When to Report a Car Accident in Maryland

Car Accident with Police Collecting Info

The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be confusing. Even if you’re fortunate enough only to be dealing with a small fender bender, you may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering what you need to do next. One common question people ask is whether or not they need to report their accident (and who they should report it to).

The answer to this question depends on several factors – including where the event took place, since different states have different requirements. If you are in the state of Maryland and you have an accident involving a vehicle, here are some things you need to consider.

Which accidents should be reported?
In some cases, reporting a car accident is mandatory. These cases include:

  • Accidents in which there is an injury or a fatality
  • Hit-and-run accidents
  • Accidents in which a car is too damaged to safely move off the road
  • Accidents involving someone who doesn’t have a license or is driving under the influence
  • Accidents in which a domesticated animal (i.e., someone’s pet) has been hit

Who do I need to contact?
The police (and medical professionals if you need them). In all of the above cases, you’ll need to contact the police and file a report with them. It’s best to do this as soon as possible. If you were injured as a result of the accident, you should also contact your doctor (or go to your nearest hospital), who will provide you with medical records documenting your injuries.

Your insurance agency. Get in touch with your insurance agency immediately and report the accident. Waiting too long to report could potentially affect the validity of your claim (and your eligibility for compensation).

The MVA. According to Maryland law, drivers involved in an accident should contact the Motor Vehicle Administrationwithin 15 days and provide a written statement of the incident, as well as pertinent insurance details including their policy number).

A qualified personal injury attorney. If you’ve been injured or your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, and you believe someone else is at fault, you should contact a lawyer to find out if you’re eligible for compensation.

Are there cases in which reporting a car accident isn’t necessary?
Yes – if the accident was so minor that neither party sustained any property damage, and no one was hurt. Even then, it’s a good idea to exchange information with the other driver, just in case you notice some issues with your car after you’ve left the scene of the crash (or if you sustain an injury that doesn’t present itself until later). It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and you believe you’re entitled to compensation, 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 Can Cause Paralysis in Newborns in Maryland?

What Can Cause Paralysis in Newborns in Maryland?

Welcoming a new child into the world is an exciting time for expectant parents. It can also be stressful, however. While huge strides have been made in pre- and post-natal medicine over the last century, unfortunately not every pregnancy experience is problem-free.

Paralysis is one of the post-birth injuries we see in our practice here in Maryland. While relatively rare, paralysis in newborns is a very serious diagnosis. Some instances of paralysis are unavoidable, but some are the result of mistakes or neglect on the part of the medical professionals treating the baby and their parent. Let’s talk about the ways in which medical malpractice can contribute.

Lack of proper monitoring and/or testing during pregnancy. Proper prenatal care is crucial; if medical professionals don’t quickly and accurately diagnose potential issues with the unborn baby (or diagnose them incorrectly), it can lead to complications both before and after birth. Perhaps the mother has a certain condition that needs to be monitored in order to avoid any birth-related complications (pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes, for example). Or perhaps the baby has a condition that requires special care; overlooking this condition can cause complications if medical professionals are not aware and prepared for it in advance.

Errors during labor and delivery. If medical professionals make mistakes during the labor and delivery process, they can put the baby at risk. Some examples of these mistakes include:

  • Not detecting that the baby’s umbilical cord is wrapped around his or her neck. It’s crucial to correct this issue immediately, in order to avoid a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain (and the potential for brain damage and/or paralysis).
  • Waiting too long to perform a Caesarian section if the baby is – or could potentially be – in distress. C-sections are often determined to be necessary if the mother has an infection or if the baby’s heartbeat suddenly drops dramatically. When every minute counts, delaying too long to make the decision to perform this procedure can have catastrophic consequences.
  • Improper use of vacuums or forceps. Doctors will sometimes use specialized tools to assist in removing the baby from the birth canal. If these tools aren’t used right, they can cause damage to the baby’s brain or spinal cord, resulting in paralysis.

Determining Accountability
It’s not always easy to prove that paralysis in newborns is the result of a mistake on the part of a medical professional. For one thing, you might have a hard time getting them to admit liability. That’s why it’s important to talk to an attorney who is well-versed in birth-related injuries. This person can walk you through what’s involved and will be able to advise you on if you have a strong case.

If you think your newborn has a health issue such as paralysis resulting from medical malpractice, 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.

How Long Does it Take to Sue Someone in Maryland

How Long Does it Take to Sue Someone in Maryland?

If you’ve been hurt in an accident and you believe someone else was at fault, you may be considering filing a claim against that person to receive compensation. But how long does it take to sue someone in Maryland? Keep in mind that there are two aspects to consider here: the amount of time you are given from a legal standpoint, and how long the process takes from a logistical standpoint.

Legally, you have three years to file your case. According to Maryland Article – Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article § 5-101, “[a] civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues unless another provision of the Code provides a different period of time within which an action shall be commenced.” In other words, the clock officially starts on the day of your accident and ends three years later. (There are some instances in which the time limit can be extended – for example, if the victim was a minor at the time of the accident – but they are somewhat rare.) If you wait longer than three years to file your claim, it will be forfeited.

