When you have questions about your Maryland car accident, we’re here to help. Below, the team at Zirkin & Schmerling Law answers common questions about car accident injuries, auto insurance, Maryland laws and how to seek compensation for your car accident case.
If you have additional questions or need legal advice regarding your personal injury claim, please call our law office at 410-356-4455 to speak with one of our experienced injury lawyers or schedule your free consultation online.
Car Accident FAQ
- What Do I Do If I Am In a Car Accident In Maryland?
After a car accident in Maryland, there are certain steps you should follow to preserve your rights and protect yourself:
- Make sure that you and others in the car are not experiencing a life-threatening injury.
- Do not move the cars until you get pictures of the crash, but also make sure that you are somewhere safe.
- After you have checked on everyone in the car make sure to call 911 to report the crash.
- While waiting for the police make sure to take pictures of the property damage and license plates of all vehicles involved in the crash. During this time if the other drive comes to speak with you do more listening then talking. Immediately write down anything the other driver said to you so you don’t forget.
- When the police come to the scene make sure to give them a statement of what occurred. Before the police leave, they will provide you with an accident exchange of information sheet. This document will help your attorney track down the actual police report written by the police officer.
- Make sure to have a picture of the other drivers license and registration before leaving the scene of the crash.
- If at any point while on the scene of the crash you feel like you need immediate medical attention then make sure to take an ambulance to the hospital. If your car ends up getting towed make sure you know where its being towed. Then call a lawyer at Zirkin and Schmerling Law. Our office will make sure you are treated fairly by the insurance company and that you get the compensation you deserve.
- How Much Is My Car Accident Worth?
It’s hard to say exactly how much your car accident is worth until you speak to a Maryland car accident attorney for a free and confidential consultation. However, in all car accident cases, the value of your claim involves two main elements: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Your economic damages are financial costs and include things like past and future medical bills, loss of earning capacity, past and future lost wages, car repairs,and diminution of value.. Non-economic damages involve your pain, suffering, permanent injury, permanent disfigurement, and impact on your relationships.
In cases that involve malicious or intentional acts, there may also be punitive damages awarded to you. Talk to a Maryland car accident lawyer about how to calculate your damages and the total value of your case.
- What Is The Legal Deadline For Car Accidents In Maryland?
You can’t wait too long before filing a car accident lawsuit in Maryland. The statute of limitations in most Maryland car accident cases is three years from the date of the accident. If a child was injured as a minor, their three-year period begins the day that they turn 18 years old instead of the day of the accident.
Cases involving state or local government entities have different, and usually shorter, deadlines. So please don’t wait to find out how long you have to start your case. Contact Zirkin & Schmerling Law as soon as possible. Filing before the deadlines is an essential part of determining who pays for the costs of a car accident and ensuring you won’t have to handle all the costs yourself.
- Should I Call The Police After The Car Accident?
Yes, you should call the police after an accident and call 911 to report any injuries. This is the best way to get medical help right away and start a paper trail of evidence regarding the basic facts of your accident.
A police report reinforces your version of the accident and helps prevent the other person from placing blame where it doesn’t belong. The police will also gather important information you can use, like the other driver’s insurance information and the names and contact information of witnesses.
Remember, you are required by Maryland state law to exchange basic contact and insurance information with another driver in an accident. Don’t leave the scene until you do this and alert the police about the accident.
- What Is The Collateral Source Rule?
Maryland’s Collateral Source Rule says that car accident victims can recover the full amount of their damages even if insurance pays a portion of them. In other words, your damages are not limited to what you paid out of pocket.
Let’s say that PIP insurance paid $2,500 worth of your medical bills and the total cost of your medical bills was $5,000. Under the Collateral Source Rule, you are entitled to the full $5,000 in a lawsuit, and the insurance company or another party can’t use the fact that you were insured against you. The same is also true if your health insurance were to pay $2,500 of your bills. Once again, the at-fault insurance company would still be responsible for the full costs of all of your medicals bills, which in this example would be $5,000.
- Am I Covered By Insurance?
