Middle River, MD Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident can change your life in an instant. If you were injured in a car accident, you might now face serious medical bills, you might miss work, and you might have immense pain and suffering to deal with. Especially if the car accident caused you permanent injuries or took the life of a loved one, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for the crash.
The Middle River, MD car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras represent injury victims and their families, and we work to get them the compensation they deserve.
Instead of relying on insurance companies after a car accident, contact our lawyers today to learn more about how you might be entitled to take your case to court and file a lawsuit to seek expanded damages and higher values. For a free case review, contact us today at (410) 694-7291.
When to File a Lawsuit for Car Accident Injuries in Middle River, MD
Drivers in every state are required to carry car insurance, Maryland included. This means that when there is an accident, there is usually insurance to cover the crash.
However, insurance policies do not always provide coverage for all of your needs after a crash. As such, you might need to talk to a lawyer and file your case in court instead to open up additional areas of damages and higher values to cover your injuries.
In most insurance policies, there are limits as to how much of your damages the policy will cover. Some policies pay only a percentage of the medical bills and lost wages you face after a crash, not the full value. Moreover, nearly all policies exclude damages for pain and suffering, meaning that an insurance claim automatically comes short of fully covering your needs.
If you file your case in court, you might be able to claim the full value of any damages you faced. You can also claim other areas of damages like pain and suffering, allowing you to get non-economic harms covered as well as economic harms.
If you have serious injuries, a large portion of your overall damage might come from things like pain and suffering damages. Talk to a lawyer about whether filing your case as an insurance claim will be sufficient or whether you should try to file your claim in court instead.
Can I Prove Fault in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Middle River, Maryland?
When you file your car accident claim as a lawsuit, you must prove that the other driver was at fault. Typically, car accident claims are based on claims of negligence.
While you can certainly sue someone who intentionally hits you with their car, most car crashes do not involve intentional acts aimed at injuring other drivers. Instead, the claim states that the at-fault driver failed to use the proper care or skill necessary behind the wheel and that the driver’s actions or inactions caused your injuries.
In most car accident claims, the mistakes and errors that you point to as evidence of the other driver’s negligence will include traffic violations. Some of the clearest reasons that a driver would be held at fault for a crash include speeding, drunk driving, or texting while driving.
Drivers can also be held liable for errors that do not precisely violate a traffic law – such as being distracted by an intense conversation with a passenger. If the driver in any way failed to give driving the proper care and attention it needs, they can be held liable for causing the crash.
To prove that the other driver caused the crash, you will usually need to supply evidence. Even something as simple as your testimony about what you saw and what happened leading up to the crash is excellent evidence, and additional testimony from other witnesses can help strengthen this evidence.
Photos of the damaged vehicles and the scene of the crash will also help show the court what happened and show why the other driver was at fault. If you can get a hold of traffic camera footage or if you have a dashcam, these supply fantastic evidence of what the other driver did wrong.
Will My Insurance Policy Cover My Car Crash?
There are a few things to consider to understand whether your car insurance will cover your car crash. First, you need to look at whether you were the victim or the person who caused the crash. Then, you need to look at what specific types of policies and coverage you have.
At-Fault Car Insurance Rules
Maryland uses an at-fault system for car insurance. This means that the driver who caused the crash is supposed to pay for damages through their insurance.
Other states use no-fault systems, which means that each driver’s insurance covers their own injuries. So, if you were the victim of a car accident, you should expect that the other driver’s insurance will cover your injuries, not your own insurance.
If the person who caused the crash has insurance, then their insurance should cover the accident. However, there are some reasons their insurance might refuse to cover the crash. Typically, these all encompass very bad things, such as intentional crashes and vehicular assault.
You might also have first-party benefits that can help you get coverage from your own insurance. Many drivers carry insurance with some type of PIP or MedPay coverage that will pay for your own injuries and medical care if you are hurt in a crash. Other first-party benefits may do the same. Check your car insurance policy for details.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If the other driver does not have insurance or their insurance is simply too low to cover your injuries, then your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage might kick in. If you have a policy for this kind of coverage, your own insurance will pick up the bill if the other driver flees the scene and cannot be found, did not have insurance, or had bad insurance.
