Tips for Finding an Auto Accident Attorney in Maryland

Fire Truck Responding to Auto Accident

Following an automobile accident in which you or your passenger(s) have been injured, you need to take a few immediate steps. First, in the event another car was involved, obtain the other driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and automobile insurance policy details. Second, contact the police and file an accident report. It’s also important to see a doctor to determine the extent of any injuries. Even if the injuries seem minor, get treatment by a medical professional both to determine whether there are any unseen injuries, e.g., internal bleeding or a concussion and also to document the injuries for potential future legal proceedings. Finally, say as a little as possible immediately after the accident. Do not admit guilt to the other driver or anyone else without speaking to an accident attorney. 

But how do you find the right automobile accident attorney for you? 

Do your homework

Yes, it’s your attorney’s job to get you the compensation you deserve, but you need to have a decent idea of what that compensation should be. Don’t count on your lawyer to account for every cent. Save all your medical bills to be certain that you recoup all of your costs. It’s also a good idea to gather as much information as you can from the police officers who were on the scene of your accident. Be your own advocate.   

Avoid settling for less

In the days following the accident, your auto insurance company will want to settle quickly and quietly and will likely recommend that you follow their lead. But it’s important to understand that your interests and those of your insurance company don’t necessarily align. You can’tdepend on them to give you good advice or provide you with a correct evaluation of where your case stands. Insurance companies are large corporations whose best interests concern their shareholders and bottom line. You must consult with and retain a reputable personal injury lawyer who knows exactly how insurance companies act and what to do to protect you. Where you may quickly settle for $20,000, an attorney may be able to get you as much as $200,00 if you wait. 

Consult friends for recommendations

Don’t know any auto accident lawyers? Start by asking around. An attorney with a lot of great referrals most likely has dozens of satisfied clients. Once you’ve settled on a few possibilities, reading online reviews of their work is always helpful. 

Ask to see their work 

Any potential lawyer hire should be happy to show you examples of recent case results that will give you a good idea of how he or she works and how successful his or her approach has been. You’re looking for an attorney that gets clients the maximum compensation. 

Select an attorney who works on a contingency basis

An automobile accident lawyer working on contingency only receives payment if you win compensation. If you don’t win, you don’t owe your attorney anything. 

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Maryland, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore today to schedule your free consultation. We’re here to protect your rights, and we don’t receive a fee unless we win. 

You may be more responsible for gathering information following a car accident in Maryland

Car Accident with Police Collecting Info

A recent news story by NBC’s Baltimore affiliate reported that the Baltimore mayor’s office and Baltimore Police Department are experimenting with a new plan to divert some non-emergency calls away from police officers. Currently, both 911 and the police are overloaded with calls that don’t necessarily involve a police response. A pilot program this summer will be rolled out in which third-party 

contractors will handle certain less-serious auto accidents.

Car accidents that don’t involve DUI-related offenses or major injuries tend to take up officers’ time that might be better spent patrolling, deterring crimes, and apprehending people who commit them. Police estimate that as many as 24,000 accidents per year can be handled without police officers and instead be seen to by trained non-law enforcement responders. It just makes better sense for police officers to be handling more serious threats to the community instead of filing accident reports, waiting for tow trucks, and performing all of the other duties required in minor fender benders. 

However, with a department staffed mostly by civilians, it’s a good idea to remember what you can do to protect yourself after a car accident.

What you should do after a car accident in Maryland

Maryland Transportation Code § 20–103 states that drivers involved in an accident causing damage to a car being driven by another person, i.e., not parked or otherwise empty, should stop their car as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic any more than is necessary. If it’s safe to do so, they should pull to the shoulder or median.

In many cases, however, car accidents in Maryland do not require a police report to be filed. If the collision only causes property damage and no bodily injury occurs and the accident isn’t a result of a DUI or reckless driving, drivers are only required to move their cars off the roadway, providing it’s not dangerous to do so, and exchange some basic information: 

• Name & address of drivers

• Name & address of vehicle owner (if different from the driver)

• Driver’s license number

• Auto insurance company name and policy number

• Address of the local insurance agent (if available).

