Gaithersburg: 301-670-7030
Baltimore: 410-769-5400
Frederick: 301-668-2100
Contact Us For Legal Help

Auto Accident Blog

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

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.


Injuries while in uniform: Am I covered if I am injured in my own personal vehicle?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

It is a fact of life that police officers, on occasion, find themselves in their own personal vehicles but in uniform. Whether it is on the way in to the barracks, on the way home after a shift or for a multitude of other reasons, accidents and injuries do occur under these circumstances. The question arises, under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation law, as to whether these injuries are covered or “compensable.” Generally, the law provides that injuries suffered going to or coming from work are not compensable – this is the “going and coming rule.” Then there are the exceptions to the rule – many of which have created a great amount of litigation.

Act One – Montgomery County, MD v. Pamela Wade (1991) - Montgomery County police officer Pamela Wade was operating her marked police cruiser, off duty - not in uniform and on a personal errand – driving her mother to her grandmother’s house for dinner. She was rear-ended and injured significantly – so much so that she eventually had to retire on disability. The undersigned filed a Maryland workers’ compensation claim alleging that the use of the police cruiser, in full compliance with the County’s personal patrol vehicle program was a significant benefit to the County and that, as such, the “employer conveyance exception” to the going and coming rule applied. A jury and both Courts of Appeal agreed. Officer Wade’s injuries were therefore compensable under the law – and this rule has state-wide application for all law enforcement officers by virtue of the decision of the Court of Appeals.

Act Two – State of Maryland v. Oliver O. Okafor(2014) – Trooper First Class Oliver Okafor was operating his own vehicle, in uniform, while on his way in to the Forestville barracks on January 25, 2013. His purpose – to obtain a fleet vehicle for use on patrol because his assigned cruiser was disabled. The evidence demonstrated that the State provided Trooper Okafor with a take home cruiser for his use - and typically, the officer would call in upon entry of that cruiser - at his residence - that he was “in service.” When Okafor was involved in an accident and sustained injuries on January 25, 2013 while in route to the barracks, it was at a time when he would have been, but for the fact that his cruiser was disabled, operating the take home cruiser and in service. The Court of Appeals considered the “going and coming “rule but determined that the evidence supported a finding that the “free transportation” exception to the “going and coming” rule applied. When the State agreed to furnish free transportation to Okafor to and from work, Okafor’s work day started when his commute to work started and ended when that commute was over. Significantly, the Court noted that the injury would have been covered even if the free transportation was not being used at the time – because the employment begins, under this exception, when the work day began – at the beginning of the commute – whether it was by means of the “take home cruiser”, personal vehicle, or public transportation. (Note: The Court, in part, utilized a 1977 non-public safety case, Ryan v. Kasakeris, to reason that when the employer provides the commute, an injury occurring anywhere during the commute arises out of and in the course of the employment) The Okafor case made significant advances in coverage for law enforcement officers who are provided take home cruisers.

Act Three – The future? There can be no doubt that future cases will deal with accidents with other factual scenarios – such as injuries that occur while an officer, who is assigned a take home vehicle – is injured on his way to retrieve it at the County line – because he/she lives outside the County. Will this commute be compensable given the free transportation exception to the “going and coming” rule? We take the position that this commute is within the course of employment because law enforcement officers have jurisdiction state wide to exercise their powers depending upon the circumstances. If the officer would normally be using the take home cruisier, the fact that he/she lives outside the County and must retrieve it at the County line should be insignificant to the greater purpose of providing law enforcement services to the public at all times when the officer would normally be utilizing a police vehicle. Stay tuned.

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

RSS

What Our Clients Say

Known for our unwavering commitment to clients, for our integrity, and for delivering the best results, our clients continue to refer their friends, families and neighbors to us for their legal needs.


"One year ago today I made the call to your office. The best decision I could make. I wanted to share with you how impressed I am with your staff and your professionalism."

Heather P.


"Craig did a great job representing me! He's the lawyer I have trusted with my legal needs because he's professional, knowledgeable, and keeps me informed about my case."

Jaclyn K.


" wanted to thank you, in writing, for your kindness and prompt response. Customer service is a dying art, and you gave me hope for my family."

Karla


"I would like to express my gratitude for your efforts and dedication for my disability case. It's has been quite a long and upsetting process but you have handled my case in an extremely competent and responsible manner."

Leo H.


"I have recommended Mr. Feldman to several of my friends and colleagues and have heard nothing but excellent reviews. He is the best lawyer I have ever used."

Martin


"I received the check today. I could not believe it until I saw the check. Thank you so much. You have improved my family's quality of life tenfold."

Mike F.


"These guys go above and beyond! They always have your best interest in mind."

Mike W.


"I would like to express my thanks to Amanda Knott and Gretchen Rogers for their patience with me through my ordeal with my workers comp claim. I was impressed from the very beginning when I spoke with G. Rogers on the phone and although she did not have to, she met with me personally and walked me through the steps of what to expect in this process."

Mr Sagal


"You have been kind throughout this process and I appreciate your professionalism as well as your gentle concern. Thanks for helping us and all the others who need your legal expertise. We are grateful."

Nancy F.


"Thanks to Mr. Shultz's aggressive and professional work ethic style I was able to receive the medical services and compensation pertaining to my case."

Navdeep C.


"I can honestly say this firm is simply TOP NOTCH! They not only have handled countless cases for my members that require their services, they also have gone well beyond their "scope" to help some of my folks in other areas of need. "

Rick H.


"I wanted to compliment your law firm on having Amanda Knott as a paralegal. She worked tirelessly for almost 2 years making sure I understood what was happening and at the same time keeping all my records straight and in order, which allowed Gretchen Rogers to represent me in the best way possibl"

Terrye G


"The attention and professional care the staff has taken toward my needs has always been excellent. I have no complaints nor worries that my issues discussed are not addressed."

Tim T.


"I just got off the phone with Craig and let him know how thankful we are to you, him and Ken for all your efforts – you are all really terrific to work with!"

Val K.


Locations Throughout Maryland, Virginia & Washington DC

Gaithersburg Office

481 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301-670-7030 / 800-248-3352
Fax: 301-670-9492

Lutherville Office

1301 York Road, Suite 600
Lutherville, MD 21093
410-769-5400 / 800-248-3352
Fax: 410-769-9200

Frederick Office

30 W. Patrick Street, Suite 105
Frederick, MD 21701
301-668-2100 / 800-827-2667
Fax: 301-668-2000


TOP