Even though a car crash only lasts for an instant, the consequences of a serious wreck can linger for weeks, months, or even a lifetime. The catastrophic injuries caused by an accident can leave you feeling angry, frightened, and concerned about your future and the well-being of your family.
At The Bishop Law Group, our accomplished car accident lawyers understand the hardships you may be facing. Our attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience helping clients pursue the justice and compensation they deserve after a wreck caused by someone else’s negligence.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, call 410-390-3101 to discuss your case for free with an experienced lawyer. You are under no obligation to hire our firm following the initial consultation.
We handle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe us nothing unless we recover damages in your case. The Bishop Law Group proudly serves clients throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Ocean City, and other nearby areas.
Is It Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident lawyer is your personal advocate for justice. An experienced attorney will protect your rights, represent your best interests, and stand up to insurance companies that attempt to diminish, delay, or deny your claim.
Too many people make the mistake of facing insurance companies on their own. It’s important to remember that insurers are major corporations with vast resources and substantial legal sophistication. When you hire an experienced car accident lawyer, you level the playing field and give yourself the best possible chance at a fair outcome.
A car accident lawyer at The Bishop Law Group can:
Explain Your Rights and Legal Options
After suffering a serious injury, you should focus all of your efforts on healing, not researching laws and trying to figure out the legal process. A personal injury claim can be incredibly complex, and you have a limited amount of time to get it right. A car accident attorney can offer in-depth knowledge of applicable laws, explain your rights, and help to build your best case.
Investigate the Wreck and Gather Evidence to Support Your Case
In order to recover damages after a car wreck, you must prove that the other driver acted negligently. This requires evidence. Maryland is a contributory negligence state. If the plaintiff is at any percentage of fault, then the plaintiff can not recover.
An attorney will thoroughly investigate the facts in your case and gather evidence such as 911 recordings, police body-worn cameras, police reports, medical records, witness accounts, photographs, security camera videos, and more to strengthen and support your claim.
The attorneys at The Bishop Law Group utilize private investigators to go out and interview defendant drivers and take photos of accident scenes. We also issue preservation letters to drivers informing them of their duty to preserve all communications they made after the accident.
Calculate Your Current and Future Losses
Your compensation should reflect both the economic and non-economic losses you’ve incurred to date and the injury-related expenses that must be covered in the future. In addition to hospital costs (medical bills) and lost wages, you may also be eligible to pursue compensation for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and more.
Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Insurers are large corporations that are in the business of making profits, not paying out claims. Insurance companies use a variety of tactics to attempt to devalue and deny valid claims. A skilled attorney understands insurance company tactics and knows how to fight for a settlement that reflects the true value of your losses.
Take Your Case to Court If a Fair Settlement Cannot Be Reached
Many car wreck cases are settled before going to trial. However, when negotiations fail to achieve the full and fair compensation you deserve, it may be necessary to take your case before a judge or jury. At The Bishop Law Group, we are not intimidated by big insurance companies and their extensive legal teams. We are a trial lawyer firm. From the onset, we meticulously prepare every case as though it will ultimately go to court.
What Causes Car Wrecks?
A number of factors can lead to car crashes involving serious injury and death. Our seasoned attorneys can provide exceptional legal counsel with an array of cases involving negligence. The most common causes of car crashes include:
Distracted Driving Accidents
One of the leading causes of auto accidents in the United States, distracted driving involves any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of driving distractions:
- Visual distractions, which include distractions that take the driver’s eyes away from the road. This can include texting, looking at GPS directions, or staring too long at objects at the side of the road (such as billboards).
- Manual distractions, which take a driver’s hands off the steering wheel. This can include eating, grooming, or adjusting dashboard controls.
- Cognitive distractions, which involve drivers who allow their thoughts and attention to drift away from operating their vehicles. This can include “zoning out” or daydreaming while behind the wheel.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving continues to be a top cause of wrecks, injuries, and fatalities on American roadways. In fact, the CDC estimates that approximately 28 people die in drunk driving wrecks every day in the United States.
