Clinton, MD Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can leave victims with expensive bills for vehicle repairs, hospital stays, physical therapy, and other expenses. Victims can also face plenty of intangible harms like pain and suffering. For help getting the compensation you need after a crash, you should consider working with an experienced attorney.
Injury attorneys can help their clients get the compensation they need rather than accepting whatever insurance offers you. We can also collect evidence and work to build a strong case to protect your claim against accusations of contributory negligence that might ruin your chance at compensation.
For a free case evaluation, contact our car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
How to Get Compensation for a Car Accident Case in Clinton, MD
After an accident, you could have a few different options for getting compensation. Many will be presented by the driver who hit you or their insurance company, so it is important to look at these options skeptically and speak with a car accident lawyer instead of relying on the other side’s representations.
Accepting Cash from the Driver
If a driver hit you and offered you cash to avoid taking the case to their insurance company, you should be suspicious of that. Even a cash settlement like this functions as a legal settlement and could block you from getting additional compensation for your injuries beyond the cash they offered you. In many cases, you will not know the full extent of the accident and injuries at this early stage, and “handling the case without insurance” could mean giving up your right to thousands of dollars of medical bills or other damages you have not noticed yet.
Accepting Insurance Settlements
With first-party benefits like PIP, you might be able to file with your own insurance company to get some damages paid quickly. However, doing so could mean that if you file a claim against the other driver later, your insurance company might be able to recoup some of those payments in a subrogation claim.
If you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability policy, you could be entitled to damages for any injuries they caused you, even damages that your own insurance might not cover (e.g., pain and suffering damages). However, it is important to have an attorney review your case and help you understand what your case should be worth.
Many insurance companies seek to offer low settlements that will end a case early and prevent them from having to put additional time and expense into fighting liability in court. These so-called “nuisance settlements” are often unfair to victims who face real, tangible injuries and expensive consequences of the at-fault driver’s actions behind the wheel. Instead, our lawyers can negotiate with the insurance company and seek to get payments that cover your needs in full.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you cannot get the insurance company or the at-fault driver to agree to pay you the full value of what you are owed – or at least something close to it – then you might be able to take your case to court. In a civil personal injury trial, the court decides your case instead of leaving the decision to the insurance company.
When your case goes before a judge and jury, the judge decides the legal issues and the jury decides the factual issues. This means that the jury ultimately decides which side to believe, which side is at fault, and how much the case is worth. Our lawyers can present all of the evidence you have in an attempt to get the jury on your side and get you the damages you need, even over the objections of insurance companies and other drivers.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident in Clinton, MD
Before a court can order damages paid for a car accident injury case, it must decide the issue of fault. If either driver committed a traffic violation or otherwise drove unreasonably, and that mistake caused the crash, then they will be held liable for the accident. Liability is like the civil law version of guilty and means that they lose the case and have to pay damages to the victim.
Sometimes fault is straightforward, especially when a traffic violation is caught on camera or there were plenty of witnesses that saw what the defendant did wrong. In other cases, it comes down to testimony from both parties and a jury deciding which driver they believe.
In some cases, fault might not be so clear-cut, and multiple people could share fault. This is common in multi-car crashes, where each driver could share some level of fault. If multiple other drivers shared fault in causing your accident, then you could be entitled to proportional damages from each driver who contributed to the accident.
If the victim contributed to the crash in any way, Maryland law will block them from being able to continue with their suit and seek damages. This is called a “contributory negligence” rule, and it is very strict. Nonetheless, drivers who might have had less-than-perfect performance behind the wheel can still hold the other driver accountable if they were grossly negligent, e.g., by committing a seriously dangerous infraction while driving. The other driver can also be responsible if you did something wrong but they had the “last clear chance” to stop the crash from happening and still committed a violation or unsafe maneuver that caused the crash to happen.
Determining fault is an incredibly fact-sensitive issue, and courts are always instructed to look at the “totality of the circumstances” when making decisions rather than trusting any one party or witness’ word on what happened.
Reach Out to Our Clinton, MD Car Accident Attorneys
Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a free review of your case with our car accident lawyers by calling (410) 694-7291.