Maryland also recommends that drivers keep a few copies of this form in their cars. The moments following a car accident can be confusing and overwhelming, but this form, while not an official collision report, can be used as a checklist to ensure that all the information drivers need for their insurance claim is gathered.

It’s also advisable to take photos of any car damage for the record and gather the names and contact information of any potential witnesses. In the unlikely event that the other driver says anything to you about the accident, be sure to write that down too. And make sure you don’t say anything besides providing the most basic information listed above. Other helpful information includes the date and as close to the exact time of the accident, the current weather and road conditions, and perhaps even a drawing of your and the other car(s) positions before the accident. 

Remember that all of the information above and anything else you gather shouldn’t be shared with anyone else, aside from your attorney. 

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We’re here to protect your rights, and we don’t receive a fee unless we win.

What is an insurance claims adjuster?

Window Broken and Insurance Coming to Review Insurance Claim

The aftermath of a car accident is a trying time. You just want to put it behind you and get back to your life. One of the necessary steps on the road back to normalcy is speaking with an auto insurance claims adjuster. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s never been in a car accident, claims adjusters are the insurance company representatives who investigate the details of your accident, review your coverage, and decide how much the insurance company should pay to cover your loss or damage. In the same way that a police detective investigates a crime, your adjuster takes a deep dive into all the pertinent details of your accident. Typically this involves: 

  • Evaluating and chronicling car damage in a written report with photographs 
  • Interviewing accident victims, passengers, and witnesses
  • Collecting and reviewing police reports and hospital records
  • Speaking with medical providers to determine medical costs

Who does a claims adjuster work for? 

While claims adjusters are usually quite helpful and friendly, it’s important to remember exactly who they work for (hint: not you). The adjuster’s ultimate job is to save his/her employer, i.e., the insurance company, money by finding a reason to deny the claim, delay payment or offer a low settlement. However, while it seems that adjusters have a conflict of interest when reviewing your claim, the truth is they do not benefit financially no matter how your claim is settled. They’ve been trained to deal with stressful situations and upset people and are only there to detect any semblance of fraud and confirm every covered cost.

What can I expect from my insurance company after my car accident? 

Once you notify your insurance carrier of an accident, you will be referred to a claims adjuster, who will set up either a phone or in-person interview. The purpose of this interview is to help determine who’s at fault in the accident and what, exactly, is covered by your policy. It’s likely the adjuster will also interview any witnesses, passengers, and the other driver(s) involved. The adjuster will then inspect your damaged car and property and gather police reports, accident reports, and hospital records to confirm all related expenses and information. 

What to say when speaking with a claims adjuster

It’s not advisable to speak to a claims adjuster immediately after your accident. Wait until you’ve had time to determine the extent of the damage, both to you and your car. Speaking to an adjuster too soon, before you have all the information you need, could lead to you settling for far less than what you may have received once you learned the full scope of the damage. If you’ve been injured, see a doctor to find out the full degree of your injuries and how much work you may miss as a result. As insurance adjusters have been trained in strategies to reduce payouts, it may be helpful to consult a lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. 

When speaking to an adjuster, odds are he/she will ask if your statement can be recorded. This is something that you should politely decline. In the event that you are angry, medicated, in pain, or otherwise distracted, you might say something that can be used to deny or lower your claim later. As an example, some injuries caused by accidents can take up to a week to manifest themselves. This is common with soft tissue and back injuries. If you speak to the adjuster before you know about the injury and provide a written statement that you are not hurt, that recording can be used later as proof of admission that you weren’t injured in the accident. 

Even if the interview is not being recorded, always make sure you are calm and fully focused on the moment during the conversation to avoid saying anything that might hurt your cause. If you are not ready for any reason you are legally allowed to delay the interview until you are. You can even refuse to give a verbal statement and provide one in writing if that helps you better organize your thoughts. 

Dealing with auto insurance adjusters can be complicated and confusing. If you’ve been in a car accident in Maryland, a lawyer can help you navigate the aftermath. 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.

