Howard County, MD Car Accident Lawyer
People throughout Howard County enjoy the joy and convenience their cars provide. From driving to work to dropping the kids off at school, people often use their vehicles daily.
With all of those cars on the road, along with trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles, accidents sometimes occur. Often, someone involved in a collision walks away unharmed. However, some unlucky victims suffer severe or life-altering injuries. Sometimes car crashes are fatal. Fortunately, our car accident lawyers have represented people hurt in car accidents for over three decades and can help you.
Contact our car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (443) 648-9952 to schedule your free case evaluation.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Howard County, MD
Sometimes a car crash is simply an unavoidable accident. Unfortunately, many times a car accident is the direct result of the reckless conduct of another motorist.
The number one cause of car accidents is distracted driving. When a motorist diverts their attention from driving, they endanger other people on the road. Driving safely requires focus and concentration. Any activity that hinders a driver’s focus, such as texting, eating, or adjusting the radio, increases the risk of an accident.
After distracted driving, the most common contributing factor to car accidents in Howard County is drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When a motorist’s physical or mental abilities are impaired, they are unable to make sound decisions, and their reflexes are compromised.
Another common cause of car accidents is reckless driving. Reckless driving encompasses many different behaviors, including tailgating and ignoring posted traffic signs or signals. One of the most dangerous forms of reckless driving is driving at an excessive speed. When a motorist is traveling well above the posted speed limit, their ability to react to changing road conditions is severely reduced. Also, accidents that are caused by speeding often result in catastrophic injuries or death.
Sometimes accidents occur when all motorists are focused and driving safely. Poorly maintained roads or construction debris on a highway might cause a cautious driver to crash. If you are involved in a car accident, call our Howard County lawyer to help ascertain who or what is responsible for your injuries.
Types of Injuries Resulting from Car Crashes in Howard County, MD
Many times, a person involved in a car crash will walk away with no injuries or a couple of small cuts and bruises. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky, and they might suffer a devastating injury. Our law firm has represented people with a variety of injuries, including the following:
Head and Neck Injuries
Head and neck injuries are the most common type of injury in car accidents. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to permanent brain damage or death. The most common head and neck injuries include bloody noses, concussions or loss of consciousness, numbness in arms or legs, and tenderness in the neck area. More severe injuries can also occur to the eyes and teeth if victims are hit by debris or thrown forward into a hard surface in the car.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain damage refers to any damage to the brain resulting from a blow during a car accident. Brain damage can be caused by bleeding within the skull, a broken skull damaging the brain tissue, or injury to other parts of the body that affect the flow of blood to the brain. These types of injuries often cause bleeding within the skull (subdural hematoma), bruising of nerve tissue (contusion), tearing of blood vessels within the brain (epidural hemorrhage), and tearing of nerve fibers (diffuse axonal injury). Common symptoms of brain damage include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.
Spinal Cord and Nerve Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur when there is damage to any part of the spinal cord, ranging from mild to complete severing of nerves leading into and out of the spinal cord. The most common types of spinal cord injuries include loss of sensation along one or both sides of the body, partial loss of movement in one or more areas, and complete paralysis.
Lacerations and Puncture Injuries
Lacerations are cuts that penetrate only the superficial layers of the skin. Lacerations are common in car accidents since there is often a great deal of broken glass. The severity of a laceration depends on how deep it is, the length of time it takes to stop bleeding, and whether infections develop from an unclean wound.
Puncture wounds are deeper and can involve underlying injuries to muscle tissue or internal organs. Both these types of injuries commonly result in bleeding that requires stitches, sutures, or staples to stop. However, these injuries can be life-altering if they cause nerve damage resulting from stretched nerves or nerve compression as well as internal bleeding, which can go unnoticed if medical treatment is not immediately sought.
Wrongful death refers to a situation where someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. Car accidents are arguably one of the greatest causes of wrongful death in Howard County and throughout Maryland. Speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, and texting while driving can greatly increase the chances of a serious accident turning into a deadly one.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Howard County, MD
When you have been involved in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. You may be injured and frightened, and the stress of the situation can make it hard to think clearly. However, you can take steps to protect yourself in the event of an accident that can greatly help you recover compensation later.
