According to a Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT) report, the nearly 108,000 traffic accidents reported to police in Maryland in 2015 produced 44,816 injuries and 521 deaths, including pedestrians and bicyclists,. Every year, more than 500 people have died due to car crashes in the state.
Statistically speaking, these vehicle accidents are most likely to take place in the areas surrounding Baltimore and Washington, D.C. But the truth is that traffic accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, and when they do, they can profoundly affect you and your family.
A Pleasant Hills car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow will fight to protect your rights. While you focus on healing after being injured in a car accident, we will focus on your legal case. Call (410) 777-8960 today for a free consultation.
Steps to Take After a Car Wreck
Once you have dealt with your initial responsibilities following a car accident, there are two things you should do. If you are suffering from injuries, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. In some cases, symptoms of an injury may not appear immediately. You should also be certain to file an accident report with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office if one has not been filed yet. These two actions can be beneficial to you. For one, you are looking out for your health and performing your civic duties, but they also provide you evidence when it is time to file a compensation claim.
For legal consultation with a car accident attorney in Pleasant Hills, call (410)777-8960
Understanding Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Standard
Elsewhere in the country, a simple process often plays out following a car accident in which an injured victim files a claim with the other motorist’s insurance company. The insurance company will investigate the victim’s claim and—depending on the circumstances of the case and the state’s laws—offer a settlement. The parties will negotiate and, if no deal is reached, the victim will file a lawsuit. In Maryland, this process is not always so straightforward.
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The biggest difference between Maryland and most other states is that Maryland follows pure contributory negligence rules. Per Maryland’s contributory negligence rules, if you are deemed to be even 1% at fault in an accident, you cannot recover damages. This rule is only the case in three other states and Washington, D.C. Your recovery is reduced based on your degree of fault in many other states, but it is not eliminated.
In Maryland, the other motorist’s insurer only must demonstrate in court that you are 1% at fault to escape compensating you for damage to your vehicle and your personal injuries. For this reason, it is important that you record as much as possible from the accident that you remember. A Pleasant Hills car accident lawyer can help protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow at (410) 777-8960 today for a free consultation.
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Car Insurance Liability
Maryland does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, though insurers offer it. PIP covers motorists’ lost wages and medical bills regardless of fault following an automobile accident. If you do not have PIP and are found even slightly at fault for an accident, you could be responsible for your vehicle’s damage and your medical bills.
If you file a claim against another motorist’s insurance company, your settlement will be limited by the amount of coverage they carry. Maryland requires a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage and $15,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage. (The law also requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist insurance coverage of equal value, which will cover you if the other party does not have insurance.)
If your damages exceed the other person’s insurance coverage, you may take your case to court. Your Pleasant Hills car accident lawyer can discuss your options with you.
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Recovery of Damages Is Limited After Being Injured in a Traffic Accident in Pleasant Hills
Maryland does not limit economic damages—for example, tangible damages such as past and future medical expenses and lost wages—in personal injury cases. There is a cap on softer noneconomic damages for things like pain and suffering and mental anguish, as spelled out in Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code §11-108—109.
If the car accident resulted in a wrongful death claim with two or more beneficiaries, the courts would cap the total noneconomic damages at 150% of the established limit by law.
There are no limits on punitive damages, but the state sets a high bar for receiving them. They can only be awarded when there is “actual malice,” meaning the other party intended to do you harm or knew their actions would be harmful.
Statute of Limitations in Maryland
Most civil actions, including lawsuits involving car accidents, must be filed within three years from the date of the accident, according to Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code §5–101.
Contact the Office of a Pleasant Hills Car Accident Attorney for Help Today
A Pleasant Hills car accident lawyer can help protect your rights after a car crash and will fight for the compensation you deserve. You should not have to worry about dealing with insurance companies and filing claims; we will take care of that while taking care of yourself.
Call (410) 777-8960 for a free consultation with the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow today.
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