Uber/Lyft Passenger Rights in Maryland

Uber/Lyft Driver in Maryland

Despite their relative youth, ride-sharing services have revolutionized the transportation industry like no other innovation before them. Offerings like Uber and Lyft make it easy to find a ride just about anywhere in the world with the swipe of a finger across a smartphone. They’ve also led to an increased amount of untrained drivers stepping in to fill professionals’ shoes. Also, Uber and Lyft pay drivers based on the mileage they travel, which means it’s in the financial interest of drivers to cover as many miles as possible in the shortest time. They also use the app to notify drivers of “surge,” or heavy travel areas, where they can earn more money and usually send drivers notifications about their next fare before they have dropped off their current rides. All of it, the emphasis on speed and the constant distraction of the notifications, means an increased likelihood of accidents with passengers in the car.

So what happens if you, as a Lyft or Uber passenger, are injured in a crash? 

Ride-share services have attempted to have their drivers categorized as independent contractors rather than employees, which would limit their liability in the event of a crash. However, whether Uber or Lyft drivers are considered employees or independent contractors, they are still acting as agents for the company, so any fault or negligence of your Uber or Lyft driver is fault or negligence that you can attribute to the company.

Further, Maryland considers Uber/Lyft vehicles as public conveyances or common carriers and requires drivers to obtain motor carrier permits as for-hire carriers. 

Passengers injured in an Uber/Lyft car accident in Maryland can make a claim against Uber/Lyft

In Maryland, all ride-share drivers must maintain their own auto insurance policy in accordance with state laws. On top of that, Uber maintains $1,000,000 in third-party automobile liability insurance on behalf of all U.S. drivers. Even if you are hurt in an accident by the negligence of someone other than the Uber or Lyft driver, you can still make a claim against this $1,000,000 policy. After all, you booked your ride through their ride-sharing service and were injured in a car registered as an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

However, you still need to prove the driver was at fault for the crash that injured you. In the event of an accident, make certain that the driver reports the accident to the company. If you do decide to sue Uber/Lyft, the last thing you want to find out is that there’s no record of the accident. 

Uber and Lyft are big companies that operate almost exclusively online, which means it can be difficult and time-consuming for injured parties trying to deal with them. If you’ve been in an Uber/Lyft accident 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.

How to Fight a Drug Possession Charge

Drug Possession Charges in Maryland

Drug possession charges are the court’s most commonly seen criminal cases, both here in Maryland and throughout the country. The severity of the charge depends on the circumstance (such as the drug in question and how much of it is found); nevertheless, any drug possession charge is a serious one, with potentially life-changing consequences. 

If you’ve been charged with possession of a drug, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. Here is some helpful advice for fighting the charge. 

Know your rights – and determine if they were violated. The first step in fighting a drug possession charge is determining if your Fourth Amendment rights (the amendment that protects you against unlawful search and seizure) were affected at the time of your arrest. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did the police have probable cause – and legal authority – to search you? For example, if you were driving, did the police stop you without enough evidence or suspicion of a crime to justify doing so? If you were at home, did they enter without a warrant? Police need to demonstrate a reasonable basis for conducting a search; if they don’t, they are violating your rights and you can push to have the charges dropped.
  • Did they ask for – and receive – your consent to be searched? Even if police had probable cause to search you, if you didn’t consent to be searched or they didn’t ask you before they searched you, any evidence they gathered is inadmissible in court.
  • Did the police read you your Miranda rights when they arrested you? If so, did they respect your request to remain silent under questioning? If your rights were not properly respected, you can argue that anything you said at the time of your arrest cannot be admissible in court.

Explore medical exceptions. One way to fight drug possession charges is to argue that you need the drugs in question for medical reasons. Obviously, this approach won’t work with certain narcotics, but if you’ve been caught with a small amount of marijuana, you could make the case that you need it for medicinal purposes.