The first thing you should do after a car accident is call the police. Whether or not there are injuries or property damage, the police will come to investigate what happened and speak to the parties involved. The investigating officers will then complete a report that gives an official account of what happened during the crash and any charges that might result from it. From there, our team can help you obtain your report from the police department that investigated your crash.
Exchange Driver Information
After calling the police, exchange information with the other driver. You will want to get their insurance information at the very least, but you should also attempt to get their name, address, and phone number so a lawsuit can be served on them later if necessary. However, this information is usually contained in the police report, so do not worry if the driver refuses to cooperate with you.
If your injuries allow, take photos of the scene with your phone or camera before leaving the scene of the accident. This includes taking photos of any damage to both vehicles, debris on the road, where the vehicles were positioned after the accident, and skid marks if present. Your photos can also help illustrate the location where you were injured and will preserve important details like the time of day the accident occurred and what the weather was like then.
If there were other people at the scene of the accident, talk to them about what they saw happen. They can help provide valuable information about your case that could prove useful in court later. Be sure to get the contact information since it might be several months before they are needed to testify, and the information could be forgotten if not written down.
Get Medical Care
A car accident can cause serious injuries, so it is important to get medical care right away. Even if you feel fine, there is no guarantee that you will not have any injuries that do not show up until later. You must get checked out by medical professionals who can give you advice about how long it will take for your body to heal and whether or not you need further treatment. While it may seem like a waste of time and money to go to the emergency room after a car accident, it is critical to have records of your injuries if you wish to recover compensation in a lawsuit.
Speak with Our Car Accident Attorneys
Our team will work closely with you throughout the entire legal process so that you have the best chance of recovering compensation for the damages caused by the accident. We will help you get paid for your medical expenses, lost wages and ensure that your rights are protected through the process.
Proving Liability and Negligence in Howard County, MD Car Accidents
Determining fault in some car crashes can be challenging. Car accidents often happen quickly, with conflicting eyewitness accounts. A successful personal injury lawsuit requires a skilled attorney. Our Howard County car accident lawyers have decades of experience gathering and putting evidence together. By using police reports, medical records, witness accounts, and expert opinions, our attorneys will work to establish the four necessary elements to prove negligence.
Duty of Care
We must show that the motorist had an obligation not to expose the injured party to an unreasonable risk of harm. In Maryland, a driver has a responsibility to operate their vehicle safely without unreasonably endangering others.
Breach of Duty
For a personal injury claim to be successful, we must show that the driver breached their duty of care. Meaning the defendant’s conduct created an unreasonable risk. Sometimes this is easy to demonstrate. For example, if a driver is traveling 90 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 45, they are almost clearly not operating their vehicle safely. the standard usually imposed is what would a prudent driver do under similar circumstances. Our attorneys will thoroughly examine all the evidence related to your accident to help determine a breach of duty. While a police report is not conclusive evidence of fault, it is often helpful in establishing reckless conduct.
The next necessary element to prove is causation. After establishing that the conduct breached the duty of care, our lawyer will have to prove that the defendant’s conduct was the direct cause of your injury. Causation can be a complicated legal question. However, if your injuries were a direct result of the collision, then it is likely that this element is present.
The final element is actual damages. Any injury you suffered must result in a quantifiable loss, either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are typically easy to show, such as medical expenses or loss of income. While more challenging, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium are also available in a personal injury lawsuit.
Contributory Negligence and Car Accidents in Howard County, MD
Unfortunately for people hurt in car crashes, Maryland follows the “contributory negligence” doctrine. Under this doctrine, if a driver contributed to a car crash, they are prohibited from collecting compensation from any other motorist involved in the litigation. For example, if you are involved in a three-car accident, and the jury finds that one driver was 50% at fault, the second driver was 45%, and you were 5% at fault, then you will not be able to hold the other two motorists liable for your damages. it is crucial to have our knowledgeable attorney at your side, preparing to counter any allegations the defense might use to shift the blame.
Our Howard County, MD Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (443) 648-9952 to schedule a free consultation with our car accident lawyers.