In most cases, courts recognize the law in effect in the jurisdiction where an accident takes place. Within the legal field, this concept falls under a doctrine called “lex loci delicti” or “law of the place where the delict [tort] was committed.” If you experience a car accident involving an out-of-state driver within the state of Maryland, state laws apply and you can file the action in a Maryland court.
As with many laws, some exceptions may exist. For a more detailed explanation of Maryland laws or how the law applies in your situation, discuss your case with a licensed Baltimore car accident lawyer.
Explore Maryland Car Accident Laws
In Maryland, the courts use a fault-based system to determine liability in accident cases. Under the state’s contributory negligence rule, any act of carelessness bars someone from seeking compensation via a lawsuit. Even if the out-of-state driver was 99% at fault, a plaintiff responsible for 1% cannot recover damages.
Strict negligence standards complicate the personal injury recovery process in Maryland, regardless of out-of-state driver involvement. Insurance may provide the best and only means of recovery in the state. When filing a claim against an out-of-state driver, the process works the same as an in-state claim with one caveat: An insurance adjustor may use Maryland’s contributory negligence rule to reduce the company’s payout. In the event of a car accident in Maryland, knowing what to do after an accident can help you protect your right to compensation.
Steps to Take After an Accident in Maryland Involving Non-Resident Drivers
After an accident involving non-residents, use these tips:
- Abstain from admitting fault. If you decide to file a lawsuit at a later date, an admission of guilt (even saying “I’m sorry”) may bar you from recovery.
- File an accident report. In minor accidents, a police officer may not arrive on scene. If you plan to file an insurance or legal claim for compensation, an accident report serves as proof the incident took place. In Maryland, you must report all accidents involving injuries or death within 15 days of the incident.
- Gather as much evidence as possible. While at the scene, take pictures, collect witness names, and obtain police report information. Always seek medical attention and keep clear records including notes on communication with physicians and insurers, receipts, and what you remember about the incident.
- Collect insurance information from the other driver. Write down the driver’s name, address, the name of the insurance company, the policy number, and any phone number listed on the insurance card. Notify the other driver’s insurance company of your involvement in a collision involving a policyholder within 72 hours of the incident. When you notify the company and then speak to a claims adjuster, stick with the facts of the case and avoid speculation.
The Case for Optional Car Insurance in Maryland
Adequate insurance coverage gives policyholders the ability to pay for damages and secure compensation for injuries. Maryland requires all drivers to carry liability insurance to cover $30,000 for the death or injury of one person, $60,000 for the death of more than one person, and $15,000 for property damage. If a driver faces liability for a higher amount of damages, the courts may require him or her to pay personally. In cases involving at-fault non-resident drivers, many insurance companies amend their limits to meet the minimum requirements of the state where the accident occurred.
In addition to liability insurance, many drivers choose to invest in collision, medical, uninsured motorist, and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. These optional types of coverage may pick up where another insurer’s coverage leaves off, giving drivers access to compensation in accidents involving uninsured and underinsured drivers.
Discuss Your Case with a Baltimore Car Accident Attorney
Consider speaking with a Baltimore personal injury lawyer about any factors that may influence a case involving non-resident drivers. Depending on the case, you may succeed in filing a claim against an at-fault driver or against your own policy.