If you have suffered an injury after a vehicular accident on the streets of the State of Maryland, you may be struggling with determining your next steps. it can be hard to think about the legal process while you are dealing with your own very real struggles with recovery. However, getting the help of an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer can help to assuage those concerns.
The only steps that take priority over your speaking with your lawyer about your recovery are those concerning your immediate health. Once you get medical attention for your injuries, it is never too early to enlist the help of legal counsel, no matter how severe your injuries may be. You likely only have three years to file your claim, and you can benefit from early legal advice when dealing with the other side’s insurance company.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our highly qualified Maryland car accident attorneys are ready and willing to assist you in your recovery efforts. We recognize how difficult it can be to handle your recovery while also taking on your physical rehabilitation, so let us work for you to see that you are taken care of. To get a free case assessment, call our offices today at (410) 694-7291.
What Should You Do Before Contacting a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Maryland?
It is never too early to speak with a Baltimore car accident lawyer after being involved in a collision and suffering injury. However, there are a couple of steps that you can take prior to contacting your lawyer that can help you hit the ground running in your recovery efforts.
Take Care of Yourself at the Scene of the Accident
First, don’t worry about calling your lawyer at the scene of the accident. Instead, your first call should be to 911 to alert the dispatcher of the accident and request a police officer to investigate for their official report. You may also want to request an ambulance to help treat any serious injuries at the scene. Your primary focuses during the immediate aftermath of the crash should be to prevent further harm, get medical attention for your injuries, and call the authorities to create an official crash report.
Go to the Hospital
Once the issues at the scene of the accident are resolved, you should immediately seek medical attention. Visiting an emergency room for a thorough evaluation of your condition is the best way to create a viable medical record which you can use in your recovery efforts.
Going to the hospital as soon as possible is always beneficial, and not just because your injuries require care. Some conditions that are frequently caused by car accidents, such as traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding, may not be apparent immediately after the accident. This does not mean that these injuries are any less real or severe, and may worsen over time without treatment, in some cases becoming life-threatening.
There are also practical benefits of seeking care immediately. For one, it minimizes the chances that the defendant in your case (or their insurance provider) can argue that your injuries were sustained at some point after the accident. By using this defense, the party that caused the crash is essentially claiming that you are attributing other injuries to the accident in order to get a higher value in damages.
Another practical benefit is that it sends a clear message that you felt that the accident and your injuries were severe enough to seek care. Your behavior will reflect on the jury in a potential court case, but it will also be recognized by the insurance provider that is evaluating your case and preparing a potential settlement offer. the best way to show that you mean business is to get to an emergency room as soon as you can after the accident.
During your first legal assessment, your Maryland car accident attorney will ask for a number of pieces of information. This will include the official police report from the accident, your own accounting of what happened, and the medical records from your treatment, including a diagnosis of your injuries. the above information will be used to create and submit your official claim, which will identify the party responsible and set the amount of damages that you are claiming.
If you need help obtaining this information, the diligent Aspen Hill car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras may be able to help. While it can be helpful to have all of this information available, do not put off pursuing legal counsel until you receive a formal diagnosis.
How Long Do You Have to Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Maryland?
State law prevents potential car accident injury plaintiffs from putting off their civil suit for too long. In Maryland, this state law, known as the statute of limitations, runs for three years after the date of the accident. In other words, if you are involved in a collision, you have exactly three years from that point to file your formal complaint in court.
There are a limited number of exceptions to the statute of limitations. For one, car accident injury victims who are minors at the time of the accident have three years from the date that they reach maturity (or 18 years of age) to file their lawsuit. the time limit may also be extended if the victim suffered inhibitive brain damage or if the accident was a hit-and-run and the perpetrator remained unidentified for an extended period of time.
Just because you have three years to file your lawsuit does not mean that you should wait two years and eleven months to contact an attorney. Filing a lawsuit takes time, as your lawyer will have to work diligently and carefully to identify the parties and evaluate the potential damages. There are also some additional services that our Easton car accident lawyers can provide, such as communicating with the other side’s insurance provider.
