In you and your family’s time of need, a Baltimore car accident lawyer can make the difference between years of hardship and suffering and a way out. If you or someone you loved was injured in an auto accident and the crash wasn’t their fault, legal recourse may be an option. By filing a lawsuit against the responsible party, you may be eligible for financial compensation that can aid the recovery process. In addition, you’ll gain answers to the “How?” and “Why?” that can make moving forward difficult.
In times of tragedy, we deserve answers. After sustaining serious injuries in a car accident you weren’t responsible for, answers bring closure. These answers may let you know how and why the accident occurred or bring you solace regarding who was at fault and what happened in the moments before the collision. In times of disaster, legal action—and the answers that are obtainable as a result—often make closure a realistic and achievable goal.
If your accident was caused by negligence on behalf of another driver or party, these are the times when seeking the help of an injury lawyer can often do the most good. When another party was reckless, careless, or otherwise negligent behind the wheel, there should be consequences for that misconduct. This includes accidents caused by a drunk driver, distracted driver, or one that was simply disobeying the laws of traffic or speeding.
All drivers in the U.S. have a duty to do what they can to keep themselves and others safe when operating a motor vehicle. By filing a claim against the responsible party, you hold them accountable and may prevent future accidents.
At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, we can help you hold the responsible driver or party accountable and potentially get you financial compensation that can aid your recovery. First, let’s go over the steps you should take after you’ve been involved in a major collision as well as some basic information and statistics:
Actions to Take After Being in a Car Accident
The first few moments after being in a serious car accident can be traumatic. If you’ve been in a crash, take a deep breath and follow these steps as soon as you’re able to:
- Pull over safely. As soon as you’re able to move the vehicle, do so safely and move it to a safe area. This helps prevent additional accidents.
- Call 911 immediately. Even if the injuries you and any passengers sustained appear to be minor, you should get a full medical assessment. You’ll also need to contact the local police. Contacting 911 right away is the best way to do both quickly.
- Obtain contact information. Before the other driver leaves the scene of the accident, make sure that you receive their contact information as well as file a report with the police. Do not mention fault or blame to the other driver whatsoever. Stick to the facts and exchange information without talking about fault at all.
- Speak to witnesses. Are any witnesses on the scene that saw the accident? It’s a smart idea to speak with them and ask what they saw and if they’d be willing to speak with you later regarding their account of what happened. Having witnesses available can be beneficial if you decide to take legal action.
- Get evidence. The police will gather evidence themselves, but it’s a good idea to capture a few photos of your own if you’re able to do so. Take pictures of the scene of the crash, the damage your vehicle sustained, any marks on the road, the other vehicle, and of any debris and/or objects that you believe may have led to the crash.
- Call your insurance company. Now’s the time to let your insurance provider know about the accident. They may try and pressure you into settling as quickly as possible, but remember that you may have legal options depending on the nature of the accident and how it was caused. You have every right to tell them you are not ready to settle yet.
- Contact a lawyer. If you are questioning your legal options or simply feel that the settlement offer your received is not fair to you and your family, now is when you’ll want to reach out and contact a local personal injury lawyer.
Contacting a lawyer can give you peace of mind, and most are happy to speak with you about your case without charging anything upfront. You may be eligible for compensation, often referred to as damages, that your insurance provider will not extend. You may even be able to receive this compensation if the accident was partially your fault, depending on the claim itself.
Compensation You May Be Entitled To
If you’re a victim of a car accident who is eligible to file a lawsuit against the driver or other party who was responsible for the crash, you may be able to receive damages that can specifically go towards the following past, future, and current expenses:
- Medical Expenses – This can include all required care after the crash, including emergency room care, hospitalization, surgeries, special equipment, therapy, home care costs, and current and future medical appointments with approved physicians and specialists. Ongoing care may also be included.
- Lost Wages – If the victim had to take an extended time off work, the expenses of the wages your family has lost may be recoverable from the settlement. If the victim was unemployed or lost their job, they may be eligible for compensation that accounts for their potential earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering – If your settlement is approved for a type of damages referred to as “punitive damages”, you may be entitled to compensation that is intended to discourage the defendant from acting similarly in the future. Punitive damages act as a way to punish those responsible. As part of these damages, you may receive compensation for your physical pain and suffering that extends beyond necessary medical care.
