Bethesda, MD Car Accident Lawyer
Injuries from car accidents are one of the most common causes of accidental death. Nonfatal injuries are also incredibly common, with millions of people in the U.S. seeking emergency medical treatment after car accidents each year.
If you were injured in a car crash, or a family member was killed in a car accident, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today.
In the vast majority of car accidents, one or more drivers who were involved in the accident are to blame for causing it. Car accident victims are often entitled to sue the at-fault driver to seek financial compensation for their vehicle damage, injuries, and other harms resulting from the crash.
Once you file your claim for your injuries and the damage to your car, you will likely be contacted by the responsible party’s insurance provider. Dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company can be tricky, and it is always helpful to have the assistance of an attorney throughout the process.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys specialize in dealing with the difficult aspects of achieving compensation after a car accident so that our clients can stay focused on recovery after their injuries.
For a free, confidential legal consultation on your injury case, call our Bethesda, MD, car accident lawyers today. Our phone number is (410) 694-7291.
Calculating What Your Car Accident Case is Worth
One of the biggest questions that victims may have after a car accident is how much their case is worth – or if they have a case at all. Any time you face vehicle damage or personal injuries in a car crash caused by another driver, you certainly have a potential case.
The question of how much your case is worth comes down to the specific facts of your case and a thorough investigation and analysis. Your attorney can help with this step.
It is important first to understand what damages you may be entitled to claim. Typically, the goal of a car accident lawsuit is to put the victim back to where they were before the car crash.
That means any expenses stemming from the crash could be claimed as damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle damage
In a case involving the death of a loved one, it is impossible to put things back how they were.
However, there are often many more financial harms and intangible harms that you can seek compensation for, including the following:
- End-of-life medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost companionship
- Lost counsel
- Lost household chores
- Lost investments
Calculating these damages can be complex. In some situations, you may have recovered from your injury already, and you know the total cost of medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages you faced.
These can be totaled up and presented in court. However, other cases with ongoing or future damages may need the help of a lawyer or financial expert to estimate future damages and calculate the present value of these damages.
The cost of damages for intangible effects like pain and suffering is calculated based on other similar cases and the comparative effect that the injury had on you.
For instance, if your pain and suffering make it impossible to participate in activities you love or hold your children, you could face higher damages than if the pain had no permanent effects.
Calculating Settlement Amounts After Car Accidents in Bethesda, MD
After you are injured in a car accident, the insurance provider for the liable party may attempt to offer you a settlement.
An insurance settlement is a deal between a potential plaintiff and the insurance company that is on the hook for covering the plaintiff’s damages, wherein the insurance company will agree to pay a certain amount of money in exchange for the potential plaintiff’s waiver of their right to bring their case to court.
Insurance companies have their settlement strategy down to a very specific science. The insurance company will take the total claimed economic damages (including medical expenses and lost wages) and multiply that amount by a number that represents the severity of the accident and the pain and suffering that the victim might endure as a result.
This number ranges anywhere between two and five, with five representing the most severe injuries. For instance, a broken arm might receive a multiplier of two, while a severed arm may receive a multiplier of four or five, depending on the plaintiff’s background.
It may be beneficial to avoid going to court for your recovery, but that does not mean that you should take less than you need to recover from your car accident injuries.
Insurance companies may try to exploit potential plaintiffs if they see that they do not have representation. The best way to be sure that the insurance company is offering you a fair settlement is to speak with a Bethesda car accident lawyer.
Lawyers have been through the insurance negotiation process before and can identify quickly whether you are being dealt with in bad faith.
Common Types of Car Crashes in Bethesda, MD
Car crashes tend to occur because of a few common mistakes and causes. Our attorneys commonly handle accidents caused by the following issues and may be able to help with your case as well:
Speed is a factor in causing most car accidents. Even if speed is not the only cause, the fact that the driver was going over the speed limit may have contributed to the accident or enhanced the harm the crash caused.
Whichever driver was speeding is often at fault for the crash. If both drivers were speeding, the jury may not consider that a relevant factor in who was at fault and may look to other issues.
