Most drivers get in their cars every day. They seldom think they will end up in an accident. Nor are they prepared for the consequences if they do. It’s important to know what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault in MD.
Every year, thousands of people suffer injuries in car accidents in Maryland. They range from sprains to complicated fractures and brain injuries. Even if you only sustained a minor injury or property damage, you should have an action plan. The mistakes drivers make after accidents can jeopardize their claim for compensation later on.
Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice has helped hundreds of people who suffered injuries and property damage file lawsuits against culpable motorists. He discusses what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault in MD.
How Important is Fault in an MD Car Accident?
If you don’t know how important fault is in an MD car accident, you’ll find out quickly when you talk to insurance agents. It makes sense to discuss your car with an Maryland personal injury lawyer first. Insurance company adjusters want to save their employers money. They can do that by making a case that their client was not to blame for an accident., or you were partially at fault for the wreck that hurt you. Even if another driver hit you, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to pin the blame on you.
Fault is particularly important in Maryland. It is one of the few states in the country that still has a contributory negligence rule. This can be very harsh on a driver who was not to blame for a crash. Any suggestion of blame can ruin his or her case for compensation. If, for instance, you were only 10 percent to blame for a crash, you won’t win a penny.
Maryland’s contributory negligence rule means only people who are totally blameless for their accident or innocent passengers can typically claim compensation. Most states have a comparative negligence law that would allow you to claim compensation if you were, for example, 30 percent to blame for a crash that caused your injuries. Talk to an Maryland car accident lawyer as soon as possible about a car crash.
What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault in MD?
1. Seek Medical Attention
People hurt in MD car accidents should initially get help for their injuries. Car accidents often exert immense pressure on the human body. Always call 911 after an accident with injuries or serious property damage. You should request an ambulance if you suffer a serious injury. Car accident victims don’t always feel pain in the moments after the impact. The trauma and excitement of a wreck release adrenaline that can mask the pain. You should get checked out by your doctor even if you are not transported to E.R.
Failing to see a doctor or delaying medical treatment can jeopardize your case for compensation. The other driver’s insurance company will likely claim your injuries were not serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention. If there is any gap in treatment, the insurance company may question you and delay your insurance claim. Make sure you get documentation proving you sought immediate medical treatment.
Drivers and passengers who suffer injuries in car wrecks should also make sure they receive a course of treatment. Your doctor will often refer you to a specialist for your specific needs. For instance, you should see an orthopedic specialist for spinal or other musculoskeletal problems. Make sure you don’t discontinue treatment and miss appointments. This can also be seized on by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
2. Ensure a Police Officer Attends the Accident Scene
In Maryland, code 20-107 requires people involved in any accident involving a bodily injury or a death to report it to the Motor Vehicle Administration within 15 days. Call 911 if the accident causes injuries or potential injuries, a driver lacks a valid license, or alcohol was a factor in the crash. You should also call the police if a vehicle requires towing or drivers disagree about the cause of the accident.
If you were hurt in an accident that’s not your fault in MD, always call the police. The police officer will interview witnesses and decide if any charges should be brought. The investigation can be useful for your subsequent case. A police or highway patrol officer will prevent any parties from leaving the scene.
3. Get Witness Statements and Pictures
Inertia is common after a car crash. Drivers and passengers often experience shock and fail to act. They may also be too badly injured to take action. However, this is a time to spring into action if you can. Witnesses will quickly leave the scene and memories fade. Talk to witnesses as soon as possible and get their names and contact details. Take photographs. You should even take video statements on your cellphone if possible. Write down the details of other drivers who are involved in the accident. Exchange insurance details and make sure you have a record of their car license plates.
Although police typically attend serious accidents, it may take time for officers to arrive. Cars are often moved from their original positions. Sometimes people involved in accidents try to leave the scene. Don’t leave the accident scene detective work to the police officer. However, you should ask the officer how you can obtain a copy of the accident report.
4. Apply for Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a form of insurance coverage that helps you with medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses caused by an automobile accident. Unlike a personal injury claim, it’s not fault-based. You are covered for your injuries regardless of whether you were to blame for the wreck. The lowest amount of PIP coverage in a policy is usually $2,500. Most insurance carriers have policies that also cover $5,000 and $10,000. Many car accident victims don’t realize their insurance policy typically included PIP. Speak to a Maryland personall injury protection lawyer if you have questions.
5. Notify Your Insurance Company
Always notify your own insurance company if you were involved in an accident. Car insurance is a legal contract between you and the insurance company. Your policy probably has a Notice of Occurrence and Cooperation clause. This means you should inform your insurance company when you are involved in a wreck and cooperate with the accident investigation.
Even if you were in an accident that’s not your fault in MD, you may claim through your own insurance company. You can use your insurance company’s Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motor Vehicle Policy if a driver leaves the scene and cannot be traced, has insufficient insurance or no insurance.
6. Talk to a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer
It’s wise to consult a Maryland car accident lawyer, particularly if you suffered serious or life-threatening injuries or lost a loved one in a crash. Insurance companies set many traps for the unsuspecting motorist and may offer you a quick settlement for serious injuries that undervalue your medical needs and losses.
If you are in an accident that’s not your fault in MD, you start off with an upper hand. It’s important to take your time before you accept money and consult with a lawyer early in the process to avoid making costly mistakes. Your Maryland car wreck lawyer will often take over the case on your behalf, leaving you to concentrate on getting better. An attorney knows how to get the most out of the insurance companies.
Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault in MD
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Baltimore-based car accident lawyer has helped many people who were hurt in automobile crashes through no fault of their own. He knows how stressful a car crash can be to the victims who often face a long fight for justice and a long road to recovery. Don’t take on the insurance company alone. Call us for a free consultation at (410) 431-0911.