- Mental and Emotional Anguish – If you’re able to receive punitive damages, you may also be entitled to compensation for your mental and emotional suffering– including worry, grief, and other types of distress that can’t be defined as types of physical distress.
- Loss of Consortium – An uninjured spouse may be able to receive damages for loss of marital benefits from a partner who has been injured and suffered to the point of being unable to provide care, comfort, and companionship due to what they have endured.
- Wrongful Death Benefits – If you have unfortunately lost a loved one in a serious car accident that you feel was caused by negligence, reckless actions, or otherwise wrongful behavior, you may be eligible to receive wrongful death benefits by filing a lawsuit on their behalf.
In addition to the damages listed above, a court or jury may deem your case appropriate to receive additional compensation. The total compensation you are owed will depend entirely on the case and the circumstances surrounding the accident itself.
What Types of Car Accidents Happen in Baltimore?
Baltimore and Maryland are both home to a wide variety of automobile collisions that involve trucks, passenger vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and cyclists. Some types of accidents are more common than others, however, and tend to lead to more injuries overall. Here are some of the most common types of car accidents we see in and around Baltimore:
- Rear-End Collisions – These are the most common types of crashes we see in our city and state and result when a driver cannot stop in time to avoid hitting another vehicle that’s in front of them. Rear-end crashes are often caused by a driver who is tailgating, speeding, or distracted and cannot stop in time at a signal or when traffic slows in front of them. Any injuries sustained will vary depending on the force of the impact.
Head-On Collisions – These types of accidents occur when two vehicles collide into one another while facing one another. They often happen at intersections or when one vehicle cannot be controlled. Head-on crashes are often serious in nature and can cause serious injuries depending on the force of the impact as well as how much of the impact the windshields and vehicle engines absorb.
Side Wrecks – Side wrecks are very common and occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another. They tend to happen at intersections, on interstates and highways, on any road where lane changes occur, or when a driver loses control of their car. These types of crashes often result in serious injuries due to the fact that the drivers and any passengers are hit with the full force of the collision’s impact instead of the car’s engine or trunk.
“Side swipes” are also common and result when two vehicles almost hit each other on the sides but manage to pull away, which leaves the two vehicles to scrape against one another. These usually result in minor damage to the victims, but can cause significant vehicle damage.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents – When an accident involves two or more cars, they’re often referred to as multiple vehicle accidents, or MVAs. MVAs result when the impact of one crash causes one or more vehicles to crash into additional vehicles, often causing a chain reaction or multi-car “pileup”. These can be very devastating and cause serious injuries to all parties involved.
Single-Vehicle Crashes – Quite the opposite from an MVA, a single-vehicle crash involves only one identified vehicle but may involve a second vehicle that wasn’t able to be identified. When a car collides with a wall, tree, structure, or pedestrian, these accidents are also sometimes referred to as single-vehicle crashes.
Maryland Collision Statistics
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, 34,682 car crashes occurred in the state of Maryland in 2016 that resulted in injury. 483 resulted in fatalities. Among those accidents, 522 people were killed and 50,864 were injured.
2016’s fatality and injury numbers were higher than any other recent year within the last five years. There was a 30% increase in the amount of crashes that occurred which resulted in injuries between the years 2015 and 2016, in fact.
These statistics are staggering when you consider the fact that our vehicles are safer than they’ve ever been. Many newer cars now feature technological devices and upgrades that are supposed to prevent collisions from happening in the first place. Why do the numbers of fatal and injury-inducing accidents keep rising?
Why Do Most Car Accidents in Maryland Happen?
The answer as to why car accidents occur in Maryland is complex and can partially be explained by the fact that there are more vehicles on Maryland’s roads and highways than ever. As our state’s population rises, it’s only natural that more accidents will occur, but there are other factors to be considered as well.
Many of these factors are a direct result of the fact that most car accidents are caused by human error. Some of these errors can be attributed to poor visibility due to weather conditions or poor reaction times overall, but many others are related to several common factors that can be prevented with proper caution, awareness, and attention to the task of driving.