There are four main ways in which alcohol can negatively affect a driver’s ability to drive:
- Judgment: Drivers frequently need to make split-second decisions when behind the wheel. After consuming alcohol, even in relatively small quantities, a driver’s judgment becomes impaired. This significantly increases the risk of causing an accident.
- Vision: Clear vision is essential to safe driving. Alcohol use can blur a person’s vision, cause double vision, and impede the ability to focus. Someone’s vision can be impaired with a blood alcohol content (BAC) as low as 0.02 percent.
- Reaction time: Drivers must be able to react quickly to their surroundings. After drinking alcohol, a driver’s reaction time is lengthened, making drunk drivers less capable of processing information and responding in time.
- Color distinction: Color is used in traffic lights, signs, and other roadway markings to communicate important information to drivers. Alcohol consumption makes it difficult for drivers to distinguish colors, further increasing the risk of accidents.
Approximately 9,800 Maryland traffic accidents are attributed to speeding, causing more than 80 fatalities and 4,500 injuries every year. Speeding contributes to car accidents because it:
- Limits the effectiveness of airbags, safety belts, and other restraint devices
- Increases the likelihood of losing control of the vehicle
- Increases stopping distance after a potential hazard is identified
- Reduces the ability to safely steer around curves or objects
The risk of death, disfigurement, and serious injury doubles for every 10 mph over 50 mph that a vehicle travels. Passenger vehicles cannot withstand the extreme force of high-speed collisions well enough to ensure the safety and survival of occupants.
Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Accidents
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses to endanger other persons or property.” Aggressive driving is incredibly dangerous and often results in serious car wrecks, catastrophic injuries, and fatalities.
Aggressive driving includes behaviors such as:
- Failure to obey signs and traffic laws
- Attempting to confront other drivers
Aggressive driving and road rage have a clear legal distinction: Aggressive driving is a traffic offense and road rage is a criminal charge. Although aggressive driving is not road rage, it can quickly escalate to that level.
Being in a state of rage affects your ability to reason and make decisions. This means that an enraged driver is more likely to make mistakes and increase the risk of causing an accident.
According to Zero Deaths Maryland, aggressive driving was a factor in the following types of crashes in 2020:
- Fatal crashes: 55
- Injury crashes: 1,024
- Property damage crashes: 1,883
- Total crashes: 2,962
Of these 2020 Maryland wrecks, a total of 61 people were killed and 1,673 were injured.
Defective Vehicle Accidents
Manufacturers of automobiles and auto parts must comply with the NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations. Over the years, the NHTSA has recalled millions of vehicles and automotive parts for failing to meet these standards. When vehicle components fail on the road, the consequences can be devastating.
Examples of safety-related defects listed by NHTSA include:
- Tires or other vehicle parts that separate from the vehicle, fall apart, or break, causing the potential for a loss of vehicle control
- Seats or seatbacks that fail
- Windshield wiper assemblies that do not work properly
- Fuel system components susceptible to leaking and causing fires after a crash
- Steering equipment that breaks and causes loss of vehicle control
- Wheels that break or crack, causing loss of vehicle control
- Electrical system problems that cause fires or loss of lights
- Airbags that deploy at the wrong time
- Accelerators that break or stick
Automobile and auto parts manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their products are reasonably safe for drivers. When they fail in this duty, or fail to warn consumers about potential hazards, those who are injured as a result may be entitled to compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial losses.
Catastrophic Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in severe, life-altering injuries to virtually any part of the body. The following are some of the most common injuries suffered by car accident victims in Maryland:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, which occur when the brain is harmed by a piercing injury or a blow to the head. Roughly 50,000 people die from TBI every year, and another 80,000 to 90,000 suffer long-term disability.
Concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries are common after car accidents. However, early signs and symptoms of these injuries are often overlooked. Following an accident, consider the following questions and tell your attorney which, if any, of the following symptoms you have experienced:
- Did you hit your head during the incident?
- Do you have gaps in memory of the incident?
- Do you have persistent headaches?
- Have you been more forgetful?
- Are you having nightmares or flashbacks of the incident?
- Are you having issues sleeping?