We can’t be 100% certain whether you’re covered by insurance until we investigate your specific situation, but the good news is that some type of insurance usually applies to Maryland car accidents. There are many types of insurance out there!
Your accident could be covered by your car insurance, the other driver’s car insurance, your health insurance, company vehicle insurance, a commercial trucking company’s insurance, PIP insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, Uber/Lyft insurance, or a government agency’s insurance policy. Car accident lawyers are experts at researching and revealing potential sources of insurance coverage.
Even if the cost of your accident goes above and beyond the limit of one insurance policy, there may be a secondary policy to pursue. Or you might be able to start a lawsuit against the responsible person to further cover your losses. There are many options to consider and your lawyer can help you determine if one or more of these options applies to your accident.
- What Kinds Of Damages Are Available To Me If I Was Injured In A Car Accident Where The Other Driver Was At Fault?
If the accident is your fault, you’re probably out of luck in terms of getting compensation. You can apply for personal injury protection with your insurance company to pay the first $2,500 of your medical bills. However, if you can establish that the other driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, reduced earning capacity, loss of your hobbies and life enjoyment, car repairs, diminution of value, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and partial and/or permanent disfigurement.
Your ability to secure payment for these damages hinges on providing proof of them and showing that the other driver caused them.
- What Are Some Delayed Injury Symptoms That Show Up After A Car Accident?
There are many delayed symptoms of car accident injuries that either become more obvious as time passes or would only be apparent to a trained medical professional. In some cases, these symptoms may take days or weeks to arise. It is important to have a doctor provide a full physical exam to determine and document any injuries you may have from the crash.
Some of the most severe car accident injuries involve delayed or hard-to-detect symptoms. For example, a concussion or brain injury can have delayed-onset symptoms like dizziness, blackouts, blurry vision, confusion, and sensory problems. As another example, back and spinal injuries can have wide-ranging impacts across the body that aren’t necessarily apparent immediately after an accident.
- I Don't Have Any Obvious Injuries. Should I Still See A Doctor?
You should still see a doctor to at least get checked out.. Car accident victims are often bad at determining the presence and severity of their own injuries due to the impact of trauma, the rush of adrenaline, and the nature of the injuries themselves.
For example, a brain injury can impact your decision-making ability so you might not go to the doctor, thinking nothing’s wrong with you. Yet a brain injury is one of the most severe and expensive injuries you can face and requires fast medical intervention.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also very difficult for patients to recognize in themselves and requires a mental health professional’s input. Please pursue a professional evaluation of your physical and mental injuries as soon as possible.
- Should I Answer Any Questions Insurance Companies Ask After My Car Accident?
Be very careful about what you say to any insurance company in the accident – including your own insurance company and that of the other party. In almost every case you should not speak to the other driver’s insurance company. You will most likely need to speak with your own insurance company. Before doing so it is important to speak to an attorney so that he/she can properly help you navigate dealing with insurance companies.
- What's Important In A Car Accident Investigation?
The most important aspect of a car accident investigation is gathering the evidence you need to successfully back up your compensation claim. The burden is, unfortunately, upon the injured person to prove that they were hurt, who hurt them, and what their losses were.
Having excellent legal representation is also extremely important. It’s very difficult to handle an accident case alone while you’re already struggling to rest and recover from your injuries. Your lawyer relieves your huge burden of legal work and ensures your case is handled professionally, giving you the best possible chance at a positive outcome.
- What Are Common Causes Of Car Accidents?
Some of the most common causes of car accidents are speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and getting behind the wheel while too fatigued to drive safely. Reckless driving and road rage are also contributors to many accidents on Maryland’s roads.
Cell phones and other electronic devices are increasingly a factor in traffic accidents. Despite Maryland’s rules against distracted driving and texting and driving, some drivers just can’t put down their devices long enough to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
When you get right down to it, most car accidents can be attributed to driver negligence of some kind. If you can prove that the other driver was negligent, this is the first step to successfully claiming compensation for your damages that arose from the accident.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights and receiving compensation for your injuries, the attorneys at the law firm of Zirkin & Schmerling can help. Contact our Maryland car accident attorneys at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced car accident injury lawyers today.