Here are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Baltimore and elsewhere throughout our state:
- Speeding – According to the 5-year average from 2012 to 2016, 6,207 individuals were injured yearly in car accidents in our state that were caused by a driver that was driving faster than the speed limit. 95 were killed. Speeding makes it difficult for a driver to stop or slow in time to avoid a potential accident and should be avoided at all costs. In addition, speeding makes it difficult for other vehicles to properly pass, make turns, or react accordingly to situations which may occur. In a situation involving poor visibility or weather conditions like ice and snow, speeding can drastically reduce the amount of time other drivers have to react.
- Driving too Slowly – Driving too slowly for the flow of traffic causes a surprising amount of accidents in Baltimore. Drivers expect each other to follow the normal speed of traffic, so they base their decisions upon that expected speed. If a car is going too slowly, it can become difficult to make adjustments for the lowered speed and avoid an accident that would have not otherwise occurred.
- Aggressive Driving – Driving recklessly can be just as dangerous as speeding. Aggressive driving can lead to unpredictable behaviors, poor awareness, and unsafe decision-making.
- Drunk Driving – The CDC reports that 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. during 2016 involved drivers who were impaired by alcohol. Legal and illegal drugs other than alcohol were involved in roughly 16% of motor vehicle accidents during that same year. Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs continues to be a serious issue in our state and nationwide—and is 100% preventable.
- Distracted Driving – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 9 people are killed and 1000 more are injured nationwide in auto crashes every day that involve a driver who is distracted. Our phones aren’t our only sources of distractions while driving, either. Anytime a driver takes their eyes off the road to glance at a GPS screen, talk to a passenger, or reach down for an item that fell, a potential car accident may result.
- Not Following Traffic Laws – Traffic laws and posted signs are in place for a reason. When posted signs and laws aren’t followed, the law-breaker is more than at risk for a ticket—they’re at risk to cause an accident.
- Vehicle Defects – When a vehicle is put on the market defective or with parts that are malfunctioning/defective such as tires or brakes, accidents are more likely to occur.
Most of the above causes can be prevented by being mindful of other vehicles on the road as well as the laws that are in place to protect every motorist, passenger, and pedestrian/cyclist who share our highways and roads with us. If the actions or behaviors which led to a crash can be proven as negligent when evidence and third-party testimony is provided, your car accident attorney may be able to help you receive a favorable settlement.
Common Car Wreck Injuries
Car accidents can cause devastating injuries which may require hospitalization, surgical procedures, long-term care, therapy, mobility assistance, and extended time off work. Some injuries tend to be more common than others, however. Some of the most common car accident injuries include the following:
- Neck or back injuries, including injury to the spinal cord
- Head injuries, including brain injuries
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Internal injuries like internal bleeding and organ damage
- Broken bones or dislocations
- Burn injuries
- Emotional trauma
It’s crucial to get proper medical care following a serious crash due to the fact that pain and other injury symptoms may present hours or even days after the crash. When your body experiences a traumatic incident such as an auto accident, you may experience a rush of adrenaline– which helps you cope with the crash and what you need to do following it– but it may also mask injury symptoms as well as pain. Getting a thorough medical examination by emergency personnel is the only way to ensure nothing more serious may be going on.
Some injuries, like whiplash, may also present in a delayed manner due to the fact that as the impact area begins to heal, nerves may become pinched and/or damaged. If you notice any delayed symptoms, you should follow up with your doctor right away.
Always be sure to follow any medical advice that is given to you immediately following the accident. If you’re given recommendations to see a specialist or follow up with your own doctor, failing to do so may worsen your condition or even potentially jeopardize your legal claim if you should choose to file a case.
Peace of Mind to Move Forward Confidently
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car crash, you may find yourself in a situation where you do not know where to turn. Insurance claims can be difficult to navigate—especially in the case where the other driver’s insurers are offering you a settlement that you know is unfair or is too low to cover your medical costs and the time you had to take off work.
Contacting a Baltimore car accident attorney in either type of situation can allow you and your family the peace of you mind you need to begin the recovery process. In addition, taking legal action may encourage a negligent individual to stop acting recklessly behind the wheel, thereby protecting potential future victims.
To learn how Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC can help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our law firm today. Our lawyers were born and raised in Baltimore and are familiar with the strategies most local insurance agencies use to try and low-ball unsuspecting accident victims. We will do everything we can to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.