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A: After a car accident, filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer is usually the first step. The insurance company will investigate the crash, but its top priority is protecting its own interests, not ensuring that you receive fair compensation.

In light of this, the insurance adjuster will work diligently to pay you as little as possible, and perhaps even deny your claim outright. You may be asked to make a recorded statement or sign a medical records release, both of which can be used against you.

If you do receive a settlement offer from the insurance company, it will probably be for much less than your claim is actually worth. If you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, you will lose your right to seek further damages in the future.

Before you accept any settlement offer, it is in your best interest to talk to a car accident attorney in Baltimore. An experienced lawyer can advise you on your rights and determine the full and fair amount that you may be able to recover through a lawsuit.

When your lawyer negotiates with the insurance company, he or she will account for the full value of the losses you suffered because of the car accident. These losses may include lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more.

Your attorney may be able to achieve a fair settlement through negotiations or the insurance company may refuse to adjust its initial offer. When this occurs, your attorney may advise that it is in your best interest to pursue fair compensation through trial.

A: Car accident cases can be extremely complicated, and require the knowledge, skill, and resources of a Baltimore car accident attorney with experience in these difficult matters. Depending on the details of your wreck, you may be facing pain and disability. You may be trying to cope with the long-term effects of mental and physical trauma. The insurance company may take advantage of your desperation and vulnerability and push you to settle your case for less than you need and deserve.

A seasoned attorney will advocate on your behalf and protect your rights. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company and represent you at trial if necessary. If you have been harmed in an accident, an attorney is an invaluable asset.

A: If a car wreck results in injury or death in Maryland, it must be reported by law. However, some Marylanders aren’t sure how long they have to report an accident-related injury in the state.

Under Maryland Law (M.D. Transportation § 20-107), “the driver of each vehicle involved in an accident that results in bodily injury to or death of any person shall, within 15 days after the accident, report the matter in writing to the Administration.” Anyone who fails to report a qualifying accident can face criminal charges.

Each driver of a vehicle involved in a crash is required to prove that they have car insurance with the accident report.

In most cases, it is best to contact the police after any accident. You may suffer from injuries that do not present immediate symptoms. You may not fully grasp the extent of your physical, financial, and emotional losses at the scene of the accident.

There is no penalty for calling authorities to the scene of a wreck that does not ultimatley require an emergency response. However, failing to contact the authorities could deprive you of a police report and possibly medical records, which could be crucial to building your accident claim against the at-fault driver.

A: All drivers in Maryland are required to carry minimum amounts of liability coverage. Driving without the required coverage is a misdemeanor criminal citation. This means that in addition to severe fines, drivers may lose their license and face time in jail. A conviction on a first offense can carry 5 points on a license, a $1000 fine, and up to one year in jail.

If the driver who caused your wreck doesn’t have car insurance, a car accident lawyer in Baltimore can explain other legal pathways to pursue damages.

For example, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company.

A: In personal injury cases – including car accident cases, Maryland follows a rule called contributory negligence. Under this rule, injured parties can be prohibited from recovering any damages for injuries if they contributed to the injury in any way. Even if a jury finds that victims are only 1% to blame for accidents, those victims will be barred from obtaining any compensation from the parties that were 99% to blame. This often makes personal injury cases uphill battles.

Most states in the U.S. adhere to the doctrine of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. Under this rule, liability is based on the percentage that each party contributes to an accident that causes injury. For example, say a jury finds that a plaintiff suffered $100,000 in losses due to a car accident. The jury also finds that the defendant in the case was 70% at fault for the accident (for an unlawful turn) and the plaintiff was 30% at fault (for driving while distracted). In this case, the plaintiff would receive $70,000 in damages from the defendant.

This is not the rule in Maryland.

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