Insurance vs. Lawsuits
Talk to a Middle River car accident lawyer any time you are considering a car insurance claim. No matter how good your insurance or the other driver’s insurance is, it might not be enough to cover your injuries and pay for all of your damages. You may need to file a lawsuit instead.
Economic Versus Non-Economic Harms in Middle River, Maryland Car Accidents
When calculating damages for your injuries, your Middle River car accident attorneys may discuss “economic” and “non-economic” damages. These are the two major categories of damages in any injury lawsuit, and they refer to the ways the damages affect you. There are differences in how simple these are to calculate and how much you can claim for each area of damage.
Economic damages are those damages that are based on the money you paid or costs you incurred that have dollar amounts attached. the cost of medical care has a clear dollar amount on the hospital bills and receipts for medication.
There are also economic costs associated with lost wages, childcare needs, transportation costs, household services you are unable to perform, and more.
These economic damages are usually totaled up and claimed as part of your injury case. the specific way that you value these damages might vary, and it is important to have a Middle River car accident lawyer review your case rather than making these calculations on your own.
Economic damages can be awarded at their full value. There are no caps or limitations on these damages other than the requirement that the damages have to be caused by the accident.
Non-economic damages are those damages that are based on intangible or hard-to-explain harms. Pain and suffering are the most common types of economic damages.
You cannot show a jury pain on a graph or let them see for themselves how much pain you felt. This makes it hard to put a price value on these damages, but courts can nonetheless award monetary damages for these harms.
Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, lost enjoyment, emotional distress, mental anguish, and other harms.
If your car accident injuries keep you from participating in activities you enjoy, like playing with your children or riding your bike, those non-economic damages can also be compensated with payments.
Non-economic damages are capped in Middle River and throughout Maryland. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 11-108 defines these damages and sets the cap/limit. the cap was set back in 1986 and went up at various points.
It now increases annually by $15,000. After October 1, 2021, the cap is $905,000, and this goes up to $920,000 on October 1, 2022 and $935,000 on October 1, 2023. Wrongful death and medical malpractice claims have special caps.
Providing Evidence in a Middle River, Maryland Car Crash Case
To win your case, you will have to produce evidence of what happened. Victims are saddled with the “burden of proof and production,” so it is up to your Middle River car accident attorneys to collect and present evidence to prove your case.
Evidence in a car accident case usually takes three main forms:
As the victim, you can testify about what happened to you. This is the simplest way to directly tell the jury what happened to you and to explain what the other driver did wrong to cause your car crash. You can also bring other witnesses to court to testify as to what they saw.
Some testimony is provided by “expert witnesses” rather than eyewitnesses. An expert witness does not testify about what happened but rather talks about a technical or scientific issue in the case. You may need an economic expert to help present your damages and calculate future lost wages or an accident expert to reconstruct the crash for the jury.
Photos and Video
Any visual evidence that depicts what the accident scene looked like, what happened, and what damages resulted will be helpful. Video from a security camera or dashcam can be vital, as can photos of the crash scene.
A lot of evidence is merely a record of what happened. Police reports cannot be used as evidence in court, but they can provide your attorney and police witnesses with a record of when and where the accident occurred, who was involved, and more.
Other evidence documents how much you faced in damages, such as your medical bills, auto repair quotes, and financial records.
Compensation for Damages in a Middle River, Maryland Car Accident
If you were injured in the crash, you could be entitled to compensation for any damages stemming from the accident. Most car accident claims include claims for medical bills to treat the injuries, lost wages to cover time off at work, and pain and suffering damages to pay for the physical and mental effects of the crash.
These damages can usually be claimed at their full value. the purpose of damages in a car accident lawsuit is to restore the victim, as much as possible, to the condition they were in before the crash.
That means that any economic harm they faced – such as medical bills and lost wages – should be paid for in full. it also means that any non-economic harms should be reversed.
The court does not know how much your damages are worth unless they see evidence of these damages. That means you will need to produce medical bills, pay stubs, financial statements, and other evidence of the economic harm you faced. For the non-economic damages, your testimony and other information can help prove the value of the damages.
Call Our Car Crash Lawyer in Middle River, Maryland for a Free Case Review
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident in the Middle River, MD area, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Our Middle River, MD car accident lawyers represent injury victims and work to get them the compensation they deserve after a car crash. For a free case review, call us today at (410) 694-7291. Act quickly – your case might have strict deadlines you need to follow.