Drowsy and Drunk Driving
Drunk drivers have reduced reaction time, reduced judgment, and other deficits in motor skills and mental skills that make them a huge risk behind the wheel. Tired driving has many of these same risks and can make a driver just as dangerous as an intoxicated driver.
Failing to Yield or Stop
Many accidents occur when drivers fail to stop where they are supposed to or fail to yield to another driver who has the right of way. Drivers who run a stop sign or enter an intersection when they shouldn’t can cause serious accidents if another driver hits them.
Similarly, failing to yield when merging or entering a highway could force other drivers off the road or force them into other lanes of traffic, causing potentially serious high-speed collisions.
Like speeding, distraction is another common contributing cause in many car accidents. Taking your eyes off the road for a second is often expected, but drivers who have significant mental or physical distractions in their car might be at fault for a crash.
This is especially true of drivers who text while driving, taking their eyes away from the road and their hands away from the wheel. This puts other drivers at risk, and evidence of serious distractions can help prove a driver was at fault for the crash.
Following Too Closely/Tailgating
Drivers who follow too closely are typically violating traffic laws against tailgating. Not only that, but these drivers are putting themselves and others at risk.
Keeping a proper following distance helps avoid accidents by giving you enough time to react and enough room to stop your vehicle if there is an emergency need to stop or if the car in front of you stops.
This required stopping room is larger at high speeds, so tailgating at highway speeds is especially negligent.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Bethesda, MD
What you do in the time immediately after your car accident in Bethesda will have a direct and substantial impact on your ability to recover for damages.
At the scene, be sure to document all relevant information. Take pictures of the vehicle damage and the scene where the accident occurred.
Get insurance information from all other drivers involved, and call 911 so that the dispatcher can send an officer to write up an accident report.
The report will be critical to establishing the facts that allow you to recover.
Also, if there are eyewitnesses to the accident, try to get contact information from them in case you need them to make a statement down the line.
Once the situation is resolved, seek medical care immediately. Leaving too much time in between the accident and medical examination opens the door for the insurance company to question the severity of the injuries or whether they were in fact caused by the accident.
Keep a record of all the medical expenses that you incur while you are having your injuries assessed and treated.
When you have a full picture of the damages caused by the accident, you can file your claim with the insurance company. This will trigger a process that will lead to an insurance representative contacting you about your claim.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies after a Car Accident in Bethesda, MD
Expect to hear from the other driver’s insurance company soon after a claim has been filed.
The insurance representative may want to ask you questions about the accident or get you to confirm a version of the story that they already have.
You are not obligated to provide the insurance representative with any additional information about the events, regardless of what they tell you. Insurance companies attempt to get car accident injury victims to admit to a version of events that will limit their recovery.
The insurance company can use any statement you make to them in court if your case goes to trial. These statements will impact your ability to recover.
You should instead designate your attorney to communicate with the insurance provider on your behalf. A diligent Bethesda car accident lawyer will be well aware of the tricks that insurance providers employ to limit victims’ recoveries.
We can help you avoid the pitfalls that accompany communications with insurance representatives and negotiate a lucrative and discrete settlement package that gets you the compensation you need to move on from your injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Bethesda, MD
A car accident injury victim in Bethesda does not have forever to file a lawsuit to recover for their injuries. Maryland law requires that car accident lawsuits be filed within three years of the date of the accident. Lawsuits that are filed after the deadline will be dismissed by a
Maryland court without even being heard on the merits.
While three years may seem like a long time, the deadline can sneak up on you. Preparing and filing your lawsuit may take a substantial amount of time, so you must act quickly if you hope to achieve a recovery proportional to your injuries.
Contact a Bethesda car accident lawyer immediately if you would like to ensure that your voice is heard.
Call Our Bethesda Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Case Consultation
After a car crash, it is vital to speak with an attorney about how much your case is worth and how to maximize your compensation. Our lawyers can help you file a car accident lawsuit and avoid settlements from insurance companies or at-fault drivers who fail to cover your needs in full.
Call the Bethesda car crash lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today to schedule a free initial consultation on your case and to get further help with your car accident lawsuit. Our phone number is (410) 694-7291.