6 Most Common Mistakes When Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Broken Arm for Personal Injury Case

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to compensation – especially if the accident wasn’t your fault. But before you start the process of filing a personal injury claim, here are some potential pitfalls to avoid.

1. Not getting immediate medical attention. Even if you don’t need emergency treatment and you don’t think the injuries you’ve suffered are serious, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. A thorough medical examination might uncover some issues that weren’t immediately apparent when the accident occurred. Plus, medical records and doctors’ reports serve as proof of your injuries, which can strengthen your case when filing a claim.

2. Not contacting the police or filing a report. If you’re in a car accident, it’s not enough just to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver (or drivers) involved. Call the police and have them investigate the scene and create a report. That way, you have an official, impartial account of what happened, so there’s no possibility that anyone can dispute it. (If you’re physically able to do so, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the scene as well.)

3. Posting on social media. Personal injury can be traumatic, and it’s tempting to share your situation with friends and loved ones as a means of gaining their support and keeping them updated on your recovery. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters or those representing the people on the “other side” of the accident will likely be checking your social media accounts to see if they can use what you’ve posted as proof that your injury isn’t as serious as you say it is. That’s why it’s better to keep the details of your accident and injuries private while you’re in the process of filing a claim. (Be sure to ask your family and friends not to post about anything related to the accident, either.)

4. Missing the statute of limitations. In Anne Arundel County and throughout Maryland, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years. You might think that’s plenty of time, but the truth is that these claims sometimes take a long time to negotiate – and the last thing you want to worry about is not having enough time to take care of everything.

5. Talking to insurance adjusters and signing a settlement agreement too quickly. After your injury, don’t be surprised to get a call from an insurance adjuster. The adjuster will ask you a lot of questions about your injuries and even ask for access to your medical records. Often they will try to get you to record a statement about how you’re feeling, or convince you to sign a settlement agreement. Don’t do it! These people definitely don’t have your best interests at heart. Even if it seems like a good deal, a settlement agreement, once signed, is very difficult to overturn (plus, signing one bars you from filing any future claims related to your accident). Keep your responses to an absolute minimum and tell them to speak to your attorney. Which brings us to our last mistake to avoid…

6. Not hiring a qualified attorney. Let’s face it – accidents and injuries are stressful. In the aftermath of your accident, you may be dealing with physical and emotional pain, loss of income and expensive medical bills. You have enough to manage without the anxiety of talking to insurance companies and trying to figure out the ins and outs of filing a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney relieves this stress by managing the process from start to finish. And you can feel secure in the knowledge that your lawyer is on your side, fighting for the compensation you deserve.

If you have been involved in an accident in Anne Arundel County, a lawyer can help you determine the next steps regarding filing a personal injury claim. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.

What Are Some Common Injuries from Truck Accidents?

18-wheeler Parked in Maryland

Have you ever been on the highway and found yourself surrounded by trucks on all sides? It’s actually pretty rare not to see a lot of trucks on major roads these days – they’re an integral part of everyday life, providing crucial goods and services to people and businesses here in the Annapolis area and all over the country.

But if your blood pressure rises and your hands grip the wheel a little tighter when you’re driving near a truck, you’re not alone. Truck accidents have been on the rise over the last decade or so – and a collision with a truck can have life-altering consequences.

There are a few reasons why trucks can cause particularly serious accidents. First, consider how big and heavy they are; an 18-wheeler/tractor trailer can weigh 10 times as much as a regular car (or more), so getting hit by one is bound to result in some damage. In addition, large trucks can have blind spots where the driver can’t easily see what’s going on behind or beside them. And a truck’s size makes it harder to maneuver than cars, so it’s trickier for truck drivers to quickly avoid dangerous situations.

So what are the most common truck accident injuries? Let’s break them down below.

Head injuries. Truck accidents frequently result in head injuries, given how large trucks are and the force with which they hit other cars. Concussions (jolts or blows to the brain that cause it to move back and forth) are the most common of these types of injury, and can be debilitating if they’re serious. Other head injuries include contusions (bruises to the brain) and hemorrhages (bleeding in the brain due to ruptured blood vessels).

Neck, back and spinal injuries. If you’re hit from behind by a truck, your head and neck are likely to snap forward while your back, which is supported by your seat, stays in place – an injury commonly known as whiplash. Even with seat support, back and spinal injuries are common in truck accidents; a side-impact crash could twist your back, herniating the discs in your spinal cord. A serious impact could even fracture one or more of your vertebrae, causing chronic pain and potentially affecting your ability to walk.

Broken bones. Speaking of fractures, broken bones are a frequent outcome of truck accidents. While your bones are relatively strong, they’re not strong enough to withstand the force of being hit by a vehicle weighing over 50,000 pounds. Arms, legs and ribs tend to suffer the most damage after a collision with a truck.

Cuts and lacerations. Considering all of the debris that flies around as the result of an impact, it’s not surprising that cuts and lacerations are a common injury in trucking accidents. And while you’d probably consider yourself lucky to escape a crash with nothing more than cuts, you still have to make sure they’re properly treated. Left alone, serious lacerations can cause infections, skin damage or permanent disfigurement.