- Do you feel more anxious?
- Do you feel more irritable or frustrated?
- Do you suffer from sensitivity to light or sound?
- Do you have feelings of panic or paranoia?
- Do you experience dizziness or blurred vision?
- Do you experience hearing loss or ringing in the ears?
- Do you have anger issues or crying spells?
- Do you have balance issues?
If you responded yes to one or more of these, share your experience with your car accident attorney and your doctor. You may be exhibiting signs of some type of TBI.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The impact of a serious car collision can cause long-term disability from spinal cord injuries. Damage to the spinal cord can result in partial or total paralysis below the level of the injury. The long-term expenses related to these devastating injuries can reach hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. The emotional toll of a severe spinal cord injury can be overwhelming.
Burn injuries are among the most painful, disfiguring, and emotionally devastating injuries a person can experience. When vehicles catch fire after a collision or if skin comes into contact with hot surfaces, chemicals, steam, or fluids, the occupants can suffer severe burns. Surgery and skin grafting are often necessary after a serious burn injury.
Severe damage to internal organs can occur when the body is hit by flying debris or the impact of a crash forces the body into an object. Internal bleeding from these types of injuries requires emergency medical treatment.
Car accidents can cause serious facial injuries as a result of shattered glass or impact with a steering wheel, airbag, windshield, side window, car seat, dash, or any hard surface. Facial disfigurement often requires surgical correction and may leave a victim with a permanent scar.
Arms, legs, fingers, toes, and other appendages can be severed in a car accident or damaged enough to require surgical amputation. These types of injuries can have a devastating, lifelong physical and emotional impact on victims.
What to Do After a Car Accident
The actions you take in the aftermath of a car accident can have lasting repercussions for your case and recovery. After an auto wreck, consider the steps below:
1. Check for Injuries
After any vehicle collision, your top priority should always be the health and safety of everyone in your vehicle. Check yourself and other passengers for signs of injury. If anyone involved in the wreck is hurt, call 911 immediately.
Help those you can, but do not give assistance that is beyond your training. Wait for emergency responders to care for the injured parties.
2. Report the Accident to the Police
Even if the accident was minor, a police report is crucial for proving liability and recovering damages for your losses. When officers respond to the accident, be fully cooperative but avoid admitting fault for the crash; the police report will play a vital role in your case.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may not know all of the facts that contributed to the collision. As such, it is best to keep your answers factual but brief. Do not hypothesize on fault when talking to the police.
If the crash resulted in the injury or death of a person and a police report is not filed, the accident must be reported to the Maryland Vehicle Administration within 15 days. Failure to do so could result in a suspension of your license.
Be careful what you say on 911 calls, as 911 calls are able to be introduced at the time of trial under hearsay exceptions rules. The Bishop Law Group has won many contested liability cases this way.
3. Gather Evidence
If you are able, document the scene of the accident and gather what evidence you can. It is best to take photos of the collision prior to the movement of any vehicles to show the precise location of where the collision occurred. Write down as much information as you can about the other vehicles and parties involved in the collision. Try to obtain the names of the drivers and passengers, as well as license plate and insurance information.
Once you have left the accident scene, it can be impossible to track down witnesses who can support your side of the story. Because of this, it is critical to get the names and contact information of any passersby or other drivers who may have seen what happened.
Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, vehicle damage, airbag deployment, broken windows, and areas on the road that may have skid marks or other signs of the crash. If you or your passengers have any visible cuts or bruises, take pictures of those as well.
4. Notify Your Insurer
You should always notify your auto insurance company after being involved in an accident. Prompt notification is often required by many insurance policies, and a failure to do so could risk your coverage.
When talking to your insurance company, be honest but mindful of what you discuss. Offer general information but avoid discussing fault and politely decline to give a statement until you speak with a car accident lawyer. The Bishop Law Group always requests that our clients never give statements to the insurance company unless we are on the phone with them.