Consider a diversion program. If this is the first time you’ve been charged with a drug offense, you might be able to undergo counseling, community service, coursework, or other “rehabilitation”-type avenues in lieu of fines or jail time. In addition to providing you with an alternative to a more serious sentence, diversion programs benefit the state as well, since they eliminate the money, time, and hassle of a protracted court case.

Hire an experienced lawyer. Aligning yourself with an experienced, aggressive lawyer is the smartest decision you can make when fighting a drug charge. A lawyer who has handled these types of cases before knows the ins and outs of the system and can help you determine the best course of action – whether that’s examining diversion programs, pleading down to a lesser offense or simply burying the prosecution in so many document requests and other red tape that they eventually give up and drop or lessen the charges.

If you’ve been arrested on a drug charge 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.

Things to Know About Medical Malpractice Laws in Maryland

Medical Maryland Malpractice

A recent surgical procedure or medical treatment has left you injured. It’s clear your situation was the result of negligence, or possibly incompetence, on behalf of a doctor, nurse, technician, hospital, or medical worker. You sue, you win and you are left with a sizable payout to cover your “actual economic loss,” including lost wages and medical expenses resulting from the malpractice and “noneconomic loss,” such as pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Medical malpractice, both in Maryland and just about every other state in the country, is an extremely complicated issue. Generally speaking, you, as the injured patient, must prove that (1) a professional duty was owed to you as the patient;(2) the medical provider breached such duty; (3) that your injury was a direct result of the breach; and (4) the resulting damages will reasonably address your losses.

There are also several rules governing how a medical malpractice lawsuit can proceed…

Malpractice Lawsuits Must Be Filed Promptly

The first thing that comes into play regarding a malpractice lawsuit is the statute of limitations, i.e., how much time you’re legally granted between the date of the alleged malpractice and the date you must file the lawsuit. If the malpractice occurred on Date A, the clock starts running and any lawsuit must be filed by Date B. However, even this isn’t that cut and dried. Maryland malpractice law holds that a malpractice claim must be filed within five years after the injury occurred, OR within three years after you’ve discovered or reasonably could have discovered the injury, whichever comes first. If you were mentally incapacitated (under prolonged sedation, in a coma, or otherwise unable to make decisions) when the alleged malpractice occurred, you will more than likely have until three years after your mental disability ends.

Miss the statute of limitations deadline and your case will almost definitely be dismissed by the court. 

Maryland’s “Certificate of Qualified Expert” Requirement

You claiming that your doctor was negligent is one thing, but the courts require you to bring in a qualified expert to confirm that your claim is reasonable. Within 90 days of filing your medical malpractice claim, you will need to provide documentation of a qualified medical expert who has sworn that he/she has reviewed your claim and believes that (1) the medical care provider did not meet the accepted medical standard of care when treating you; and (2) that your injuries are a direct result of the health care provider’s negligence to meet that standard.  

The Maryland Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

How much can a malpractice claim actually win? Maryland is one of many states that has capped the amount of “noneconomic damages” awarded to a patient who’s won a malpractice lawsuit. This cap depends on the year in which the injury occurred. The total amount for the calendar year 2022 is $860,000, with the limit increasing by $15,000 each year. For injuries that occurred prior to 2022, the limit is decreased by $15,000 per calendar year.

Keep in mind that “noneconomic damages” refers to compensation for hard-to-quantify elements like pain and suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and other negative side effects. Maryland does not cap “economic damages” such as compensation for past medical expenses, current medical care, lost income, and damage to your future ability to earn a living.

If you’ve been a victim of malpractice 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.

Maryland Left-Turn Liability

Maryland Left-Turn Liability

You may not think twice about making a left-hand turn at an intersection, but did you know that it’s one of the more dangerous things you can do as a driver? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in 2019, accidents involving left turns (where the oncoming car crashed into the passenger side of the turning car) accounted for nearly a quarter of all road fatalities.

Why are left turns so dangerous? It makes sense when you think about it. You’re crossing a lane of traffic with cars coming in the opposite direction (often quickly), accelerating into the turn, and trusting your judgment with regard to how much time you have to complete it. 