Burns. Burn injuries occur often in truck accidents because trucks can leak fuel after a collision. The leaking fuel is then ignited by other parts of the vehicle, like a hot engine, resulting in a fire and burn risks for vehicle occupants. Or a truck might be carrying flammable cargo like gasoline or explosives, which can be catastrophically dangerous if ignited.

If you’ve been in a truck accident in Annapolis and you believe the other driver is at fault, a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.

Personal Injury Claims in Prince George’s County, MD

Being injured in an accident is an overwhelming experience. In addition to the physical and emotional pain you’re likely feeling, you might be wondering if someone else is at fault for your injury – and if so, whether or not you have a right to compensation. So how do you know if you have a valid personal injury claim? Let’s talk through some of the criteria.

There was a clear violation of duty of care.

First things first: what is duty of care? Basically, it refers to a person’s (or employer’s) responsibility to act reasonably and to avoid doing anything that might cause harm to others. For example, let’s say you work in a factory operating heavy machinery. The factory owners have a duty of care to ensure that the equipment you use is safe and well-maintained. If you are involved in an accident because the machinery is faulty, then your employers have violated a duty of care with their negligence, and you have a solid case for a personal injury claim.

Your injury was caused by someone else’s recklessness.

Recklessness is still considered a violation of duty of care, but it takes things a step further than negligence, because it asserts that someone knowingly violated their duty of care. If you’re in a car accident and the other driver was speeding, texting or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can argue that they behaved recklessly (because they knew beforehand that their actions were dangerous and illegal).

Your injury led to personal and/or professional damages.

If your injury cost you money in medical bills or forced you to miss work and lose wages, you can argue that you are entitled to compensation from the responsible party – basically, repayment for the long-term damages that the injury has caused you. Of course, you’ll need to prove these damages with medical records and communications from your employer.

What next?

The best thing to do if you think you have a personal injury claim is to speak to a qualified attorney, who can walk you through the steps involved in filing that claim. Be sure to look for someone local. If you’re in Prince George’s County, for example, you’ll want to find a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the rules specific to the county, so they’ll know exactly what your options are. Keep in mind, too, that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Prince George’s County (and throughout Maryland) is three years, so don’t delay.

One thing you shouldn’t do is talk to a lot of people about your case. Obviously, discussing it with close family members or trusted confidants is one thing, but steer clear of posting anything on social media. And definitely don’t talk to anyone representing the responsible party (like their insurance company) without a lawyer present.

If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence in Maryland, a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.

Is courteous driving the path to roadway serenity in Maryland?

Roadway in Maryland

Nobody thinks they’re a bad driver. We all like to believe we’re just as courteous as can be when behind the wheel, but if you take a drive on just about any road or highway these days you’ll agree that some of us are clearly fooling ourselves. There’s selfishness, aggressiveness, and a palpable sense of anger everywhere you look.

But there are still plenty of well-mannered and considerate drivers out there. In fact, a friend of mine believes that by being super mindful of other drivers’ feelings and intentions, he can affect traffic in a positive way. As he broke down his theory for me, I found myself wondering whether it’s really possible for a lone driver to affect an entire traffic pattern. I also wondered if it’s a good idea that one driver has such influence.

Can one man erase traffic jams?

My buddy claims that he can actually keep things moving in one of those mysterious traffic jams that suddenly appear for no reason. It’s happened to all of us: We’ll be cruising along on the highway at a nice clip, and all of the sudden BAM! Everything slows to a crawl with no apparent cause, no accident, no merging, no police activity. From there it’s stop-and-go the rest of the way.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if everyone would just agree to go at the same speed at the same time, my friend is determined to find out. His plan to eradicate traffic is to leave a sizable gap between himself and the car in front of him. That way, he can roll along slowly without hitting his brakes. At that pace, as soon as he reaches the car in front of him, it speeds up and he can keep rolling along. He believes that he can “absorb the wave” of traffic by leaving plenty of following distance and keeping a steady speed.

By doing this, he claims to make life easier for the cars behind him since, because he never brakes, neither do they. This smooths out the flow of traffic in his lane. But he did admit this occasionally gets him angry honks from behind from drivers who want him to speed up and stop letting cars into his lane.

But what if everyone agreed to go at the same speed? You can read more about the pluses and minuses of this approach in a recap of Colorado’s “rolling speed harmonization” experiment.  

Just let ‘em merge!  

A second fix my friend has is for the traffic jams caused when drivers have to merge because of construction lane closures or the road narrowing from four lanes to three or three lanes to two, etc.

When approaching a merge, he once again keeps a wide gap between himself and the car in front of him, which lets other cars merge in before they decide to zip to the front of the line and have to merge at the last minute. His reasoning for so many drivers rushing to the front of the line is that they think that nobody will let them in before that without a fight.

There’s research to suggest he’s wrong on this one. The zipper merge theory holds that motorists should stay in the merge lane until reaching the point of merger and then “zipper” into traffic by alternating one car from each lane. So all those drivers driving right up to the merge are actually doing the right thing.

The jury is still out on my friend’s theories, but I think we can all agree a little more civility on the road would be a wonderful thing. If you’ve been injured or in a car accident as a result of aggressive or discourteous driving in Maryland, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, Maryland today to schedule your free consultation. We’re here to protect your rights, and we don’t receive a fee unless we win.