just mopped the floor, but had not gotten around to putting up the wet floor signs yet. He began treating for his back, but then found himself in jail. The client received medical care for his back while in jail, and was released after approximately 2 months. I don't do criminal work, and I don't recall the details of his incarceration, except that it was for something minor. The client completed his care after his release and I was posed with a difficult question. When sending my demand to the cleaning company's insurance company, should I submit the medical records from the jail, or should I allow them to believe there was a gap in treatment?

Insurance adjustors aren't original, we know what defenses they will raise and what they are going to say. If you're injured in a car accident, the insurance adjustor will tell you that you treated too long, that your medical bills are too high, that the injuries you did not have 5 minutes before your car crash are somehow not related to the crash, and if there is a gap in treatment, you clearly were 100% better. In the world of insurance adjusting, there is nothing worse for a plaintiff than a gap in treatment.

So the question is, what constitutes a gap? Generally, it is span of time during active physical therapy or chiropractic care, where you miss appointments or don't seek treatment. It doesn't matter to the insurance company if you had to go out of town for work, if you had a death in the family, if there was snow, or if the provider was booked. If you miss appointments, they will tell you that the only possible conclusion is that you didn't need any more care, and that you are all better. Some benevolent adjustors will consider the circumstances of a gap if it is documented in the medical records, but they are few and far between.

For my client that fell down the wet stairs, it was better that the adjustor heard that my client was in jail than for her to think there was a gap. I was able to negotiate a fair settlement for the client.

The Ins and Outs of Roundabouts

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Roundabouts are circular intersections that typically don't use traffic signals to control the traffic. Instead, yield signs are placed at each entrance to the roundabout to alert drivers to approach the intersection with caution.

When you're moving towards a roundabout with a single lane surrounding the roundabout, reduce your speed. You're not required to come to a complete stop before entering the roundabout lane, however, you are required to use caution, keep to the right of the island, and only enter the roundabout when safe to do so. In other words, yield to the vehicles that are already in the roundabout. Additionally, look out for pedestrian crosswalks that may appear in the roundabout. If pedestrians are crossing in the roundabout, you must yield to them as you would in any crosswalk.

If you're approaching a multilane roundabout, you must stay in your travel lane. It is not safe to change lanes while traveling in the roundabout. Therefore, when you exit, you should be in the rightmost travel lane of the roundabout. To safely exit the roundabout, turn on your turn signal immediately after you pass the exit that is before your desired exit, and exit accordingly.

Help Protect Those Who Protect You

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

At some point while driving, I’m sure you’ve seen and heard authorized emergency vehicles traveling on the roadway. But what are you actually supposed to do when you encounter these vehicles that are responding to some incident? Here are the most important things you should to do when you encounter emergency vehicles with lights and sirens activated:

  1. Get as close as you can to the side of the road;
  2. Get out of any intersection; and
  3. Stay stopped until they have passed.

If you’re driving in the same direction as the emergency vehicle, don’t attempt to pass them! Not only is that illegal, it’s extremely dangerous for you, the emergency responders, as well as other drivers.

Lastly, if emergency vehicles are stopped on the roadway, you must safely pull into a lane that isn’t directly next to their vehicle. If that’s impossible, then you should slow down to a reasonable speed considering the conditions, or even stop if necessary.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call us for a free consultation at 301-670-7030.

Injured by a Distracted Driver

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Distracted driving is a huge problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of transportation, nearly 500,000 Americans are using their cell phones while driving every day. Scary, right?

Cell phones, however, are not the only culprit of distracted driving. Activities such as changing the radio station, applying makeup, or eating, all take your eyes away from the road and pose serious danger to other drivers. The solution, however, is simple. When you’re in the car, concentrate on driving!

But what happens when you’re the victim of distracted driving and get hurt? You should speak with a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the process immediately. Here at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP, our goal is to get you the compensation that you deserve. Without an attorney, you may not be getting all of the benefits you are entitled to.

Call Jaclyne Kartley today for a free consultation at 301-740-3313.

What Does a White Line On The Road Mean?

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

If you search Maryland statutes for the term “white line,” you might be surprised to find that white lane designation lines are only mentioned in reference to tunnels. So the question is, what is your obligation when faced with single or double white lines, and how are you supposed to know?

The Maryland Drive’s Manual taught us that solid white lines are used to mark the edge of the roadway and “the separation of lanes where travel is in the same direction, but where lane changing is discouraged.” But legally speaking, does that mean you can cross it, and what is the significance of lane changing being “discouraged?” The Maryland Driver’s Manual also addresses double solid white lines and tells us that double, or side by side, white lines are used for “separation of lanes where travel is in the same direction and lane changing is prohibited.” But again, if there is no law on the books, how can it be illegal to cross a double white line?

It turns out, the laws relating to single and double white lines are adopted by reference in the Maryland Transportation Code. Essentially, the State has adopted the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), published by the Federal Highway Administration. Instead of listing the laws in our code, Maryland law basically says it will follow the MUTCD. The language in the Maryland Driver’s Manual was then written to reflect the MUTCD, and that is then taught to all new drivers.

So, it turns out, you probably shouldn’t cross a single white line and definitely shouldn’t cross a double white line. You should remember, however, that crossing a single white line may not be a violation, but the result of crossing the might be. For example, if cross a single while line, you will not get a citation for that specifically, but you may fail to drive right of center, make an unsafe lane change, fail to drive on the travel portion of the roadway, or other similar violations that require you to first cross the line.

In Maryland, car accident injuries are the most common type of negligence claim. If you are injured in an automobile accident, the earlier you obtain an attorney, the greater benefits the attorney can provide. Contact us today at 301-670-7030 for a free consultation.

How Long Will It Take For My Auto Accident Injury Case To Close?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Auto injury accident attorney Craig Meyers of Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP shares his insight in the video below on how long auto accident injury cases can take to come to completion.  Learn more about Craig and our attorneys by visiting http://www.bsgfdlaw.com/our-attorneys.


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