And while you may think that the car hitting you is always at fault, in left-hand turns that’s not the case (unless you’re turning on a green arrow). According to Maryland’s Transportation Code § 21-402, drivers turning left (or making a U-turn, for that matter) always have to yield the right-of-way to cars coming from the opposite direction.

Are left-turning cars ever not at fault? The answer to this question is yes – but these instances are rarely clear-cut or easy to prove. As mentioned above, if a left-turning car has a green arrow and is hit by an oncoming car, the oncoming car is at fault. Otherwise, you might have a situation involving negligence on the part of the oncoming driver; perhaps they are speeding or have run a stop sign, or they’re distracted (texting or talking on the phone, for example). 

In these circumstances, a case could be made on your behalf – particularly since Maryland follows what’s called the contributory negligence law, which states that if the other driver (in this case, the oncoming driver) contributed even 1% to the accident, they aren’t eligible for compensation. But you’d need a witness to attest to the other driver’s contributory negligence, or other indisputable evidence that the fault was shared. If it’s just the other driver’s word against yours, you’re unlikely to get the benefit of the doubt.

What if I’m the passenger in a left-turning car? This is an interesting question. If you’re a passenger in a car and you’re injured in an accident involving a left turn, technically the person you’d be making a claim against is the driver of the vehicle that you’re riding in – which is obviously a little awkward if the person in question is a family member or friend. If you’re a passenger in a cab or a ride-share vehicle like an Uber or Lyft, you should speak to a qualified attorney to assess the situation and determine your rights.

If you’ve been involved in a left-turn accident 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.

Should I hire a lawyer to fight a traffic ticket?

Traffic Light at an Intersection

It might sound unnecessary to bring in a lawyer to contest a traffic ticket, but moving violations can seriously affect your life, and going to court can get very complicated. As the old English proverb puts it, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” You don’t want to be standing before a judge before you realize that you’re not able to properly defend yourself. In fact, at one point in history, some states’ Bar Associations forbade even lawyers from representing themselves in court. This was later ruled constitutional, but if it was considered a bad idea for lawyers to act as their own counsel, non-lawyers defending themselves is even worse. 

Any sort of driving violation can bring plenty of trouble. In addition to the fines, the points on your driving record can raise your insurance rates and possibly even affect your career if your job requires you to drive. The loss of your driver’s license can seriously impair your ability to support yourself and your family at worst and is a major inconvenience at best. Once you’ve worn out family and friends for rides, you’re stuck with paying hefty Uber/cab fees or relying on public transportation. 

Should you take your own case, here are just a few of the issues you’ll need to consider:

  • Can I beat the charge?
  • If convicted, how many points will I get on my record?
  • Can I lose my license?
  • Can I go to jail?
  • How will this affect my insurance?
  • Who do I have to notify about the charge? My employer? My school? Licensing boards or potential new employers? 

Types of traffic offenses

Typically, minor offenses like speeding, running a stop sign or red light, or driving without having your license with you do not require you to personally appear in court. Your lawyer can handle them without you having to take off time from work. Maryland does require you to show up in court for more serious offenses like driving without a license or insurance, DUI/DWI or other alcohol- or drug-related driving offense, hit and run, or driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license. 

Fighting a traffic citation in Maryland

So you’ve been treated unfairly and have decided to fight City Hall on your own. Here’s what will happen. For starters, you’ll have to request time off from work to go to court. Once you take your spot at the defense table you had better understand your legal rights and potential defense strategies under Maryland law. If not, you’re seriously jeopardizing your chances of avoiding substantial fines, points on your driving record, and maybe even jail time. In addition to being familiar with the judge and courtroom procedures, an experienced traffic ticket lawyer will have researched your case to make sure everything runs smoothly. Was the stop legal? Do the police have any evidence, and, if so, how reliable is it? Are there witnesses who might testify on your behalf? Is it a good idea to put the police officer who stopped you on the witness stand? Above all, judges have zero patience for people who waste their time. Stumbling around in court while you’re trying to figure out what to say or do is never a good look. Hiring an attorney shows the judge that you’re taking the situation seriously and are looking to resolve it most expeditiously. And in some minor cases, your lawyer can take care of everything for you without you having to take off work. 

