If you were injured in an auto collision and are getting pressured to settle early, you may benefit from legal advice. A Baltimore car accident lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC is ready to assist. We may be able to help you receive the financial compensation you’re entitled to. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party that was negligent or reckless, you and your family may get peace of mind knowing the party who caused your car accident and injuries was held accountable for their actions.
When a victim is injured in a car accident and the issue of fault comes up, it’s common for the other driver’s insurance company to offer a settlement in hopes that the victim will not take legal action. These are the instances when hiring an auto accident attorney can be the most beneficial. Pursuing legal action will open an investigation. This will determine who was responsible for the collision and which party is financially liable.
You deserve to get compensation for your injuries when another negligent party caused the car wreck. While the legal process can seem difficult, you don’t have to handle it on your own. Our firm is here in Baltimore to help you determine if you’re eligible for compensation and fight for you to recover what you’re owed. We’re ready to speak with you and review your case to see if you have a valid legal claim and to help you find the best way to move forward.
Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC Fights for Maryland Citizens
When innocent people are hurt because of the negligence of others, our firm is here to provide legal assistance and fight for them to recover compensation that will help them move on from the auto accident. We understand how complex the claims process is and how it can be difficult to do on your own. Our car accident attorneys will carefully investigate your case and find out how the accident has affected your life. With this knowledge, we can advocate for you and pursue maximum recovery. Get in touch with our office today for an obligation-free consultation.
As you’re handling treatment for your injuries, wondering about when you’re going to get back to work, and keeping up with your other financial responsibilities, you may want to settle early or not pursue compensation at all. But your car accident injuries were preventable and should not have happened in the first place.
The losses of a car accident can be severe. When you’re busy working on your recovery, we will work on your case, so you have the best chance of recovering from these losses. Not knowing the full extent of your injuries can put you in a place of uncertainty—you may not have a clear idea of how long your recovery will take. When our lawyers are at your side, you’ll know you have professionals representing your best interests. We’ve helped car accident victims recover fair compensation for their injuries in the past and we will work diligently to do the same for you.
Our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. If you or a loved one was harmed in a car accident, or you’re seeking more information on how our Baltimore auto accident attorney will protect your claim, continue reading. We’ll cover these topics:
- Benefits of Filing an Injury Lawsuit
- Baltimore Car Accident Collisions
- Common Causes of Car Wrecks in Baltimore
- Safe Driving Behaviors You Can Practice to Reduce Car Accidents
- Types of Injuries That Can Result After a Car Crash
- What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Baltimore?
- Communicating with Your Insurance Company
- Tips for When the Police Make a Report
- Returning to Work After Your Car Crash
- How Maryland Determines Liability After a Car Accident
- What Happens If I’m Partially At-Fault for a Crash
- Using Evidence to Prove Liability
- Why Is Determining Liability Complicated?
- Requirements for a Successful Injury Lawsuit
- What Happens After You File a Car Wreck Claim in Baltimore?
- Moving Forward with a Baltimore Legal Team You Trust
Benefits of Filing an Injury Lawsuit
If you’re feeling trepidation at adding a legal matter to your life, you may want to look into how a lawsuit will help you with your car accident claim. The severe financial costs of an auto accident could possibly put you under considerable stress. When all the losses of an accident fall on your shoulders at once, you may not know what to do first. You may feel like you have to prioritize certain bills over others, even though these damages are the result of something that wasn’t your fault. Filing a lawsuit may be the path to having financial security you need for the future. Your compensation will be the way to pay off your expenses and recover with peace of mind.
All drivers in the state of Maryland have a legal responsibility to not cause harm to others or make careless decisions. When a driver neglects this duty and an incident results which causes harm, they may be found negligent in court. With the help of an experienced injury lawyer, a successful settlement or verdict can let you receive compensation. Your car accident settlement can go towards the following expenses:
- Lost wages
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Homecare costs
- Continued care costs
- Property damage costs
- Pain and suffering costs
- Loss of consortium
Because everyone’s car accident case is unique, other items may apply to your case that you can receive compensation for. Our lawyers know each client will have a specific set of circumstances and losses and will need proper compensation to make their recovery. Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC takes pride in treating our clients with the individuality and respect they deserve. When we’re representing you, we’ll be at your side every step of the way. You’ll know we will take everything into account in order to maximize your compensation.
It takes a skilled lawyer to assess how a car accident happened, how you were injured, and how you will continue to feel the effects of the injuries. We’ll compile evidence gathered at the scene, from reports of the accident, and from your medical records to get the full value of what you lost and are eligible to recover.
A successful lawsuit sends a powerful message to those responsible. A drunk driver may not get behind the wheel again after drinking when a victim files suit against them. Someone may think twice before increasing their speed to make a yellow light. A victim can file a personal injury lawsuit when criminal charges are already in place.
When someone’s negligence causes injuries that put your life on hold, you can take measures to make them answer for their actions and seek compensation for the damage they’ve caused.
Our Baltimore auto accident lawyers have seen the various ways people can sustain injuries when vehicles collide. Let’s discuss the kinds of accidents that occur in Maryland and the injuries they can cause.
Baltimore Car Accident Collisions
Despite having access to advanced vehicle technology, we see more and more fatality-causing car accidents every year. As reported by the Maryland Department of Transportation, there were 51,182 people injured in collisions in Maryland during 2017. 557 people lost their lives. The total injuries and fatalities increased, compared to 2016 figures.
We also saw an increase in wrecks in Baltimore County and City. They had 11,050 car accidents that caused injuries. 108 were fatal. In total, almost 37% of all collisions in Maryland took place in Baltimore.
