More than 2 million people were injured in traffic accidents in 2013 according to federal data. Maryland certainly experiences its share of those accidents. On the crowded roads around our major cities, like Baltimore and nearby Washington, accidents are part of commuting life. While many are the classic “fender benders” that cause vehicle damage and disrupt schedules, others cause severe injuries or death.
The accident itself is merely the start of an often lengthy process of sorting out who is responsible for what and who is entitled to be compensated by whom. It’s a process that involves the police, other drivers and passengers, multiple insurance companies and their adjusters, and, if you really want to protect yourself, an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney.
For many losses, your own insurer is the first place to look for recovery. For example property damage to your vehicle is payable by your own insurer, which then looks to recover the same amount from the insurer of the driver at fault. Physical injuries caused by an uninsured (or unknown) driver fall under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy. An experienced car accident attorney can also help you in these instances, if your insurer decides not to pay or unreasonably delays payment.
To recover damages from someone as a result of an auto accident, you first need to establish that the accident that caused your injuries was that person’s fault. There are many, many different things that a driver can do that result in liability for an accident. The most common are:
Proving how the accident happened usually involves both witness testimony and technical reconstructions of the event based on things like the length and direction of skid marks, and the location of the damage to each vehicle. The credibility of each driver can be crucial in collisions that weren’t witnessed by anyone else.
Not all accidents are the fault of a driver. In some cases, the dangerous condition of the roadway itself causes an accident. In those accidents, compensation for injuries may be recovered from the person who caused the dangerous condition, or from whoever is responsible maintaining the road in a safe condition. These cases tend to be considerably more difficult than the traditional “negligent driver” case.
Here are some of the most common types of car defects that can cause injuries or death on the road:
Establishing that the other driver is legally responsible for the accident is a big step, but you still have to establish the extent of your injuries. Since the law can’t undo your injuries, it’s up to you and your attorney to translate those injuries into a dollar amount. The best way to do that is by being very organized and detailed from the beginning. Getting an experienced car accident attorney involved early in the process is a major advantage. The attorney can offer concrete advice on how to document injuries like:
It’s equally important that you be able to establish both that:
The need for experienced legal advice begins very early in the process: police do follow-up investigations; the other driver’s insurance company sends around an adjuster; your own insurance company starts asking questions that may indicate it doesn’t believe your version of the events; a lawyer for someone else involved in the accident wants to talk to you. No matter how informal and “friendly” these contacts (adjusters, in particular are trained to be friendly), each one is a potential trap that can reduce your chances of recovering for all your injuries.
Baltimore, Maryland car accident lawyer G. Randolph Rice can help you at every step of the process, making sure that your interests are protected all the way through to a fair settlement or a court verdict in your favor. For an experienced, committed, and skilled, legal advocate, call today to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case. There is no fee unless you recover.