Gaithersburg, MD Car Accident Lawyer
Rice, Murtha & Psoras represent car accident injury victims and their families. Our attorneys pride themselves in working to achieve justice for car accident victims and help them seek compensation for their injuries.
Your hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering may be severe after a car accident, but you may be entitled to financial compensation to cover these damages. Working with a car accident injury lawyer can help you understand what your claim is worth and how to file for damages.
For help with your case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras to schedule a free case consultation. Our Gaithersburg car accident attorneys can help you understand what your case might be worth and how to best seek compensation for your injuries. For a free case review, call (410) 694-7291 today.
Suing for Injuries in a Car Crash in Gaithersburg
If you were involved in a car accident, you may have suffered serious injuries. These injuries could lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that entitles you to sue the at-fault driver. When you file a lawsuit for car accident injuries, you are entitled to claim any damages that result from the injuries, including these three areas.
Many car accident injuries are mild and can be treated with first aid. This would include minor cuts and scrapes and other simple injuries. More severe injuries like whiplash, simple bone fractures, and back injuries are also quite common.
More severe injuries are rare, but some of these injuries can be absolutely debilitating. If you suffer serious head trauma, brain trauma, spinal cord injury, traumatic amputation, or permanent or life-threatening injuries, you could be entitled to substantial compensation to cover your needs.
When you seek this compensation through a car insurance claim, the insurance company may not pay full damages. Instead, you may need to file your case in court to open the chance to claim pain and suffering damages and to claim the full value of other costs and damages.
Suing for Minor Car Accidents
Car accidents that happen at low speeds or involve small amounts of vehicle damage can still lead to physical injuries that require compensation. Car accidents in parking lots or neighborhoods can commonly produce whiplash injuries, back injuries, and other moderate injuries that may still involve prolonged pain and suffering.
Whiplash and back injuries in particular often occur in rear-end collisions and low-speed accidents. These injuries can result in ongoing pain and suffering, even after the initial injury has healed. Whiplash injuries may make it hard to return to work, and low-back injuries can make day-to-day activities like sitting, standing, and walking very difficult.
Do not brush these accidents off as “too minor” – you may still be entitled to file a lawsuit and seek compensation. Talk to a lawyer before filing your case with an insurance company or accepting a settlement from the at-fault driver.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Be Sustained in a Car Accident?
The injuries you can sustain in a car accident range widely from minor cuts and scrapes to serious, long-term injuries. We have already discussed some of these injuries in depth, such as whiplash. it is important to understand the full range of damages you can sustain in a car accident to help gauge what your claim might be worth and how “bad” your crash is.
Many minor car accident injuries involve cuts, scrapes, and bruises. These injuries typically heal quickly, but they can still cause financial damages worth suing for. These injuries might still need medical treatment. They can also lead to X-rays and other imaging to make sure the injuries are not more severe than they appear. If you suffer even minor injuries like this, still consider consulting with a Gaithersburg, MD car accident lawyer about your case.
Injuries can be classified as “moderate” if they require more medical treatment and result in lost time at work, lost participation in activities, and pain and suffering. Many car accidents cause injuries like concussions and broken bones. Some of these injuries will ultimately heal, but you could require imaging to ensure concussions are not more severe brain injuries. You may also need surgery to properly set bones or fortify broken bones with pins and rods.
Whiplash could also be considered a moderate injury, as it sometimes never heals in full. Many moderate injuries can lead to long-term future pain and future disability even though they are not catastrophic injuries. Definitely talk to an attorney about the potential future prognosis of your injuries and whether damages can be claimed for these future harms.
The most severe injuries human beings face often occur in car accidents. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, traumatic amputation, and other cases of severe trauma are surprisingly common in car accidents.
These kinds of severe injuries can alter your life entirely. the cost of treating these injuries is often quite high, and ongoing medical care needs, home nursing needs, and disability accommodations could be expensive as well. You may also be unable to return to work at full capacity – or you could be unable to work at all in the future.
Higher damages are often awarded for severe injuries. Talk to your Gaithersburg car accident lawyer about what your case could be worth.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Gaithersburg, MD?
When you are involved in a car crash, your first priority should be to get to safety and seek medical attention. If your car is in working condition, pull it to the side of the road and clear the roadway. Then, call 9-1-1 for a police officer and, if there are any injuries, an ambulance.
