Our Baltimore car accident lawyer is sometimes asked can you file a car accident lawsuit in Maryland if there is no damage? It’s still possible to suffer an injury in the absence of property damage to a car, truck, or motorcycle. You can file a lawsuit for an injury regardless of property damage.
However, if your vehicle escapes an accident without a scratch, the task of convincing an auto insurance company that the crash caused your injuries can be more difficult. Given the more complex nature of these accidents, you should consider contacting a Baltimore personal injury lawyer to make your case.
People who are involved in accidents with no damage may have grounds to claim against another driver. This can even be the case if no impact occurs between the vehicles.
Why Should You File a No-Damage Car Accident Lawsuit in Maryland?
If two cars collide and there is no obvious physical damage, property damage may have occurred. The impact can cause hidden damage to the frame of the car or the suspension. This is often not obvious at the time of the collision. Likewise, you can suffer injuries from a low impact collision or even an incident with no contact between vehicles.
For example, a driver may be on MD 2 heading east to Annapolis. Suddenly, another car fails to stop at a stop sign and pulls out onto the highway in front of him. The driver with the right of way slams on his brakes to avoid a collision. The car reduces speed rapidly from 50 mph to zero. In doing so, the driver’s head is rocked back and forth and he suffers a whiplash injury. He managed to avoid hitting the car that pulled out, but he suffered a soft tissue injury. There was no damage to either car. However, the driver who came to a stop has grounds to make an insurance claim for his injuries and to file a subsequent lawsuit.
These scenarios can be difficult. The at-fault driver likely will not have stopped at the scene. As far as he was concerned, there was no impact, no accident, and no injuries.
If you sustained an injury in a near-miss, you should make sure to file a police report, even if the other driver left the scene. If possible, get the license plate number of his car. Take photographs at the scene and talk to people who may have witnessed what happened. If there is no accident scene, drive to the nearest police station to file a report. You should also report your injury or suspected injury to your insurance company.
If you sustained whiplash or another injury from a no-impact crash, you should protect yourself as much as possible. Even if the driver who caused the injury cannot be traced, you may be able to make a claim under UIM (uninsured motorist coverage).
What Injuries Are Associated with a No Impact Crash?
The most serious injuries usually occur in car wrecks that cause considerable damage. It stands to reason that the occupants of a car that flips over and ends up crushed will be more seriously hurt than those involved in a minor fender bender with no obvious damage. However, the absence of property damage does not always equate to the absence of injuries.
Neck, back, and spinal injuries are often referred to as silent injuries. Often the pain and discomfort associated with these injuries does not show itself for days or even weeks after the incident.
Mild traumatic brain injuries like a concussion can occur in the absence of an impact or a blow to the head. If you brake suddenly your brain can rock backward and forward in your skull causing damage. Or the rapid deceleration can cause the head to hit your headrest or your steering wheel. Concussions are not always obvious. However, they can play havoc with your life, causing memory loss, insomnia, mood changes, depression, and an inability to hold down your job. These injuries are often caused in the absence of property damage. However, they are potentially very serious. Most people recover from a concussion in 7-10 days. In rare cases, people develop post-concussion syndrome which is potentially life-threatening.
Always consult a doctor if you suffer any signs of a concussion. Many people think you have to suffer a loss of consciousness with a concussion. This is not the case. Talk to a lawyer soon after your accident about your rights. If you suffer a mild traumatic brain injury and your insurance company won’t consider your claim due to minimal or no property damage, you could be in left in a bad situation. Consult your lawyer as soon as possible.
Hidden Property Damage that Can Occur in a Car Accident
Property damage, like injuries to motorists, can be hidden. Your vehicle’s frame may have been damaged in a car crash. Your car may be a write-off and you don’t realize it.
Alternatively, a car accident can cause damage to hoses or your radiator. Tires can sustain serious damage and not fail until a few days later. On occasions, the engine mounts fail and you will notice vibrations in the days and weeks after the wreck. Your car’s electrical system or on-board computer can sustain damage, leaving you with costly repairs.
Always protect yourself after a car accident. Exchange insurance details with the driver who hit you, even if no damage is obvious. It’s much harder to get the driver’s insurance policy details if you just have a phone number. If your car was involved in a fender bender, take it to be checked out with a mechanic soon after the accident. If you delay, the insurance adjuster may claim the fender bender did not cause the mechanical problem.
Talk to a Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer About Your No-Damage Crash
When you sue the driver who caused an accident you are asking for compensation for a loss you suffered. If there is no property damage to your car and you suffered no physical injury, there is no loss. In other words, any lawsuit will not be successful. Sometimes, motorists want to sue a driver who hit them because their feelings are hurt. It’s natural to be annoyed by a careless or reckless driver but you must have suffered a tangible loss to be successful in a lawsuit.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we advise drivers and passengers of their rights in car accident with no damage. Auto accidents are the most common causes of injuries in the United States. We help many people get what they deserve every year. Typically, hiring a personal injury lawyer will give you 3.5 times more in your pocket than dealing directly with the insurance companies. Talk to attorney Randolph Rice today by calling (410) 431-0911 to schedule a free, no obligations consultation.