Notice Requirements for Suing the Government for Car Accident Injuries in Maryland
In certain circumstances, you may need to take action even before the three-year window expires. There are additional notice requirements that car accident injury victims must meet when the party that they are naming in their lawsuit is a government entity. For instance, accidents that were caused by the driver of a school bus or a garbage truck may fit this description, as these types of vehicles are often owned or operated by the state or municipality in which they operate.
Each jurisdiction has different rules that govern what steps a victim must take before they name the government body in a civil action. For instance, if a bus operated by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) caused an accident in Baltimore that injured you, you must submit proper notification to the MTA within one year of the accident.
Your notice must include your name and contact information, the time and place of the accident, a description of how it occurred, and a demand for damages relating to your injuries, which you must also describe. Following receipt of your notification, the MTA will conduct its own investigation, and may come back with a settlement offer. However, the three-year statute of limitations still applies, so you still must file within that window if you aren’t getting anywhere dealing directly with the government.
Failing to satisfy the notification requirement will greatly hinder your chances of recovery. To avoid a situation like this coming in the way of the justice that you deserve for the injuries that you sustained, we strongly recommend that you speak to one of the knowledgeable Rockville car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras as soon as possible.
What Are the Advantages to Contacting a Lawyer Early After a Car Accident in Maryland?
Generally, it is always better to act sooner rather than later in the legal world. As you might expect, the earlier you alert your legal counsel to your claim, the more time that they will have to prepare your filings, giving you the best chance of success in your claim. However, there are other advantages that you can gain from acting early.
Get Your Compensation When You Need It
The sooner your claim is filed, the sooner you may see the compensation that you require for your recovery. Carrying on a lawsuit while struggling with mounting medical bills and attempting to rehabilitate a serious injury can be difficult. Many automotive insurance companies count on this to get away with low settlement offers and sandbagging a case to take longer. Fortunately for our clients, our Maryland car accident lawyers often work on a contingency fee basis, which means that the victim doesn’t have to pay for legal services unless they win compensation in their case.
Preserve Critical Evidence
As time passes, evidence dries up. This is a much larger problem for a civil suit plaintiff than it is for a defendant. If you wait longer to start your process, you may find it more difficult to retain evidence or secure the cooperation of critical eyewitnesses that can help validate your version of events.
Use Your Lawyer for Pre-Trial Insurance Dealings
Once the other driver files the accident with their insurance company, a representative from the insurer will often reach out to the victim shortly after. They may attempt to get you to make statements about the accident, but these efforts aren’t meant to help you. They are trying to get you to say something that they can twist to deny your claim or defend against your claim in court. You can designate your attorney to handle all of your communications and negotiations on your behalf so that you don’t make a costly mistake.
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, you speak to your attorney before accepting it. You are under no obligation to accept the first offer you receive. the value of these offers often increases as you progress through the steps of your case. Have your lawyer examine the offer and negotiate on your behalf so that you get everything that you deserve for your injuries.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Sue for a Car Accident in Maryland?
Technically, you do not need legal representation to file a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car accident in the State of Maryland. However, we strongly recommend that you treat your case with the seriousness that your injuries deserve and enlist the help of an experienced Maryland car accident attorney.
Statistics show that plaintiffs with representation succeed in court at a substantially higher rate than those without representation. Additionally, when represented plaintiffs win or settle their claim, their ultimate compensation is usually higher. This is because an experienced attorney knows how courts evaluate damages and can foresee the costs of your injuries that you might not otherwise recognize.
When you are trying to win compensation, you aren’t just going up against the driver responsible for causing your accident. You are facing off against their insurance company, who already has a legal team in place and abide by procedures that are already set out in advance. When the other side sees that you don’t have representation, they are more likely to try to use underhanded tactics and prolong the process to put you under more pressure. Unfortunately, this causes many plaintiffs to simply give up on their otherwise viable claims. Seasoned Towson car accident attorneys like the ones at Rice, Murtha & Psoras will be able to spot bad faith tactics from the opposing side’s insurance provider, which could potentially lead to getting additional compensation on top of what you are owed for the accident.
It’s Never Too Soon to Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras About Your Potential Maryland Car Accident Lawsuit
If you have questions about what to do next or how you could benefit from a lawsuit against the party that caused your injurious car accident, you can get a case evaluation from our hardworking Ocean City car accident attorneys for free. Simply give us a call today at (410) 694-7291.