The details of the kind of crash you were involved in will be important to your claim. These may indicate certain driving behaviors from the negligent driver, explain the injuries you sustained, and give insight into the damage that may have happened to your vehicle. There are many kinds of accidents that can occur. Among the types of collisions that occur in large urban cities, these are most common:
- Rear-end – When a driver doesn’t see a car stopping or slowing in front of them, they can crash into them from behind. Usually, the negligent driver isn’t paying attention to the road. They either crash without looking up or look at the last second but do not have the time to avoid the accident. This typically happens at red lights when a driver is stopped and waiting for the light to turn green, and a negligent driver behind them doesn’t see they’re stopped and hits the car in front of them.
- Sideswipe – This is when two vehicles hit each other from the side, often when trying to change lanes at the same time. These can cause dangerous situations when drivers attempt to overcorrect their steering to remain in their lanes. If they turn the wheel too far, they could lose control and the car could run off the road or into another lane of traffic.
- T-bone – When two vehicles hit each other while going in different directions, that is a broadside collision, and often referred to as a T-bone crash. A common accident at intersections, a car can be making a left turn and either not see or incorrectly judge the speed and distance of a car approaching in the oncoming lane.
- Single-vehicle wreck – These only involve one driver. They often occur in parking lots. Negligent drivers may not have full control of their vehicle—such as having one hand on the steering wheel. If they lose control, they could strike an object on the side of the road, like a telephone pole.
While those accidents above may be typical for urban areas like Baltimore, there are still other kinds of car accidents that happen. If you don’t recognize any of the accidents above, you may have been involved in one of the types below:
- Head-on collision – This is when the front of both cars collide. These types of car accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities. A head-on collision can happen when someone is unknowingly going the wrong way on a highway or loses control of their vehicle and crosses into oncoming traffic. When the fronts of both vehicles collide, the vehicles stop traveling, but the people inside the vehicle do not. They continue to move forward at the speed they had been traveling, which is why these auto accidents are often so dangerous. The impact can completely devastate the integrity of the car, resulting in smashed glass, metal shards, and other debris—with the drivers and front-seat passengers right behind it.
- Rollover – If someone takes a turn too quickly or hits debris on the road that lifts the car, the vehicle can fall to its side. The roof of the car can crumple during a rollover and the driver can sustain serious injuries. Once the car is rolling, there is little the driver can do to regain control of the vehicle.
- Multi-vehicle – This can happen in long lines of traffic on a highway or in the city. If there’s a line of cars waiting and a negligent driver strikes the end of the line, the momentum can make the vehicles hit the ones in front of them, resulting in multiple injuries and damages. When multiple parties and insurance companies are involved, determining liability and compensation can get confusing without a skilled car accident lawyer.
- Hit-and-run – A hit-and-run may happen in a parking lot but can also occur on any roadway. When a hit-and-run driver causes a car accident, they illegally flee the scene. This could be because they don’t have insurance or are afraid of facing the consequences of their actions. They are supposed to stop and help the other person, as well as make a report. These auto collisions are often sudden and can leave the victim in a state of shock. If they’re injured and cannot call for help, they have to wait for someone to find them. If they’re injured but are able to call for help, they may try to get details of the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle or license plate. While it can seem like the hit-and-run driver got away with their car accident, our lawyers will fight for you. Investigations may lead to identifying the driver and we will seek compensation for your losses.
Regardless of the type of wreck you were in, hiring a Baltimore car accident lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC is the best way to determine how and why the accident occurred. Reaching out to a lawyer is also the best way to find out about your legal options. Let’s look into identifying the negligent actions of the other party that led to your accident, the injuries that can occur, and what you should do after a car accident to protect your claim.
Common Causes of Car Wrecks in Baltimore
In examining the reasons why most auto accidents occur, there are a handful of factors that rise to the top. Here are some of the most common causes of wrecks in and around the city:
Disregarding Traffic Laws
Traffic laws exist for our own safety. Maryland has some unique laws that govern how drivers in our state should make decisions. Allowing pedestrians to cross when they have the right of way, coming to a complete stop at stop signs, and slowing down at yellow lights are all actions of a safe driver following the law. Negligent drivers may ignore these laws and cause serious accidents.
Often, negligent drivers may be in a rush or their focus is on getting to their destination as quickly as possible. This could lead to failing to look for oncoming traffic or rolling through stops. When a driver hits a cyclist or a pedestrian, the chances of the car accident resulting in severe injury and fatality are high because the victims have significantly less protection than the driver in the car.
When a driver gets behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol, they’re placing everyone’s lives at risk. A person’s ability to operate a vehicle declines once they’ve had alcohol. At certain levels, the driver will have trouble concentrating, tracking moving objects, making decisions, and staying awake on the road. Veering from their lane and hitting other vehicles, people, or fixed objects is much more likely.
Despite the serious consequences of intoxicated driving like license suspension or revocation, people still decide to get behind the wheel drunk. They may not think they’re as intoxicated as they are, think they can make it home, or don’t want to pay for a cab or rideshare service. Regardless of their reasoning, the decision is reckless and endangers themselves and others on the road.
If you’ve been harmed or lost a loved one because of a drunk driver, our Baltimore car accident lawyer can help your family get justice. The passing of a loved one is always tragic, but knowing it could have been prevented if someone hadn’t decided to drive while drunk is especially difficult.
When people drive, they may try to accomplish other tasks. However, it’s impossible to safely multitask while driving. A driver doing anything other than focusing on driving is distracted. Many car accidents happen every year because of distracted driving.
Maryland saw 57,099 crashes where a distracted driver was involved in 2018. This surpasses the total of crashes for years past. Overall, distracted drivers contributed to 18,102 injury crashes and 176 fatal crashes. In those auto accidents, 27,961 people were injured, and 189 people lost their lives.
