When you’ve been wrongfully injured in a car crash, it’s imperative to get legal counsel as soon as possible. Seeking compensation from an insurance company is always a challenge, but dealing with injuries can exacerbate the difficulty. At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, we have a proven track record of successfully representing personal injury victims. When you work with a Baltimore car accident lawyer, you’ll be one step closer to getting your life back in order.
Collisions in Maryland are not an uncommon occurrence. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, there were 117,750 wrecks just in 2018. As a result of those crashes, 83,390 resulted in property damage, 33,874 people were injured, and 486 fatalities occurred. Many of the wrecks resulted from aggressive or distracted driving, speeding, and drug or alcohol use.
No matter how your accident happened, we’ll fight to ensure the driver or entity responsible for causing the incident is held accountable for their negligence.
Auto Accidents Happen Every Day in Baltimore
Based on the statistics above, you can see that hundreds of crashes happen every day in Maryland. A number of those collisions take place in Baltimore. In fact, 40,831 of the 117,750 collisions took place in the city and surrounding Baltimore county. As the resident of an urban area, it’s important to recognize the unique factors that create dangerous driving environments in cities. This awareness can help you drive smarter and stay out of harm’s way.
The large volumes of traffic on our multi-lane highways can result in tailgating, reckless driving, and road rage. Those factors all contribute to serious accidents, especially during high traffic times like rush hour. Increased traffic also encourages negligent drivers to run red lights, resulting in pedestrians or bicyclists getting struck.
In addition to the increased amount of traffic, road designs cause problems for some drivers. One-way streets, bus and bike lanes, and limited U-turn areas are confusing, especially to motorists who aren’t local. It’s also no secret that our city has its fair share of potholes. They can cause drivers to lose control, which is especially dangerous if the vehicle is a large truck.
What You Should Do After a Crash
If you ever find yourself in the middle of an auto crash, it’s important to understand what steps to take. Following your legal obligations and looking out for your wellbeing and the health of others involved will help you with your car accident claim later.
The first thing to do after a crash is stop, pull over, and check to see if anyone needs emergency medical attention. Call 911 and wait for help to arrive. Seeking medical attention, even if your injuries are minor, is incredibly important. Be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible for a complete examination. Depending on the wreck, the law enforcement officer may file an official report. By law, you must exchange insurance information, driver license numbers, and license plate numbers with all the involved parties.
Do what you can to preserve evidence early on. Take photographs of the crash scene, property damage to the vehicles involved, weather conditions, and any injuries you sustained. Make note of what you believe happened at the time of the collision. As time goes on, you’ll also want to keep track of your doctor’s appointments and missed work. You’ll provide your lawyer with this information, which will help with your claim.
After you’ve arrived home, you’ll want to inform your insurance company of the incident and get in touch with one of our Baltimore car accident lawyers. These actions will start the claims process, so you can work on getting the compensation you need to recover.
The Effects of a Car Wreck on Accident Victims
Being in a collision is one of the most stressful events a person can experience. The more severe the accident, the worse the consequences. If you’ve been in a wreck, your lawyer will examine how it affected you and take that into consideration when determining the amount of compensation to seek.
The physical effects of an accident need to be immediately dealt with following the crash. Even in a minor wreck, vehicle occupants can sustain trauma that results in serious, long-term consequences. It’s also important to note that some injuries are not automatically noticeable, as it can take time for signs and symptoms to develop. Some of the most common physical damage crash victims sustain include:
- Head and Brain Injuries. Depending on the type of collision, head and brain trauma are possible. When someone hits their head off of an object in the car while traveling at high speeds or an object strikes them in the head, a concussion is possible. Most times, patients with concussions recovery fully. If the injury is more severe, the person could be looking at recovering from a traumatic brain injury or skull fracture.
- Neck and Back Injuries. The most common neck injury is whiplash. This often happens in rear-end collisions. The back and spinal cord are also at risk. With a severe spinal cord injury, there’s a risk for paralysis.
- Broken Bones. Fractures are common after a crash. Casts, surgeries, and physical therapy may be needed if the break is extreme.
- Soft Tissue Damage. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the body are delicate. In a wreck, they can be stretched or torn. The pain is often significant.
- Burns. Burns are among the most painful crash injuries. Serious burns can result in skin grafts or scarring. In the most severe cases, amputation may be necessary.
After you’ve dealt with the physical effects of a collision, you’ll need to handle the financial losses. Typically, the most expensive part of dealing with an accident is the hospital bills. Even a short trip to the ER can cost thousands. You may feel overwhelmed as the bills begin to pile up. Additionally, you may need to take time off of work to recover, which can mean lost wages. You’ll also need to deal with the property damage to your vehicle, which means paying for repairs or getting a new car.