5. Seek Medical Attention
If you are seriously hurt in a collision, emergency medical personnel will treat you at the scene and you will be transported to the nearest hospital as necessary. However, even if you do not find any obvious injuries or feel any immediate pain after an accident, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible. Although you may feel fine at the moment, symptoms for brain, neck, and spinal cord injuries may not manifest for days or even weeks after the accident.
Medical documentation will also play a crucial role in supporting your personal injury claim.
If you do pursue a personal injury lawsuit after the accident, a jury could see your delay in seeking medical care as a sign that you did not take your injuries seriously after the wreck. It is in your best interest – for both your health and your case – to seek medical attention promptly after a crash to identify the existence and severity of any potential injuries.
6. Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Not every situation requires the skill and knowledge of an experienced attorney. However, if the accident caused serious harm to you or a loved one, a reputable lawyer will be an invaluable ally in your personal injury case. Injury victims who are represented by an attorney tend to recover more in compensation than those who handle their claims themselves.
How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
No two injuries or accidents are the same. The value of car accident settlements varies from case to case depending on a number of factors. In addition to reviewing your medical expenses, your attorney will assess the ways your injury has affected your daily life by asking questions such as:
- Does the injury interfere with your normal, day-to-day life?
- Will you continue to have pain in the future?
- Is your ability to work affected?
- Has your injury caused you emotional anguish?
Depending on the details of your wreck and injuries, your lawyer may help you seek damages for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you lost someone you love in a car crash caused by someone else, you may be able to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover damages for funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, and more.
How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Car Accident?
The statute of limitations for a car accident claim in Maryland is generally three years. However, there are certain circumstances in which the time limit may be different. For example, minors involved in car accidents have the right to bring a lawsuit until the age of 21. Because of this, it’s important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer right away. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to recover the compensation you deserve because of a missed deadline.
In addition, the sooner you get started on your case, the sooner your attorney can conduct an investigation and gather evidence to support your claim. As more time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to build a compelling case: skid marks fade, witnesses move away or forget the details of your wreck, and it becomes harder to connect your injuries to the accident that caused them.
Why Choose The Bishop Law Group for Your Car Accident Case?
When you work with The Bishop Law Group, you will receive exceptional legal representation from your initial consultation to the completion of your case. Our attorneys will take the time to fully understand your situation and get to know how your injuries have affected you personally.
Many law firms take a one-size-fits-all approach to handling accident claims. At The Bishop Law Group, we know your case is as unique as you are. We believe that the best legal strategy is the one that is tailored to your specific situation.
When you work with The Bishop Law Group, you can expect:
- Experience: Our attorneys share more than 75 years of combined experience. We have served many clients throughout Maryland and helped them obtain the compensation they need to move forward. We understand the complexities of Maryland law and can provide the trusted legal counsel you need, whether at a negotiating table or in a courtroom.
- Preparation: We know that legal victories aren’t given; they are earned through meticulous preparation and hard work. We are trial lawyers. We prepare every case from the onset as though it will ultimately go to trial. We investigate every case thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned.
- Communication: We know how frustrating it can be to be left in the dark regarding your case. Our firm is committed to being available when you need us. We offer flexible appointment times because we understand not everyone is available during regular work hours or weekdays. When you work with us, you will be updated regularly on the status of your case. Our goal is to never go more than twenty-one (21) days without speaking to our clients.
- Integrity: Our firm’s mission is to never let our clients be overrun by an unfair system. We are lawyers for the people. We strive to provide exceptional representation to those we serve. When you work with our attorneys, you can expect honest, straightforward counsel. We won’t give you unrealistic expectations or false hope.
- Compassion. We are passionate about protecting the rights and well-being of our clients. We know that when people come to us, they are often confused, frightened, and vulnerable. We are dedicated to supporting you in your time of need. We will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and develop a legal strategy that meets your unique goals.
The Bishop Law Group has the experience, skill, and resources necessary to build a solid case on your behalf. We understand the hardships you may be facing, and we are committed to helping you pursue the justice you deserve with compassion and integrity.
If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one in a crash, please contact our car accident lawyers today at 410-390-3101 to schedule your free consultation. The Bishop Law Group serves clients in Baltimore, Ocean City, and other Maryland areas.