It’s important to know what defines distracted driving. Some drivers may have been driving while distracted and do not realize how they’re putting themselves and others in danger. According to the CDC, there are three main types of distractions:
A driver is visually distracted when they take their eyes off the road. This could include looking at something in the car or focusing on something occurring outside of the car. Often, these outer distractions can cause rubbernecking. The person is looking at the event or thing and slows down but doesn’t keep an eye on the road. Causes of rubbernecking could be a scenic overlook, something unexpected occurring on the side of the road, and car accidents.
Cognitive distractions are when the driver’s mind is taken off driving. If they’re thinking about what they’re going to do at work that day, the errands they need to run, or is more focused on singing along with their music, they’re not thinking about the vehicles they’re driving near and anticipating their movements.
Drivers need to keep both hands on the wheel to maintain control of the vehicle. A manual distraction will take one or both hands off the wheel. Reaching for objects or food are some examples of manual distractions.
A distraction can be a combination of the types above. For example, the cell phone is often the biggest and most common distraction for drivers. Nearly everyone has one on their person at all times and it is used most for communication and access to information. Many drivers fail to resist the urge to check their phone while they’re on the road.
When a driver checks a notification, at least one hand is holding the phone, their eyes are looking at the phone, and their focus is on what’s happening on the screen. If something happens where the driver will need to maneuver quickly, they don’t have their hands on the wheel to control the car, a plan in mind to avoid what’s happening in front of them, and they may not even realize they need to do anything because they haven’t looked up from their phone. A common car accident type caused by distracted driving is rear-end accidents.
The issue also extends beyond cell phones. When people are reaching into bags next to them, trying to eat or drink, applying makeup, changing the radio station, or following a GPS, they could cause an auto accident.
One of the most easily distracted groups of drivers is inexperienced teenagers. They’re often new to the road and are excited about their newfound freedom. However, they don’t have years of driving experience under their belts to understand how quickly the road can become deadly if they’re not prioritizing cautious, alert driving.
In 2017, about 3,255 teenage drivers were involved in fatal crashes. Teenagers do not have the maturity and sense of driving responsibility that adults do. It’s important to educate new drivers about the challenges they may face on the road, whether that’s dealing with aggressive drivers or distractions in their own vehicle.
While cell phones are a main distraction, teenagers may also become easily distracted with others in the car. During their time with a learner’s permit, they may have learned to drive with a responsible, licensed driver in the front seat. That person would know to not make too much noise and offer helpful tips if necessary. However, this environment is completely different if the teenager’s friends are all in the car. They may blast music through the car speakers or from their phones, speak loudly, or try to engage the driver in conversation. A new driver may not be able to handle all these factors at once and could be at risk of causing an auto accident.
New drivers also need to build up to driving at night. With considerably less visibility, new drivers may not be used to only seeing what their headlights allow. Driving for small bits of time and building up experience and a level of comfort before driving for a long period at night can help reduce the chances of an auto accident.
Driving too fast or slowly can lead to an accident. Speeding caused 9,378 deaths nationwide in 2018. In Maryland, driver speed contributed to 10,635 crashes. Of those collisions, 3,250 crashes resulted in injury and 71 crashes were fatal. 4,682 people were injured, and 76 people lost their lives.
When people are in a hurry, they may resort to speeding. Being late for work, picking up the kids from school, or wanting to get home more quickly are common reasons why a person may speed. However, when a driver is going above the speed limit, they’re likely going to pass others on the road. Other drivers may not anticipate this driver to be speeding and could incorrectly judge a lane change.
Speeding drivers may also follow other cars too closely in an attempt to get them to speed up or move over. When this occurs, the speeding driver is reducing their reaction time to respond to something on the road. If the car in front of them suddenly slams on the brakes, the driver who is speeding may not be able to stop their car in time and collide with the vehicle.
You can reduce your chances of being tempted to speed by taking some time to prepare. If you’re trying to be somewhere at a certain time, look up how far away the destination is. You can plan your departure and allot time in case there is traffic or another obstacle. Having multiple routes in case one road is shut down can also help so you know the best way to get there and how much time it will take.
Driving recklessly, a behavior often referred to as “road rage,” can cause a car accident. The Maryland Department of Transportation Aggressive Driver Involved Crash Summary reported 4,304 total car crashes. 1,509 caused injuries and 28 crashes caused fatalities. In total, aggressive driving caused 2,545 people to sustain injuries and 50 fatalities in 2018.
Some drivers let their emotions get the best of them. When people are driving in Baltimore, traffic congestion and slow progress can put them in a poor mood. The driver could have had a bad day or think another driver wronged them, and their emotional state can change and their focus on safe driving shifts. While there’s never an excuse for reckless driving, many drivers succumb to these emotions and put other people at risk of injury in a car accident.
If they’re trying to get back at another driver, they may make dangerous maneuvers to block the driver from switching lanes, cut them off to make them miss their exit, or get close enough to shout at them through the window. When the driver is trying to do this, they may rapidly increase and decrease their speed, change lanes quickly and without warning, or tailgate the driver to try and intimidate them. This kind of driving is unacceptable and dangerous.
While road rage usually involves a driver taking out their anger on other drivers, it’s also important to keep your emotional state in mind when you get behind the wheel. Driving while angry or upset is still dangerous, even if you’re not targeting other drivers to cut off or attempt to yell at.
If you’re not in a calm state, your emotions could provide a strong cognitive distraction that means you’ll be focused on the issue that caused your reaction and how you’re feeling. A person who is angry may not realize they’re speeding or swerving in between lanes. Tears will affect your vision and you won’t be able to see clearly. If you’re upset and behind the wheel, safely pull the car over and focus on calming down before getting back on the road.