Unfortunately, the struggles for automobile wreck victims don’t stop at physical and financial. There can be mental effects. It’s not uncommon for those in accidents to develop depression, anxiety, or PTSD after the event. This is especially true is fatalities were involved or they sustained a catastrophic injury.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Maryland
We work with many car wreck victims, so we often hear similar questions regarding claims, injuries, and the future. It’s normal to have a significant number of questions and concerns after a crash. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the most common FAQs below.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
Every case is different. Your recovery plays a role in how long your claim will take to settle. This is because once you’ve fully recovered or have reached your maximum medical improvement, your lawyer can collect all your medical reports, bills, and lost wages information. Once all the documentation is gathered, your attorney can review it and issue a settlement demand to the insurance company. Depending on the offer, negotiations may need to happen. In rare situations, you may decide to file a lawsuit and proceed to court.
We understand that you want to resolve your claim as quickly as possible. We explain your best options based on your unique circumstances.
Can I file a claim if I don’t know who hit me?
If you are hit by a driver that flees the scene or your vehicle was struck while it was parked and unattended, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. Depending on your auto policy, collision coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist property damage coverage, medical payments coverage, or personal injury protection (PIP) may help you afford the accident costs.
In Maryland, PIP coverage is an add-on to your insurance policy. In the event of a crash, regardless of fault, you’ll have access to $2,500 or more for medical bills and lost wages.
How do I know if my car is totaled?
After an accident, the insurance company will have an appraiser coordinate a repair inspection. They will take photographs of the damage and prepare a detailed repair statement. To be deemed a total loss, the value of the vehicle prior to the accident has to be less than the cost of repair. If, for example, the car was only worth $5,000 before the collision but the repairs will cost $8,000, the vehicle is considered totaled.
If that happens, you have the option to accept the total loss offer, which is separate from your personal injury claim. The title is turned over to the insurance company and they’ll send you a check for the value of the vehicle before the crash.
How are car accident settlements calculated?
There are a number of factors that go into calculating a settlement. As far as damages go, economic and noneconomic losses are taken into consideration. Economic damages include medical expenses and lost wages, including future anticipated losses. Noneconomic damages are harder to determine because they’re not based on bills or calculations. Instead, this is where victims can seek compensation for pain and suffering. In order to determine what you’re owed your attorney will take both loss categories into consideration and submit the information to the insurance company.
Do I need a lawyer after a crash?
While you may not need an attorney after an accident if no one is injured and no damage happened, it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice. One of the most important tasks a lawyer can help you with is ensuring you receive the compensation you need to recover. We understand how insurance companies operate, so we know what steps to take to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.
It can also be challenging to build a strong case by yourself when you’re focusing on recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally. We’ll examine your situation and gather the evidence needed to prove you were wronged.
Should I speak to the adverse insurance company?
It’s in your best interest to refrain from speaker to the other party’s insurance company. If you do speak with them, they may request to record the conversation. In order to protect their bottom line, they could twist what you say and make it seem like you were partially or entirely at fault for the accident.
This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to work with an attorney for personal injury matters. Let your legal team handle the communications with insurance companies, so nothing you say can be used against you.
What do I do if I need to miss work to recover?
When you seek medical attention after an accident, your doctor will inform you as to whether you need to take time off work to recover. If they tell you to, it’s best to follow along with their recommendation. This will ensure you don’t worsen your condition or jeopardize your claim. Contact your employer and inform them of the situation as soon as possible. Only return to work after your doctor has cleared you.
Can I recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision?
In some states neglecting to wear a seat belt in a wreck reduces the compensation the victim is offered. This is because injuries are often more severe and expensive without a seatbelt. In Maryland, however, non-use of a seat belt is not admissible evidence in personal injury cases. Your compensation will not be affected.
But according to Maryland law, all drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts. A police officer can pull a vehicle over if the driver, front-seat passenger, or back seat passenger under the age of sixteen is seen without a seat belt.
When should I accept a car accident settlement?
You should only accept a settlement if the offer is full and fair. When you work with an attorney, they’ll calculate your losses. This way, you’ll know exactly what the wreck cost you. If the insurance company offers less than what you deserve, negotiations need to continue or you can proceed to court.
Is a lawsuit necessary after an auto wreck?
Fortunately for victims, the majority of car crash claims settle outside of court The factors of your situation will determine the best course of action. If, with the help of a lawyer, you can reach a full and fair settlement agreement with the negligent driver’s insurance company, there’s no need to proceed with a lawsuit.
There are, however, instances were a beneficial agreement cannot be reached. In that case, our attorneys will help you file a lawsuit and head to court, where a judge or jury will make a determination about the compensation you’re owed.
Seek Justice with Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC
Getting in touch with an attorney after a wreck is the best way to ensure you receive fair compensation for what you were wrongfully put through. We recognize how complicated handling legal matters is while recovering. That’s why we take care of the important paperwork and phone calls for you. We keep you in the loop the entire way, so you understand what your rights are and what you’re entitled to.
If you’re ready to file a claim, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with a Baltimore car accident lawyer. We’ll begin by reviewing your situation and helping you determine how best to proceed based on your individual circumstances.