The EMTs who respond with the ambulance can advise you and anyone else with injuries whether they should go to the hospital or whether emergency treatment at the scene is enough. However, you should still follow up with your doctor or another physician the next day, as many back and spine injuries take a few hours to “set in,” and you might not notice them until the next morning.
Driver Information to Collect
If you are well enough to stay at the scene of the accident, collect the following information from each driver involved:
- Their name and contact info
- Their driver’s license number
- Their insurance information
- Their car’s make, model, license plate number, and registration information
If you have a working cell phone or another camera, take pictures of the accident scene. Taking photos of the accident scene as a whole, the damage to each vehicle, the injuries anyone sustained, and the other important sights at the accident scene can help show a jury how the crash happened.
Other Information to Collect
You should also collect information about the following:
- The location of the accident (e.g., the road name and mile marker or nearest crossroad)
- Lighting and weather conditions at the time of the crash
- Traffic lights and signs posted in the area
- Any possible traffic cameras or security cameras that might have captured the accident
- Any witnesses that might have seen the crash
What to Do If You Cannot Stay at the Scene
If you are too injured and must go straight off to the hospital, the police will likely collect this information to put it in a report. You may be entitled to a copy of this report, and you may be able to contact the responding officer to testify to what happened in the aftermath of the crash. If you had someone else in your vehicle or can have a friend or family member respond to the crash, they can also collect this information, take pictures, and testify as to what happened after the crash.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Gaithersburg, MD Car Accident Case?
Proving fault in a Gaithersburg car accident case is essential to getting the compensation you need. Car insurance companies and courts will only award damages once there is proof that the defendant actually caused the accident. To satisfy the legal requirements for proof of fault, you must follow a few rules.
Burden of Proof
The “burden of proof” in any court case is the level to which the plaintiff has to prove the case in order to win. You may be familiar with the term “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the standard used in criminal cases. There, the prosecution has a very high burden of proof, and the defendant can win the case by merely convincing the jury to doubt some of the aspects of the prosecution’s case.
In civil cases, the burden of proof is called a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Under this standard, you have to prove that it is more likely than not that your claim is true. This essentially means tipping the scales just a little bit in your favor. the jury does not have to be absolutely sure of what happened, and car accident victims can often win a “close” case.
Elements to Prove
Most car accident cases are based on a claim that the defendant did something “negligent” rather than intentional. In cases where you are suing for vehicular assault, you have to prove that the defendant intentionally hit you with their car. This is sometimes tough to prove. In negligence cases, you have to prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
To prove duty and breach, you have to show that the other driver did something wrong. A breach of duty might be a traffic violation or the violation of some other law that led to your injuries. For example, the law creates a duty not to speed, so speeding would constitute a breach of that duty.
Duties can also be based on reasonableness. Drivers have a duty to act reasonably behind the wheel. That means having the proper level of skill to conduct a vehicle safely down the street. it also means paying attention to the road and giving proper care to what you do behind the wheel. Driving that is unsafe under the circumstances of your accident could constitute a breach of duty even without a traffic violation.
Ultimately, you must also prove that the breach of duty actually caused your damages. If the accident was unavoidable, you cannot sue someone else for it. Moreover, if you did something to interrupt the other driver’s fault, then you could be held at fault instead.
Lastly, without damages, there is nothing to sue for. Proving your damages is vital to any injury case.
Evidence to Present
To prove the elements of your case by a preponderance of the evidence, you will need evidence. This evidence can take the form of testimony about what happened from you and other witnesses. You can also present photos or videos of the accident scene and the vehicle damage. Your medical records, pay stubs, financial records, and other reports will also help show what damages you suffered.
When to Contact a Gaithersburg, MD Car Accident Lawyer
It is always best to contact a car accident attorney as soon as you can after a crash. the statute of limitations in an injury case in Maryland usually gives you 3 years to file a case. However, you should act much sooner than that to collect evidence, interview witnesses, and start building your case. Your Gaithersburg car accident attorneys can handle your case from the beginning.
Call Our Gaithersburg Car Accident Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car crash in Gaithersburg, MD or the surrounding areas, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today for a free review of your injury case. Our attorneys are prepared to handle car accident cases on behalf of injury victims and their families. We work to get you the compensation you need. Call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.