Disregarding Traffic Conditions or Weather
Poor traffic conditions and inclement weather are both “high risk” situations. An auto accident may result if precautions aren’t taken during these circumstances. If you’re caught in heavy traffic or driving during a high-traffic time like rush hour, remain alert, maintain the speed limit, and be prepared for stops.
Winter weather often creates many road hazards. Ice and snow reduce a tire’s grip on the road. Cars are in danger of sliding or becoming stuck in the snow. Another issue is drivers sharing the road with snowplows. When plows are on the road, it’s important to be aware of their blind spots and refrain from passing if possible. These heavy vehicles are difficult to maneuver and take more time to slow down than an average car. While you may want to pass a plow, you may not know the road condition in front of the plow. You may hit snow or patches of ice and lose control of the car.
When preparing for winter weather, it’s important to make sure your car is ready for the season. Getting regular tune-ups will alert you if anything is wrong and a professional will fix the problem. Having the proper tires for winter is also important because your tires need to be able to handle the cold temperatures.
You may want to have an emergency kit in your car just in case you get stuck in your car in winter. Keep a phone charger in your car and make sure your phone has a full battery before heading out. You may also want to have jumper cables, blankets, warm clothes, non-perishable food, water, flashlights, and emergency flares. If you have to wait for help, you’ll have sustenance and ways to stay warm.
Neglecting Car Maintenance
Ignoring car maintenance means you could experience an issue on the road. Mechanics could catch problems with brakes, steering, or your engine. You also need to be aware of maintaining your tires as well. We mentioned above that you should have the appropriate tires for the season, but there is more to tire maintenance you should be aware of.
The NHTSA discusses tire aging and how it relates to crashes. As time goes on, the rubber in tires will break down. Heat can make this process go faster. It’s possible for the tread to be adequate, but the tire’s structure may still have issues. You cannot always see tire aging. Tires will age whether they’re used or not. Spare tires and tires on vehicles that aren’t driven can still age. As aging increases, the tire becomes more likely to fail.
When looking into how tire failure relates to crashes, the NHTSA did a causation survey and found that tire-related crashes made up about nine percent of total crashes. It’s important to note that other factors led to these accidents besides tire aging. Tread separations, underinflation, blowouts, and lack of tread depth all contributed to accidents. If someone’s tread depth was 2/32” or less, they experienced tire problems three times more before the accident than those with a higher tread depth of 3 to 4/32”.
Additional advantages of taking care of tires include increasing your safety and the safety of those around you when you’re driving, your tires will last longer, and you will also have an increased fuel economy.
As a driver, you need to take time to make sure the vehicle you’re driving is road-ready. When people neglect car maintenance, they may experience an issue while driving and not be able to control the car. This can result in a car accident that could have been prevented.
You can prevent the above situations by practicing safe driving habits. But while you may take safety precautions, it doesn’t always mean others will. When a car accident results due to reckless actions, you may want to consider contacting a lawyer.
Safe Driving Behaviors You Can Practice to Reduce Car Accidents
Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC is ready to protect car accident victims and fight for their fair compensation. We’re also fierce advocates for awareness of the harm negligent driving can do. Promoting safety tips can help more Baltimore drivers prevent accidents and injuries.
When you’re driving you may follow some safe driving tips, so you arrive safely at your destination. While most drivers know to follow the speed limit and to slow down in extreme weather conditions, you may want to look at these other ways to increase your safety on the road.
- Reduce distractions. You’re aware of the many items that can become distractions when you’re driving. So how can you make your car a distraction-free environment? Consider turning your phone on silent and putting it in a place where you cannot see it or reach it. Set your radio before you begin driving so it’s already playing the station and volume you want. Make sure you’ve eaten beforehand or will plan to get something to eat at your destination, so you don’t feel the need to eat and drive. There’s also the issue of other people in the car being distractions. If you’re traveling with multiple people in the car, you can politely ask them to speak quietly when you’re behind the wheel.
- Plan your route. When you have an idea of where you’re going, you’re going to be a more confident driver. Look up routes to your destination. If one route is closed, you’ll have a backup in mind. It’s possible you may still need your phone’s GPS to navigate—if this is the case, you should have the phone on a mount. Still take the time to know the route so you won’t feel dependent on the GPS.
- Keep your vehicle safe. While regular maintenance with tires, the engine, and other car systems is necessary, you also need to keep the season in mind. For example, when winter arrives, you should take precautions with your vehicle when you’re driving with snow. Always clear off your windshield and the roof of your car. When snow piles up, it can fly off your car while you’re driving. It could slide down and block your windshield or it could blow on to the car behind you. If ice has frozen over your car, you need to warm your car up or use a scraper to clear off the ice. Unfortunately, people may not take the time to do this if they’re in a rush. Then, they start driving with ice blocking their vision. Allot time to clear the windows, mirrors, and windshield so you aren’t driving with an obstructed view. You should also make sure your car has plenty of wiper fluid so you can clear your windshield when necessary.
Another important way to keep your vehicle safe is to make sure your headlights and signals all work. If anything burns out, get it replaced immediately. You don’t want to find that you have one headlight out when you’re driving at night. This will reduce your visibility and also make it more difficult for other drivers to see you on the road. If your signals or taillights aren’t working, the cars behind you cannot anticipate you slowing down to turn, changing lanes, or stopping the car.
- Assume negligence from other drivers. While you know you’re focusing on safe driving, this doesn’t mean the other drivers on the road are. Following the speed limit and maintaining your distance from other cars are good places to start, but you may also want to think ahead about what other drivers could do wrong and what you can do about it. For example, don’t assume other cars can see you as you’re passing, be aware if you’re driving in another car’s blind spot, and watch for oncoming vehicles that may make a left turn.