If you’re considering hiring a lawyer to fight a traffic violation, Attorney Nick Parr will evaluate your case and explain your options. 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 it possible to get a DUI in Maryland without drinking alcohol?

DUI without Drinking in MD

The rule is standard and absolute no matter which state you call home: It is illegal to drink alcohol before or during the operation of a motor vehicle. In Maryland, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.07% or higher while driving brings a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI), while a BAC of 0.08% or higher warrants a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Of the two, a DUI is considered the more serious offense. 

But this doesn’t mean that alcohol has to be the official influence or intoxicant if you’ve been stopped on suspicion of impaired driving. While alcohol is what almost everyone thinks of when a DUI or DWI is mentioned, the truth is that numerous substances can cause physical difficulties and affect judgment when operating a motor vehicle: 

  • Illegal Drugs: Drivers under the influence of marijuana, morphine, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, heroin, or another illegal drug can be arrested for DUI.
  • Prescription Medications: Just because you have a doctor’s prescription for it doesn’t mean you can drive while taking it. Read the warning label on your medication bottle before getting behind the wheel or operating any sort of heavy machinery. 
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: As with prescription meds, there are plenty of OTC medications that can impair you, such as allergy medicines that can cause drowsiness or disorientation. 

How can I get caught for driving on drugs/medication?

It’s more difficult for a police officer to determine on the spot whether you’re impaired by something other than alcohol. Drugs and medications don’t leave an aroma on your breath and won’t register a reading on a breathalyzer, but if the officer suspects that something is wrong, he/she can request that you take a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST). In Maryland, this roadside examination involves mental and physical acuity tests like following the officer’s pen with your eyes as it moves from side to side, a one-leg stand test during which you stand withone foot lifted six inches off the ground while counting to 30, and a walk-and-turn test instructing you to take nine steps heel-to-toe, stop, pivot, and take nine steps heel-to-toe back to the starting point. During this time, the officer is looking for signs of impairment like loss of balance, turning incorrectly, or failure to obey simple commands like when to start the test. 

Possible defenses for DUI charge when alcohol wasn’t consumed

Without a definitive breathalyzer reading to serve as evidence, the results of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests can be challenged as the sole indicator of driver impairment. Factors include the officer’s level of training in performing the test. A surprising number of police officers aren’t properly trained on the finer points of administering an SFST. The test results can also be challenged if the conditions were such that even a sober person might have trouble passing, and an experienced DUI/DWI attorney can dispute the results based on any number of questions. Was the ground level? Was there gravel that might lead to instability walking? Was it rainy or windy? What kind of shoes was the driver wearing? Were the lights from passing traffic enough to influence or distract the test taker? The answers to these and other questions can mean the difference between a DUI/DWI conviction and acquittal/dismissal.  

Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to discuss whether your DWI/DUI charges can be dismissed or reduced based on faulty or incorrect Standardized Field Sobriety Tests results. Consultation is free.

Car Crash Lawyer in Maryland  

Car Accident In Maryland with UnInsured Motorist

With Covid restrictions loosening up and more people getting back to their everyday routines, it’s no surprise that there are more cars on the road than in previous years. And more cars means more accidents. According to a Maryland Department of Transportation website, there were 79 reported motor vehicle crash fatalities in Maryland as of 3/1/2022. Even in non-fatal car accidents, injuries and long-term consequences can lead to years of disability challenges and serious financial hardship.

