Injury lawyers servicing Baltimore, Southern Maryland, Prince George’s County, and other Maryland metro areas
Maryland car accidents happen too often. In fact, according to AllState’s “America’s Best Drivers” report of 2015, Baltimore drivers rank 198 on a list of 200 American cities, according to motor vehicle accident data. Washington, DC fares only slightly better at 197.
Lets face it, from major crashes to fender benders,no one wants to be involved in a car accident. But if it happens to you, the experienced Maryland car accident lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have you covered.
Failure of drivers to act responsibly while at the wheel of a car, motorcycle or 18-wheeler can result in physical disability, including the loss of a limb or paralyzation, paraplegia and quadriplegia. Injuries sustained to the head can leave a victim suffering from severe brain damage. And in the most horrific car accidents, a victim could lose their life.
What should I do if I’ve been in a Maryland Car Accident?
The most important thing to do after an auto accident is make sure you and any passengers in your car are physically safe and to seek immediate medical attention if necessary.
Assuming there are no serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention, it is usually a good idea to call the police. This typically helps ensure that insurance information is exchanged between you and the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
After the accident, once you have received any medical attention and exchanged insurance information with the other person or people involved, the process of dealing with insurance companies begins. This can be a complicated and frustrating process.Although people sometimes handle insurance claims by themselves, many will hire an attorney to help guide them through the twists and turns of dealing with car insurance companies.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Maryland automobile accident, it is important you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. At Ashcraft & Gerel, we are lawyers who know Maryland car accident law and we can help you determine if you need a car accident lawyer and, if so, guide you through the necessary steps.
The Maryland auto accident lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have years of extensive experience negotiating with insurers, and assessing your case to make sure that accident victims receive a just and fair compensation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us unless and until you recover compensation. Please contact us today if you are interested in speaking with an attorney about your rights after a car accident.
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we believe that every Maryland driver should be aware of the process, rules, and legal guidelines involved in the aftermath of a car accident.
Maryland Car Insurance Requirements
The Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles mandates that every registered driver must not only have insurance, but also minimum coverage in different areas.
- At least $30,000. Covers the injury or death of one person in case of a car accident. This means coverage for you or someone else. For example, if you accidentally hit someone and they require medical treatment, this minimum amount will cover their medical bills.
- At least $60,000. Covers the injury or death of more than one person. An example is if you accidentally run a red light and hit a car with two or more people in it, injuring everyone in the car, this money will help cover the costs of any injuries sustained.
- At least $15,000. Covers any property damage. In most cases “property damage” refers to any damage to the vehicles involved in the auto accident.
Though we all hope we will never have to use it, there is a reason Maryland requires all drivers to carry it: if you are involved in an auto or car accident, you and the others involved will be protected by this coverage.
Four Things You Should Know About Maryland Car Accident Law
- Giving notice. The state of Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations to file a car accident claim. The time begins on the date the accident occurs. With this in mind, as soon as possible after the car accident, call the other driver’s insurance company to “give notice,” or inform them that a claim is being filed. If you choose to hire an attorney after this point, he or she will promptly follow this verbal notice with a written letter to the insurance company. We generally recommend that you do not agree to give a recorded statement to any insurance company without first consulting and/or being represented by an attorney to protect your interests. Insurance company claim adjusters, the company employee who handles accident claims, are trained in the way they conduct their recorded interviews to elicit information from you which can be used against you during settlement negotiations or trial.
- Fault. Maryland is what is known as a “Fault” State. This means if you are hurt or your car is at all damaged, you can file a claim with the other driver or other driver’s insurance company, assuming that they are at fault. This type of claim is what is known as a “third party claim.” For example, if you are stopped at a red light and you are rear ended by a driver or driving your car for work or a company vehicle, you would file a claim with the other person’s or your company’s insurance company.
- Contributory negligence. Maryland is one of the few states that still follows what is known as contributory negligence. In simplest terms, this means that if you are found to be even 1% responsible for the car accident, you cannot recover any money under Maryland law. This law can also affect your insurance claim. For example, an insurance adjuster will use an allegation of contributory negligence against you in settlement negotiations to try and reduce the amount of money the insurance company must pay you. If you choose to file a civil suit in addition to your insurance claim, contributory negligence still applies. If the judge or jury finds the other driver 99% responsible and you only 1% responsible, that 1% will bar you from collecting any money from the insurance company or the other driver. Because there is no concrete, scientific way to prove or disprove blame, the way to receive insurance money on your car accident claim will typically come down to negotiation between your attorney and the claims adjuster. In the case of a civil lawsuit, the same idea applies.
- Uninsured Motorist (UIM). The UIM provision of your auto policy provides coverage for someone hurt if you or a passenger are involved in a car accident with someone who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs of the accident. In order to ensure that individuals are covered by insurance when injured by an uninsured/underinsured driver, each auto insurance policy sold in the state of Maryland must contain uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
This is just a brief introduction into the world of Maryland car accidents and insurance companies. There is a lot a red tape to cut through and the task can seem daunting.
Allow one of the Maryland car crash lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel to help guide you through the complexities of your case. In Maryland alone, we have nine car accident lawyers, each with many years of experience. If you or someone you know has been injured in an car, motorcycle or trucking accident in the state of Maryland, please don’t hesitate to contact us or call 1-800-829-7037.