Keeping your mind active and focused on driving could help you possibly avoid car accidents. However, when someone else acts negligently, sometimes innocent drivers aren’t able to avoid the collision and can sustain terrible injuries. While these can be debilitating, our car accident lawyer in Baltimore will fight for your compensation to cover the costs of these injuries.
Types of Injuries That Can Result After a Car Crash
While a serious car accident may result in many different types of injuries, some are more common than others. These injuries include but are not limited to:
If you’ve suffered a back injury, you could have a sprain, herniated disc, or fractured vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis. There are different kinds of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. In a complete injury, all feeling and function from the injury site down are lost. In an incomplete injury, there is limited function and mobility below the injury site.
Depending on where the injury site is, loss of function or feeling could result in a number of ways. Lower spinal cord injuries can affect the function of your organs and limbs from the waist down. If the spinal cord injury is up higher, you could also lose function of arms and your trunk. These injuries can change a person’s life forever and they’ll need specialized care.
Part of the treatment for back injuries may include surgeries that require more recovery time. The cost of surgery plus the time it takes for the injury to heal can take a major toll on your finances. This is why it’s imperative to have an auto accident lawyer in Baltimore fighting for you.
Soft tissue injuries like whiplash
When someone’s head is jerked back and forth, they can sustain neck injuries like whiplash. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, whiplash is a common car accident injury and can harm intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots. While neck pain can indicate whiplash, other symptoms like neck stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and shoulder pain are also signs of whiplash.
Whiplash isn’t the only type of soft tissue injury you can sustain. Sprains and strains can affect your back, arms, wrists, legs, and ankles. Because these are less visible than other injuries, you may not think it’s that serious. However, failing to treat a soft tissue injury can make it turn into something that causes chronic pain and discomfort.
When you’re treating a soft tissue injury, your doctor may recommend resting, avoiding exercise, and keeping the injury elevated. You can learn more about that here. It’s important to follow the doctor’s orders, even if you’re feeling better. Once your injuries are causing less pain, you need to keep treating them so they can fully heal. While you may want to dive back into life—full-time work, school, sports, and other activities, you need to listen to what your doctor says and slowly reintroduce activity once they say you can. If you go back to your normal level of activity before you’re fully healed and ready, you could possibly reinjure yourself or even make the injuries worse.
Your auto accident lawyer in Baltimore may have helped others in the past who have dealt with soft tissue injuries. We can explain the importance of listening to the doctor and letting your injuries heal so you don’t put your car accident claim in jeopardy.
Head and brain injuries
The sudden crash can create a force that makes your head move in unnatural ways or hit objects in the car, like the steering wheel or window. This could result in a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. These injuries can affect how people think, have physical and emotional symptoms, and disrupt sleep cycles.
Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering new information, and feeling slow are all symptoms of a TBI that affect the mind. Feeling irritable, nervous, sad, and anxious are also signs of a brain injury. Physically, a person may have headaches, blurred vision, feel dizzy, have nausea or vomit, difficulty with balancing, feel sensitive to noise or light, and have a lack of energy. Issues with sleep can be different—some may experience sleeping more, sleeping less, or have issues with falling asleep.
If you have a loved one in the hospital with a TBI, the doctors may not have clear answers about their recovery time. There’s a chance your loved one could be in a coma—which could be a result of the TBI, or the coma could be medically induced. When the person is in a coma, their brain function is limited. Doctors may decide to induce a coma until your loved one is in a more stable condition.
There are other difficult states your loved one could be in. Some may be in a vegetative state, where they’re able to sleep and wake up, but lack awareness of their surroundings. While someone may not be in a vegetative state, their responsiveness to what’s around them can have severe limitations. While simple motions like blinking and nodding can be done, other forms of communication may not be a possibility. Inconsistencies in levels of awareness and responsiveness may change as well.
A mild TBI is also called a concussion. If someone has a concussion, they should still be seen by a doctor to make sure nothing is amiss. Then, they can recommend a treatment plan to treat the concussion. They may say the person should rest and avoid physical activity to allow the brain to heal. Slowly and gradually, the person can increase their activity level and return to school or work when the symptoms are mild and almost nonexistent.
Lacerations and abrasions
These injuries are common in auto accidents. Lacerations are typically more severe than abrasions. These occur when something tears the skin and creates deep wounds. An abrasion is when layers of skin are scraped off. When people sustain lacerations and abrasions, the main health concern is infection. Seeing a doctor quickly after a car accident will allow them to treat the wound and give the patient antibiotics if needed.
Permanent damage can occur in some cases, resulting in nerve damage, scarring, and pain. When someone is treating severe lacerations, the medical costs can be high.
Internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding, are critical injuries that can occur in a car accident. When someone sustains an internal injury, certain organs may be unable to properly function. These require immediate medical care.
It’s important to know internal injuries can occur in a minor car accident. In some cases, car accident victims may not know they have internal injuries. If they believe they are fine and don’t seek treatment, the injuries can worsen and be fatal. This is why having medical professionals evaluate your health after an accident is vital to protecting your well-being.
Car accidents can result in crushed, broken, and fractured bones. When this happens, the victim can be in intense pain. A broken bone can puncture organs and cause internal bleeding and they can break through the skin, exposing the wound to bacteria and germs. When the skin breaks, the injury is called an open or compound fracture. These need immediate treatment, so it doesn’t get infected.
Those who have bone fractures may experience pain, swelling and bruising, numbness, trouble moving the limb, or notice their limb looks out of place. It doesn’t matter how little the break is—you need medical treatment.
Some breaks may heal with the help of splints and casts. But these will still limit your mobility and can take a significant amount of time to heal. You could also have a broken bone that requires surgery to fix. Plates, pins, and screws may be necessary to support the bone. Then, you’ll likely need a cast and to prevent putting weight on the bone.
