Baltimore Car Accident Attorney
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.
Maryland has recently been ranked as having the second- longest commute in the nation, at 32.6 minutes. With this increased travel time, accidents become more common and often more severe due to the commute being on fast-paced highways. If you have been in a car accident and don’t know what to do first, call an experienced Baltimore attorney. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice will help you gather the documentation you need and will walk you through the process answering any questions you may have.
Maryland Vehicle Accident Statistics
|Year||Total Fatalities||Drivers Involved||Passenger Vehicles|
In the above table, you can see the breakdown of total accident deaths, plus the number of vehicle drivers involved and the total amount of passenger vehicles involved. Looking at the total accident data, there has been a large decrease of 139 of total accident fatalities, which is a 27.09% drop. This is very encouraging!
Total Traffic Accident Fatalities in Baltimore County by Year (2011-2015):
- 2011: 72 fatalities out of 485 MD State-wide Total = 14.8% of state total
- 2012: 68 fatalities out of 511 MD State-wide Total = 13.3% of state total
- 2013: 12 fatalities out of 465 MD State-wide Total = 2.6% of state total
- 2014: 64 fatalities out of 442 MD State-wide Total = 14.5% of state total
- 2015: 69 fatalities out of 513 MD State-wide Total = 13.5% of state total
What are the most common types of car accidents?
- Rear-end collisions
- Single vehicle crashes
- T-Bone or side-impact cross traffic
- Front or head-on collisions
- Side-swipe accidents
- Low-speed crashes (fender benders)
- Clipping from merging
- Vehicle roll-overs
- Multi-vehicle collisions
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Single Vehicle Accidents
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.
Handling Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are highly influential during the entire process of dealing with a car accident. One of the first thoughts that go through people’s minds when involved in an accident is to contact insurance and hope the other person has insurance. The insurance companies will try to gauge how much your case is worth to try to settle outside of court. Often times insurance companies will try to get you to settle for what a fraction of your case is worth. Whether you decide to settle or go to court, having a Baltimore car accident attorney will stand by your side.
When you have an attorney standing up for what is best for you, the process can become much less stressful. Having an experienced attorney will bring a wealth of knowledge as to legal tactics in court and when communicating with insurance companies. When it comes times for insurance companies to pay for your medical bills and property damage, they may more often than not try to get you to pay a portion of the damages. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice we take a firm approach in dealing with insurance companies and will work to ensure that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for damages or injuries.
First Steps to Take after an Accident
When you have been involved in a car accident the first thing that you should do is seek help or treatment for anyone involved in the accident by calling 911. Once you ensure that help is on the way and no one needs immediate treatment, then you should gather and swap information with the other vehicles involved. When collecting the information, it is crucial to take pictures and document the damage. These steps, if taken, will ensure that everyone has the information they need and can help move along the litigation process.
However, there are also steps that should not be taken after a car accident. The main don’t is don’t leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive or swapping information with the other drivers. Leaving the scene of the accident is a crime and can lead to many issues with the law. You also should not speak to any insurance companies about settling without first discussing your situation with an experienced Baltimore attorney. After the accident, you should contact an attorney to discuss the possible outcomes of your case.
Accidents in Parking Lots
If you have been involved in an accident in a parking lot, fear not, you are not alone. Parking lot accidents are common, but luckily normally occur at a lower speed. Parking lot accidents are treated in the same manner as an accident on the road. However, oftentimes in parking lot accidents pedestrians are involved. When determining who is at fault in these types of accidents one will look to see if the driver was at fault and whether the pedestrian was negligent therefore contributing to the accident.
What is Negligence?
Once the accident has occurred the police will issue a report if one of the persons requires medical assistance or one of the vehicles must be towed. When the report is written it will provide details as to how the accident occurred. When determining who is at fault the theory behind it is normally negligence, which is the failure to act as a reasonable person would. This could encompass speeding, weaving in and out of traffic or breaking any other traffic laws. If you are the injured person bringing suit, then you must prove that the other driver acted negligently and that caused the accident. If both parties are at fault then it will be important to discuss your options with a Baltimore car accident attorney.
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:
- Driving above or below the speed limit
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving (like texting and driving or cell phone use)
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to use signals while turning
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
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.
Alcohol Impaired Fatality Statistics in Maryland (2006-2015)
- 2006: 189 fatalities
- 2007: 178 fatalities
- 2008: 145 fatalities
- 2009: 165 fatalities
- 2010: 154 fatalities
- 2011: 161 fatalities
- 2012: 163 fatalities
- 2013: 137 fatalities
- 2014: 130 fatalities
- 2015: 159 fatalities
The number of fatalities from 2015 had an increase of 29 fatalities compared to the numbers from 2014. Looking at 2015 compared to 2006 data, we are seeing a decrease in the number of deaths by 30, which is an 18.86% improvement.
For Dangerous Road Conditions
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.
Vehicle Defects can be a major factor in Auto Accidents
Here are some of the most common types of car defects that can cause injuries or death on the road:
- Faulty Brakes
- Tire Defects
- Steering Wheel or System
- Airbag Defects
- Seatbelt Failures
- Electrical or Wiring
- Accelerator Controls
- Child Safety Equipment
If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident because of one of the above situation, you could be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer. For more information about product liability, visit our Defective Products page and contact us for a free case evaluation.
Amount of Damages
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:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost time at work
- Pain and its consequences, such as loss of sleep and disruptions of social, recreational, and other activity (within the limits that Maryland imposes on these “noneconomic damages”)
- Cost of accommodating diminished function (canes, crutches, wheelchairs, ramps, etc)
It’s equally important that you be able to establish both that:
- The injuries were caused by the car accident; it can be tricky when you have had similar injuries from other accidents, or suffer additional injuries from an incident after the car accident, and
- How long the injuries are likely to last; this can also be tricky, especially for injuries to the brain or spine, or any injuries that that don’t become immediately apparent but develop and worsen over time
Baltimore Car Accident Attorney: Get the Legal Help You Need
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.