Logistically, building a case can take some time. Three years might seem like plenty of time, but remember that there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to developing a strong personal injury case and taking care of the necessary paperwork. You’ll need to keep on top of the following details:

  • What is the correct court in which to file this claim? Filing your claim in the wrong place can lead to delays.
  • Do I have all of the documents I need to file this claim? These documents include police reports, medical records and witness statements.
  • Have the defendants in my case been served properly? Part of filing a claim is ensuring that the person or people whom you’re suing get notified in a timely manner.

There’s another important reason to file your claim as soon as possible: witness statements. If others were privy to your accident and can vouch for your innocence, their accounts will be more reliable when the accident is still fresh in their minds. The longer you wait to file a claim, the greater the chances that your witnesses might forget important details that will help strengthen your case.

One last thing to keep in mind: Maryland is a contributory negligence state, which means that you must be able to prove that the other party is 100% responsible for your injury in order to claim compensation. If you retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney (which, given the complexity of this process, is highly recommended), you’ll want to give that person plenty of time to develop a convincing case that you are completely innocent.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and you think you have a right to a 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.

Do Courts Get Videos from Traffic Cameras in Maryland?

Do Courts Get Videos from Traffic Cameras in Maryland?

If you live in Maryland, then you’re probably aware that the state employs traffic, red-light and speed cameras throughout the state to monitor driver behavior. And while it can be a nuisance to receive a ticket in the mail for going just a few miles per hour too fast or passing through an intersection a half-second after the light has turned red, ultimately these cameras help to keep all of us safe by reminding us to obey the rules of the road.

Not Just for Tickets

Cameras serve another important purpose as well – providing evidence in case of an accident. Let’s say your car is hit by someone running a red light. If there aren’t any witnesses around to corroborate your story, you might have a tough time filing a claim and proving that the other driver is at fault. Or the other driver might even try to say that you are at fault for the accident, because you jumped the light. And, not surprisingly, insurance companies will likely be reluctant to pay your claim without ironclad proof that you deserve the payout.

That’s when camera footage can be extremely valuable. Obviously, you have a much stronger case if you’re able to provide photographic or video proof that you were indeed the victim in a car accident.

Obtaining Video Evidence

Unfortunately, even though traffic cameras in Maryland operate 24 hours a day, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) doesn’t store video footage anywhere (they only stream it live on their website). So you won’t have too much success obtaining evidence of your accident, because it doesn’t get saved.

On the other hand, red-light or speeding cameras do store their footage (which is how you get those pesky tickets in the mail from time to time). If there is a camera at the scene of your accident, you might be able to obtain photos of the crash that can help your case. Keep in mind, though, that photos are a lot less conclusive than video – they may be blurry, and they don’t provide the most accurate description of the sequence of events. The camera would also have to be triggered at the exact moment of your crash in order to be helpful, the likelihood of which isn’t particularly high.

The Burden of Proof

Still, camera evidence is better than nothing. Or is it? Keep in mind that insurance companies are always looking for ways to avoid paying out large claims. So they will likely request access to this evidence as well – and so will the other person (or people) who were involved in the accident. Depending on how conclusive the photos are, the insurance company or the other driver may try to use them to cast doubt on your claim. Don’t forget that Maryland is a contributory negligence state. That means that in order to receive compensation for a personal injury, you must be able to prove that you are 100% not at fault. If an insurance company (or the other driver) can make a compelling case that you are even 1% liable for the accident, you are not eligible to receive any compensation. (If this statute sounds severe, that’s because it is – only four states and the District of Columbia adhere to the rule of contributory negligence, while every other state in the country generally allows for a sliding scale of compensation based on percentage of liability.)

What About Private Security Footage?

If MDOT traffic camera footage archives are unavailable and red-light or speeding cameras can be relatively unreliable, you may be wondering: is there any other way to provide conclusive evidence of your accident? One thing you might be able to explore is the possibility of private security cameras in the vicinity of the crash. Perhaps there is a business nearby, or even a private residence, with cameras that monitor the road. Road surveillance by a private camera is not illegal, given that the road is a public area and can easily be seen by others. And it’s likely that these cameras store footage in an archive of some sort – either on a physical server or in the cloud. So if your accident occurs within the camera’s range of vision (and you make an effort to retrieve the video quickly enough), you might be able to get what you need.

Given all of the logistics involved, you might be asking yourself, where do I even start? This is where it’s important to have a competent, experienced lawyer on your side, who can manage the procedure of requesting and obtaining any available private footage. Your attorney will understand all of the steps required, especially if they involve more than just a simple phone call (in some cases a subpoena might even be necessary in order to procure camera footage).

The Bottom Line

Having video or camera proof of your car accident may seem like a slam dunk when it comes to demonstrating your innocence. But you might have some hoops to jump through when it comes to obtaining the footage. And you should expect the insurance company investigating your claim to closely examine this footage as well, looking for ways to disprove that you are the victim (or at least trying to show that you are partially at fault). With a little perseverance and the help of a smart, capable attorney, you can navigate these potential roadblocks and make the strongest possible case for compensation.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you think that video or camera footage might support your right to a 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.