If you’re in a cast or splint that makes it difficult or nearly impossible to do your job, you may be worrying about how much work you’re missing. But that’s what the car accident lawyers from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC are for. We’ll make sure your compensation includes the wages you lost because you were recovering for an injury that wasn’t your fault.
You may not expect a burn injury to occur because of a car accident. However, they are possible. If the crash causes something in the car to ignite, the flames could cause burn injuries. There’s also the issue of road rash. While this typically happens to motorcyclists and cyclists, if a person is ejected from the vehicle, they could develop a burn injury from their skin hitting the ground. Friction causes damage to the skin and can result in mild to severe damage.
A first-degree burn occurs when the outer layer of the skin is damaged. The area could be red or blistered. While these likely don’t need immediate medical treatment, you should always mention all your injuries to your doctor.
Second-degree burns are where medical attention will be needed. The outer layer and the layer underneath the skin are damaged. If pieces of the road like gravel or debris get into the wound, they can cause an infection. Your doctor will need to clean the wound and close it and bandage it.
Third-degree burns are when the burn reaches the bone and tissue underneath the skin. These injuries can be life-threatening. When doctors treat this injury, skin grafts may be required. The person may experience nerve damage or have issues with mobility at the burn site for the rest of their lives. If the burns are too severe to save, emergency surgery and amputation may be necessary.
After a car accident, many people are typically focused on their physical injuries. They’re worried about the damage done, what it will take to heal, and how soon they can get their lives back to normal. However, experiencing a traumatic event can have other effects. Emotional trauma may be a part of a victim’s recovery and it’s just as important as treating the physical wounds.
Those who were in a car accident may find they’re nervous about getting to a car again or they’re worried to drive by the area where the accident happened. Experiencing panic or anxiety may occur.
There’s also the chance they may have post-traumatic stress disorder. After an accident, it’s normal to be rattled. However, if your symptoms persist, you may be suffering from PTSD. Someone may not be able to stop replaying the accident over and over again in their head or are having recurring nightmares about the incident. Having flashbacks and memories, as well as feeling the effects of stress long after the reminder has passed, are indicators of PTSD. Completely avoiding anyone or anything that reminds them of the crash is another symptom to look out for. Feeling detached and persistent negative emotions are how PTSD can affect a person’s mood.
Emotional trauma cannot be ignored. When someone is suffering because of an accident, they deserve treatment. Psychological health care is vital to a person’s recovery. But affording mental health care often creates a barrier from getting the care they need. The person may need to see a psychologist or other mental health care professional. If they need medication, then they’ll have to afford the prescriptions as well. If someone is in a financially difficult situation, they may start to prioritize certain injuries over others and choose to get the physical help they need but not mental help. No one should ever have to choose between the injury they’re going to treat.
Our car accident attorneys in Baltimore will fight for your compensation to cover the care you need so you can feel whole again. We understand how traumatic a car accident is and will stand up for you, so you get the treatment you deserve.
Hospitalization and treatment are likely to be in your future if you’ve sustained any of the above injuries. Some injuries could need months of recovery, while others may have more life-changing consequences. In some cases, the injuries could be catastrophic. A catastrophic injury means the person can no longer perform gainful work. Other signs of a catastrophic injury include an injury that causes permanent disability, has a significant effect on the body’s systems and functions, or causes painful, fatal injuries. If someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, a severe burn, or an injury that causes a disability, they may be unable to return to the workforce.
This change is a lot to take in. As you’re recovering, you may have to relearn how to do everyday tasks and adjust to your new normal. Someone who has a catastrophic injury may require medication, medical equipment, or rehabilitation as part of their recovery process.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Baltimore?
Right after an accident, you’re likely going to be in a state of shock. While feeling shaken is completely normal, it’s vital to remain calm. When you have a clear head, you can take steps to protect yourself, others involved in the crash, and your future.
Take the following steps after an accident:
- Make sure medical care is on the way – Call 911 even if you’re unsure of the extent of everyone’s injuries. It’s a good idea to have emergency personnel on-scene to make sure all parties get the care they need. When there’s significant property damage or injury, you also must notify the police. They will need to issue a police report.
- Move your vehicle if possible – Your vehicle may be blocking the roadway and causing a traffic jam. If you’re able and it’s safe to do so, move your car to the side of the road. However, if you notice smoking or leaking fluid, do not get into the car. There’s a chance something has broken, and the car is now a fire hazard. Move away from the vehicle and assist others with getting away from the vehicle if possible.
- Get contact information – Before the other driver leaves the scene, make sure to get their contact information. Write down information about their vehicle. Be careful not to mention blame or fault to the other driver at any point. Doing so may harm your case or claim later.
- Take photographs – Take pictures at the scene of the accident. This can include photos of the damage your car sustained, the other driver’s car, and any distinguishing features about the scene, like evidence of an obscured road sign or road debris.
- Get witness information – If any witnesses are there, ask them if they’re willing to give an account of what happened. Ask for their contact information if they agree.
- Contact your insurer – Your insurance company will need to know the details of the accident. Be careful to not agree to any early settlements if you’re weighing your legal options. You can tell them that the accident is currently under investigation.
- Medical evaluation. Seeing a doctor after your injury is imperative. While you may have been seen by emergency personnel, you should still get an evaluation from your doctor. When you see your doctor, tell them everything that’s bothering you. Remember, pain isn’t normal and indicates something is wrong. It’s unlikely the pain will go away on its own or will get better over time without any form of treatment. Your doctor needs all the information so they can correctly assess your injuries and start treatment. You’ll also have a medical record of your injuries and how you needed medical treatment following the accident. When you don’t see a doctor, your injuries could worsen, and your symptoms could become more painful. You may not be able to recover compensation if you wait to see a doctor or do not follow their treatment plan—you may have to pay those expenses out of pocket.
