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Car accident injuries in Maryland are the most common type of negligence claim. An injured party may recover damages after proving:
- Who caused the car accident (defendant)
- The defendant was negligent
- The injured party (plaintiff) sustained damages including pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income, loss of consortium (impact on the marriage)
- The plaintiff's damages were caused by the car accident (proximate cause)
- The plaintiff was not negligent and did not assume the risk of injury (Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia law)
Typically, negligence claims occur when drivers:
- Run into the rear of another vehicle due to lack of attention
- Fail to yield the right of way
- Cross the center line of a road
- Turn left and cross oncoming traffic
- Drive drunk
Maryland automobile insurance has four major components:
- Liability coverage (required);
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (required);
- Property damage coverage (required); and
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) (
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage (optional)
When you are in an accident all four types of coverage may come into play. All vehicle owners are required to have at least thirty-thousand dollars of liability coverage per person, and sixty-thousand dollars of coverage per incident. The defendant's liability coverage is used to pay the plaintiff for her damages. In addition, the plaintiff's vehicle damage will be paid up to the approximate replacement value of the vehicle.
If the defendant does not have liability coverage (a violation of the law) or if the defendant's liability coverage is not enough, then the plaintiff's uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policy will pay all or part of the loss.
If the defendant was negligent, his or her property damage insurance will cover the Plaintiff's loss up to either the policy limits or the fair market value of the vehicle. If liability is denied, the plaintiff's insurance pays for property damage if the plaintiff purchased collision coverage.
Many Maryland automobile insurance policies contain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. These are no fault policies that pay up to a specified amount (usually $2,500 but it can be more) of the plaintiff's medical bills and lost wages. The money is paid by the plaintiff's insurance company and does not reduce the amount the defendant pays. Maryland PIP policies require that the application be filed with the insurance company within one year of the accident or the Plaintiff is forever barred from receiving PIP. The laws in the District of Columbia and Virginia are different.
How We Handle Car Accident Cases
You will be interviewed by an attorney and an attorney will remain responsible to you and in communication with you, throughout the case. We also utilize pre-litigation paralegals and litigation paralegals, working under the direction of your attorney, to assist you.
- Gather relevant insurance information from the defendant and you;
- Gather relevant medical records, medical bills and lost wage information;
- Assist with your PIP claim when appropriate;
- Obtain the police report and contact relevant witnesses
- Assist with property damage claims when appropriate; and
- Maintain contact with you.
Once your medical treatment is completed, we will prepare a written settlement demand and attempt to negotiate a settlement in your case. We are able to settle most cases, but if we are not able to settle your case, we turn to the litigation phase.
Maryland auto cases can be litigated in District Court or Circuit Court. District Court is in front of a judge, there is no jury. The advantage is that it is relatively quick and inexpensive to litigate. The disadvantage is that there are limits to the amount of money that can be claimed. A Circuit Court case is much more expensive to litigate and complex. The advantage is that the case is tried before a jury and there is no limit to the damage award other than Maryland's cap on pain and suffering. The disadvantages are that cases often take more than a year to resolve, a jury rather than a judge is not always a better choice, and due to the costs of litigation (mainly doctor fees for testimony) the net result to you in a smaller case may not be as good as the District Court option. Your attorney will carefully explain the options and the choice is yours.
We Look Forward To Helping You
The earlier you obtain an attorney, the greater benefit the attorney can provide. If you delay, at the very least:
- Do not sign any documents presented to you from the defendant's insurance company
- Do not sign any releases
- Do not give any recorded statements without the advice of counsel
- Save any relevant evidence
- If you are feeling any physical discomfort from your injury seek medical advice immediately
We are located in Gaithersburg, Lutherville, Frederick and Largo, but are easily accessible for residents of Rockville, Germantown, Olney and all other points in Montgomery County and Baltimore County.