Most people who end up hurt in auto wrecks know little about how to make an insurance claim. They probably aren’t aware if Maryland is a no-fault state for car accidents or not. However, this is a critical question when you want to file a claim against a driver who injured you.
At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys help people who are injured in Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County or elsewhere in the state. We field complicated queries on a daily basis. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice considers the question ‘is Maryland a no-fault state for car accidents?’
Although some nearby states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey are no-fault states, Maryland is an at-fault state. It’s the complete opposite of a no-fault state.
What is the Difference Between an At-Fault State and a No-Fault State?
No-fault auto insurance laws require every driver who was involved in a crash to file a claim with their own insurance company. The question of which driver caused the accident is irrelevant. In states with no-fault laws, all drivers must buy personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto insurance policies. A Maryland personal injury protection lawyer may be able to help if you have questions about PIP laws. Under no-fault laws, drivers may still sue for severe injuries and pain and suffering in certain circumstances.
Some no-fault states impose minimum requirements for the days the accident victim spent off work as a result of the injury to make a claim. No-fault states restrict litigation. They reduce the costs and delays in claims. Pay-outs for accidents are often lower than in at-fault states.
What Are No-Fault States?
In all, 12 states and Puerto Rico have no-fault insurance laws. Each party, regardless of who is at fault, can collect compensation such as lost wages and medical bills from their own insurers.
No-fault states include Florida, Kansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
However, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are also “choice” states. They allow drivers to choose either an at-fault or a no-fault insurance policy. Drivers who have an at-fault insurance policy can sue the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
Most states, including Maryland, use the at-fault system of car insurance. The system is based on tort liability. In many states, insurance companies pay accident claims based on each party’s degree of fault.
The driver who caused the accident and the injuries is responsible for paying damages to the other parties involved in the crash. The at-fault driver’s insurance company indemnifies the culpable driver by paying up to the policy limits on the insurance policy.
When someone who is hurt in a car crash or sustains damage to their car disagrees with the settlement offered by the insurance company, he or she can file a lawsuit and seek medical expenses, lost wages, and money for pain and suffering. People who are unhappy with the insurance company’s offer usually hire a Maryland personal injury attorney to fight the insurance company on their behalf.
Maryland insurance policies often contain personal injury protection (PIP). It’s not required but insurers must offer it. This will allow motorists to recover money for medical costs up to a certain threshold irrespective of fault.
How Does Maryland’s At-Fault Law Work After Car Accidents?
Not all at-fault states follow the same system. Many states use comparative negligence. This means you can often still recover money if you were partially to blame for an accident. However, if you were 30 percent to blame, you will likely be awarded less money than if you were 5 percent to blame.
Maryland follows a strict and archaic system called contributory negligence. Drivers who were any degree at fault for the accident that injured them are not able to make a claim. If, for example, a jury finds you were even 2% at fault, your injury claim is null and void. The law goes beyond Maryland car accidents. It also applies to slip and falls or other personal injury claims. Maryland is one of only five states to have this strict law on its books. The others are Alabama, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Virginia.
What is the Relevance of Maryland Not Being a No-Fault State For Car Accidents?
The fact Maryland is an at-fault state means people hurt in wrecks have to work hard to make a case against the driver who hurt them. You also have to fight claims you were any degree to blame for your crash. You must fight the other driver’s insurance company rather than making a claim with your own as you would in a no-fault state. Car accident claims are hotly disputed in Maryland. Successful litigants can win big payouts. However, the price of failing to make a case is also high. The unpredictability of the car accident claims process means it’s advisable to talk to a skilled Maryland car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to a Maryland Auto Accident Lawyer About At-Fault Accidents
Maryland’s at-fault system for car accident claims can be daunting for people who suffer injuries in wrecks. The insurance companies may suggest you share some liability for an accident you did not cause. They can lowball you or dismiss your claim altogether. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we take a sympathetic approach to claims. Our Maryland car wreck lawyers will give you a realistic evaluation of your case and take on the insurance companies if another party caused a crash. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. It’s important to talk to a lawyer before you start negotiations with insurance companies that often damage your case.
We don’t charge you a penny to take on your car accident case. Our fee is based on a contingency. If we don’t secure you a recovery, you don’t pay us. We have a long record of being tough with the Maryland car insurance companies and standing up for your rights. Nothing in the blog is intended to be formal legal advice. Please call us for a free consultation at (410) 431-0911.