- Contact a Baltimore car accident lawyer – This is when you’ll want to contact a personal injury attorney if you have any questions. A lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC can tell you about the compensation you’re entitled to and your possible legal options.
- Stay off social media –Most people have multiple social media accounts where they post regularly about events in their life or their thoughts. After a car accident, someone may post about the car accident—even if it’s just to give the update they’re okay. However, the best way to protect your claim when social media is involved is to refrain from posting. If you’re talking about what happened, the insurance company could see it as evidence that you’re not as hurt as you’re claiming. You may even post a detail they could use against you later. The action you should take is to set your accounts to private, so you have control over the people viewing your profile and stop posting for a while. If you have any questions, your lawyer at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC can help you.
Communicating with Your Insurance Company
Insurance companies are meant to create a safety net with your collision coverage if you’re the victim of an auto accident. This protection is meant to help you with your injuries and damages. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember insurance companies are a business and their goal is to make money. When someone makes a claim, the insurance company may not automatically agree to cover the compensation. Instead, they will use tactics to reduce your compensation, thus saving them money.
There are a few items you already know about, like not outright mentioning settling or talking about your injuries on social media, but the ways an insurance adjuster may get information from you may be less forthright. Here are some more tips for speaking with your insurance company:
- Focus as much as you can and try not to idealize the future.
- Answer initial questions like “how are you” carefully.
- Be honest about how you’re feeling, don’t resort to “I’m fine.”
- Don’t discuss pain and known injuries, as delayed symptoms could appear.
- Discuss how you’ll answer their questions with your lawyer first so you’re prepared.
- Don’t accept their settlement offers.
When insurance companies have this information and use it to lower your compensation, you may not be able to cover treatment for all your injuries. This could leave you in a situation where you need to pay for treatment out of pocket. The last thing you need is to have financial stress while you’re trying to regain your health. You can avoid this situation by getting a car accident lawyer on your side as quickly as possible. We have experience in dealing with insurance companies and how to communicate with them.
Our Baltimore car crash attorney is here to help you deal with insurance adjusters and get you the full and fair compensation that you deserve for your damages.
Tips for When the Police Make a Report
The police report will provide a third-party perspective on what happened and why. This can greatly help your claim. When you’re speaking to the police about your account of what happened, you should:
- Remain calm.
- Relay only the facts.
- Be honest about what you don’t remember.
- Refrain from assigning fault.
- Avoid apologizing.
Our car accident attorney at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC is prepared to hold negligent manufacturing companies accountable for their actions. While they may have a team of lawyers as representation, our Baltimore firm will not be intimidated. We’ll fight for your rights no matter what.
Returning to Work After Your Car Crash
One of the biggest questions you may have after your car accident is when you can return to work. It’s important to get back to work when you’re ready, so you get the normalcy and peace of mind back that you’re earning wages. However, you also need to make sure you’re ready to go back. Returning to work too soon can cause health complications. However, many people may be tempted to go back to work before they’re ready because of the following reasons:
- Need the wages
- Fear of judgment
- Ignoring their injuries
When you’re recovering from a car accident, your medical expenses will soon come in. Keeping up with these as well as other financial responsibilities can be difficult. It may persuade some to go back to work before they’re ready.
There’s another reason why people return to work before they’re able: their boss and coworkers. They may worry their boss or coworkers are judging them for taking time off work to recover. It’s common for people to think others may be thinking their injuries aren’t as severe as they claim and is taking advantage of the situation. As someone who sustained significant injuries, it’s vital you listen to your doctor and give your body the time it needs to heal.
People have various pain thresholds. Some may still be in pain but believe they can work through it. They may have the mindset that as they work through the pain, over time their injuries will heal. However, this is not what happens.
If you return to work before consulting with your doctor, you run the risk of putting yourself in unnecessary pain, prolonging your recovery time, re-injuring yourself, or making the injury worse. In the long run, you would be doing more damage to your injury than if you had given it the original time to heal.
It may be some comfort to know that you may be able to return to work before your car accident injuries are fully healed. But you should always discuss this with your physician first. Follow the tips below to take the best care of your injuries after a car accident.
- Document your injuries
- Follow up with your doctor
- Have a plan if your injuries still cause pain
When you compile your medical records, treatment, along with photos and a written account of what you’re experiencing, you’ll be able to clearly present how the injuries are affecting you. Your doctor will use this information to help determine when you can work again.
You should also go to follow-up appointments to check in with your doctor. They can evaluate how your recovery is progressing and make changes if necessary. For example, you may have been experiencing certain symptoms before your first meeting, but after your evaluation you started experiencing new symptoms. This could indicate something else is wrong and your recovery plan will need an adjustment. Reporting your new symptoms to your doctor will also put them on your medical record, so your insurance company will be aware of them.
If your employer requires a doctor’s note for why you’re missing work, your doctor can provide that for you. Your employer will see you require this time to recover and can assuage your feelings if you’re worried about judgment or doubt about the validity of your injuries.
However, should you go back to work with your doctor’s approval and notice that something is wrong, schedule an appointment with your doctor and inform your employer you’re feeling symptoms of your injury. There may be other work you can do in the meantime or a different position where you won’t be putting your health at risk.
While you’re dealing with recovery and figuring out when you can return to work, your car accident lawyers from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC will be working on your case and gathering all we can, so you get a fair award for the damages and losses you’ve suffered. A major aspect of your claim will be determining who the liable party is. For you to receive your compensation, the other party needs to be liable for your injuries. Let’s look into the various ways you can seek justice after a car accident.
How Maryland Determines Liability After a Car Accident
The state establishes the laws for determining collision liability. Understanding the laws of the General Assembly of Maryland is crucial to building a strong case for yourself. Your attorney will have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and be able to explain what applies to your claim.