To minimize the effects a traffic accident can have on your life, there are several steps you can take:

Things to do immediately after a car accident

A car crash leaves everyone involved shocked, disoriented, and unsure of what to do first. There are half a dozen steps to take to ensure the best possible outcome:

  1. Make sure everyone is safe and off to the side of the road to ensure further accidents from approaching cars
  2. Document the scene immediately by taking photos or videos with your phone or making notes of everything you can remember
  3. Collect information from any other driver(s) involved and get contact information from potential witnesses before they leave the scene
  4. Notify your insurance company
  5. Save all medical and car repair invoices
  6. Chronicle any injuries in a journal

Types of accidents for which the other driver may be liable

If you are the victim in a car accident, there is a wide range of activities the other driver could have been participating in that could lead to their being found negligent. Rather than investigate the other driver’s conduct yourself, it’s best to retain an attorney who can research whether he/she was:

  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Driving while drowsy*
  • Texting, talking on phone without a hands-free device or otherwise driving while distracted
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving aggressively
  • Disobeying traffic laws
  • Knowingly driving an unsafe/unregistered vehicle

*While Maryland doesn’t have a specific law regulating how long you can drive without taking a break, the state considers a driver who falls asleep behind the wheel to be impaired even if drugs and alcohol aren’t involved. [PC1] 

What are your rights if you’ve been injured in a car crash in Maryland?

When a car accident leads to fatalities or serious injury, the state will most likely prosecute the driver at fault. But any sort of criminal prosecution will not assist you in recovering expenses incurred for medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, etc. Talk to an experienced auto accident lawyer to determine the best course of action as you’ll most likely have to deal with the other driver’s, and possibly your own, insurance company to receive the compensation you deserve. In the event several parties are involved,

e.g., both insurance companies, either driver’s employer, automakers, etc., things can get very complicated very quickly. Make sure to choose an attorney with extensive experience dealing with such complex issues.

Most importantly, do not accept any offer in the event an insurance adjuster contacts you and offers a quick settlement before you consult an attorney. This will always be far less than what the company, not to mention a jury, believes you are entitled to. In 2016, Ryan Burke suffered serious back injuries as a result of a traffic accident in Orlando. After his lawyers recommended that he reject a pre-trial settlement of $400,000 from the insurance company, he eventually agreed to a final settlement of more than $6.6 million.

Can I sue my own insurance company following a car accident?

Believe it or not, this may be your best course of action. In the event the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage to pay for your damages, or any insurance at all, your injuries and damages may be covered if your policy contains Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This can also apply if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and the other driver can’t be found. Keep in mind that Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage is elective on most policies. Make sure your policy contains it and that you’ve purchased coverage at an adequate level. In most cases, uninsured motorist benefits cannot exceed the amount of the primary coverage. For example, if you have $100,000 in coverage, you can only have up to $100,000 in uninsured motorist benefits.

Also remember that most insurance companies, even your own, are known for making low-ball offers, denying legitimate claims, and doing just about any and everything else possible to thwart an attempt to receive maximum compensation. An experienced auto accident attorney will document your losses, help navigate the insurance company’s network of red tape and aggressively advocate for the maximum payout that you deserve.

Things to know about a car crash in Maryland

If you want to receive a successful settlement after a car crash, keep these things in mind:

  • The statute of limitations for car crash lawsuits is three years. If an out-of-court settlement isn’t reached, you must file a lawsuit within three years of the accident date.
  • There are several types of car accident lawsuits. These include claims for negligence, negligent entrustment (an owner letting someone else drive his/her car), respondeat superior (e.g., suing a trucking company for an accident caused by one of its drivers), breach of contract, wrongful death and survival action. An experienced attorney will tell you which of these best apply to your case.
  • Insurance companies can fight you with an array of defenses. Be sure your attorney educates you on common defense tactics like contributory negligence, assumption of the risk and sudden medical emergency.
  • There are solutions if no insurance is available at all. An accident victim with no access to insurance can make a claim against the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF or Maryland Auto) through its unsatisfied claim and judgment (UCJ) division.
  • Compensation is available for several types of damages. This includes economic damages such as expenses, non-economic damages like pain and suffering, inconvenience, etc., punitive damages (if malice is found), collateral source (recovering additional damages from an at-fault driver even if your insurance company has already compensated you). 

If you have been injured in an auto accident in Maryland, whether you were a passenger or pedestrian, an experienced lawyer can help you determine which course of action is best for you. 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.