Proving you are not at fault in a car accident in Maryland can be difficult. Not all car accident victims are blameless. You may have contributed to the crash or your injuries, meaning the other side can argue you are not entitled to compensation under Maryland law.
However, blame is not always straightforward. As Maryland car crash lawyers, we have successfully disputed insurance companies claims that our client was liable for injuries
Obviously, if you caused a wreck, you can’t prove you are not at a fault in a car accident in Maryland. Other cases are less clear cut. The steps you take in the hours and days after a wreck can help prove you were not at fault in a car accident, Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains.
What You Can Do To Show You Were Not At Fault in a Car Accident in Maryland
Finding out who was negligent is an important part of car accident investigations in Maryland. Negligence doesn’t mean a lot to the average driver but it’s the basis of claims for injuries. Negligence relates to fault. It can be as simple as failing to check your blind spot and crashing into another car during a lane change. Negligence can be checking your phone or texting before you slam into the car in front of you. The law also looks at recklessness to Fapportion blame. A reckless driver can be speeding or drunk.
Maryland is one just a few contributory negligence states. This means you only need to be slightly at fault for the accident that caused your injuries for a court to deny you compensation. In Maryland, lawyers for the defense company will often argue a pedestrian who suffered an injury on a crosswalk failed to look left and right or a driver who was T-boned was distracted. The state’s hard contributory negligence law means it’s important to prove you are not at fault for an accident in Maryland. You should do the following to safeguard your case.
Stay at the Wreck Scene
Many drivers leave the scene of an accident. Unless the accident is a minor fender bender, you should never leave. It is a hit-and-run offense to leave the scene of a crash with injuries, deaths, or property damage. You should not leave a wreck scene, even if you were blameless for the crash.
Leaving the scene of a wreck can jeopardize a future personal injury or priority damage claim. Most Maryland personal injury attorneys would advise against this. It looks like you have something to hide and a police officer cannot talk to you at the scene. If another driver caused the wreck, it’s in your interest to call 911.
Call the Emergency Services
Always call 911 if a crash caused an injury. You may need the help of a paramedic to treat you at the scene or to transport you to a hospital. It’s also important to call a police officer to the scene as soon as possible. The officer will talk to witnesses and compile a police report. He may issue citations. Ask the officer how you can get a copy of the police report.
Get Proper Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible
Getting your injuries treated and documented as soon as possible may not show you were not at fault for a car accident in Maryland, but it will bolster your case. Insurance companies employ people to dispute injuries and make them appear less serious than they are. The adjusters know they will have to pay out more for serious conditions like spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries. The insurance company will often argue the headaches associated with a traumatic brain injury were associated with a lesser problem such as whiplash. Even still, you may want to contact a Baltimore whiplash injury attorney if you experienced neck pain and are not at fault for your accident.
Accident victims should go to their doctor or an emergency room as soon a possible and seek help from a specialist if their Injuries warrant it. Always get documentation and make sure the doctor directly links your injuries to the accident in the paperwork.
Take Evidence at the Wreck Scene
Drivers and passengers are often in shock in the moments after an accident. This dazed state can prevent them doing from the things they know they should do at the accident scene. Exchange details such as insurance documents, names, and addresses with the other drivers involved in the crash. Go above the bare minimum if possible. Many people who end up injured in wrecks say they spoke to a witness who saw the other driver causing the crash. They fail to get names and addresses of the eyewitness and the witnesses drive off never to be traced again. Get the contact details of witnesses. If possible take a witness statement or video on your cellphone. Raw evidence from the accident scene can be vital months later as you fight for compensation and memories fade. The police won’t always interview all eyewitnesses.
As well as talking to witnesses, take pictures of the wrecked cars and where they ended up. You can never have too much evidence of a Maryland car accident scene.
Don’t admit fault
The confusion and shock of a car accident can make us say things we don’t mean. Motorists often admit blame for a crash or tell the police they could have done more to stop it.
Even if you think you were to blame or partially to blame, never admit it. The investigation may find the other driver was to blame. An admission of fault can appear in police reports or be used by the other side’s insurance company later in litigation.
Don’t Lie to Police
Never lie to police investigating the crash. Your untruth can come back to haunt you and tar you as an unreliable witness in front of the jury even if you did not cause the crash. If you are not sure about the answer to a question, say as much to the police officer. Restrict your statements to the facts about the accident as you saw them. Don’t speculate.
Fight Traffic Tickets
Sometimes the innocent victims of car accidents receive traffic tickets. Police make mistakes or are swayed by other motorists at the scene. If you receive a traffic ticket, it’s important to go to traffic court to fight it and get it overturned. Otherwise, the other side’s insurance company will claim you were liable in the crash.
Be Wary About Making Statements to the Insurance Company
Many drivers and passengers who suffer injuries on the highways of Maryland are angry about what happened. Some want to get the other side’s insurance details as soon as possible and give the company a hard time. You should be careful about talking to the other side’s insurance company in the heat of the moment. The insurance rep. may urge you to accept some blame for the crash or highlight something you could have done better. Be wary about making recorded statements. You do not have to make a recorded statement to the insurance company.
Talk to a Maryland Car Accident Injury Lawyer
A Maryland car accident lawyer might not always be able to prove you were not at fault but he or she can prevent you from making mistakes that will undermine your case. If possible, talk to a Maryland car accident lawyer before you contact the other side’s insurance company. If we take on your case, we can do this on your behalf to safeguard your rights. We can also work on strategies to address weak areas in your case where the other side can argue you shared liability. Fault can be highly subjective in Maryland.
Ask a Baltimore Injury Lawyer to Prove You Are Not At Fault in a Car Accident in Maryland
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we help drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others who suffered injuries in crashes. Our Maryland car wreck lawyers can help show you were not at fault for a wreck and fight the insurance companies on your behalf. We don’t take on all cases but you have nothing to lose by contacting us for a free consultation as soon as possible after your wreck at (410) 431-0911.