According to Maryland’s negligence laws, there are three ways a crash victim can seek compensation. They can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver, or file a claim with their own insurance company.
No matter how a person chooses to file, they will need to prove without a doubt that the other driver was completely responsible for the accident. With the help of the right lawyer, the claim can prove the at-fault party owed a duty of care to the other party. They breached that duty and injured the other party, and there is a direct correlation between the breach and the injuries.
In general, there are three types of negligence states use to determine liability. They include comparative, modified comparative, and contributory. Maryland is one of the few states that follows a pure contributory negligence rule. This means that if you are at fault for any part of the accident, you cannot recover damages.
What Happens If I’m Partially At-Fault for a Crash?
In many states, victims are able to claim damages for the percentage of the accident they were not at fault for. For example, a person who is only 10 percent at fault for an auto accident can seek 90 percent of the damages. As mentioned above, however, Maryland abides by pure contributory negligence. If the at-fault party is able to prove you were in any way responsible for the crash, your right to compensation will be forfeited. As a result, you’ll be forced to deal with the ramifications of the accident on your own.
The only way to avoid a situation is to hire a personal injury attorney who can thoroughly investigate your case and prove that you were not in the wrong when the incident occurred. A big part of this proof lies in the evidence.
Using Evidence to Prove Liability
Gathering as much evidence as possible is key to determining liability in a car accident. The first place to look is the scene of the accident. Physical evidence can fade over time, but the photographs you or your lawyer took of the crash can help preserve evidence.
This is why it’s so vital to get many different angles of the damage done to vehicles, including photographs of all vehicles involved and close-up photographs as well. You may also take photographs of skid marks or broken glass left on the road—this could provide more information about what happened. The photographs will also capture the weather the wreck occurred in. Did the crash occur on a sunny and warm day? Was it during a blizzard at night? These are all details that can give your lawyer a clear picture of the accident.
After the scene has been evaluated, your lawyer will help you gather evidence of damages. This will include any losses you’ve incurred including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. They’ll look at your medical records to see what kind of injuries you sustained, what’s involved in your treatment, and how long your expected recovery time will be. You can also keep count of how many days of work you’ve missed and may continue to miss. Specific connections between the accident and the losses need to be made in order to prove fault.
Our lawyers will analyze the evidence and show the other party acted negligently, and their actions caused an accident that resulted in your wrongful injury. If they had not acted negligently, you would have not been harmed.
Why Is Determining Liability Complicated?
There are a number of factors that can complicate determining fault after a wreck. Gathering evidence, speaking with witnesses, and obtaining medical records and police reports can take a long time. After that’s all compiled, building it into a strong case can take even longer.
If both drivers say they did nothing wrong, it complicates the matter further. While it’s unlikely the at-fault driver will admit guilt right away, this only lengthens how long it takes to settle the claim. It’s also more difficult to determine who’s at fault when more than two vehicles are involved. When that happens, it’s best to hire an accident reconstructionist who will be able to determine how the accident occurred from start to finish.
It’s important to remember there’s a possibility the at-fault party wasn’t at the accident scene in the first place. While you may think the other driver is the one who caused the accident, they may also be a victim of negligence. If their vehicle had a defective auto part, like tires or brakes, that malfunctioned while they were driving, it could have been what led to them losing control of the vehicle and causing the accident.
Determining fault is also difficult when insurance companies get involved because they only take actions that support their best interests and bottom line. The adjuster can ask loaded questions to victims and make it seem like their injuries are not as bad as they claim. They may even try to skew the person’s recollection of the accident to support it being their fault, even if it clearly wasn’t. Hiring a Baltimore car accident lawyer can help you avoid the confusion and frustration of dealing with insurance companies.
Requirements for a Successful Injury Lawsuit
To file a personal injury lawsuit against someone who was reckless or otherwise negligent, you’ll need to do the following:
- Meet the statute of limitations– Every state has different requirements for filing an accident claim. According to the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-101, the statute for most car accident lawsuits in Maryland is three years from the time of the crash. This statute doesn’t apply to insurance claims.
- Be able to prove that negligence occurred – For your claim to be valid, your Baltimore car accident attorney will need to prove that the party who was responsible was, in fact, negligent. They will also need to prove that the wreck could have been prevented. There will need to be evidence showing that the party was acting careless or reckless and that a good driver would have not caused the accident.
- Prove that you played no part in causing the car accident – As part of Maryland’s “contributory negligence” rule, if the plaintiff (the person who’s filing the claim) is found to have played any role in causing the auto accident, they cannot recover any compensation. Maryland is one of the few states that has this rule.
One concept that often comes up during a personal injury case is the concept of “duty of care.” All drivers have a duty of care to not be reckless, careless, or otherwise make negligent decisions. This duty makes them responsible for car wrecks that are avoidable or preventable and in turn, makes them responsible for their car accident victims.
What Happens After You File a Car Wreck Claim in Baltimore?
After you meet you with your injury lawyer and they accept your case, they will take the steps to gather all the necessary facts, information, and evidence. They will make sure you’re comfortable with every step. A reputable attorney will do everything they can to keep you informed about your case.
When an attorney accepts your case, the following steps will happen:
- You will sign a contract during an in-person interview. During this time, your lawyer will start an investigation of the case. This includes gathering evidence such as any reports filed, any surveillance footage or logs, or any witness testimony. The purpose of this investigation is to determine fault as well as the extent of the damages suffered.
- The defendant (the party you’re filing the claim against) will be notified about the claim. Your attorney will also inform any relevant insurance companies. They may decide to handle all insurance matters going forward. You may be told to refer any insurers to your attorney.
- Your car accident injury lawyer will get a final medical report. This will contain details about the extent of your car accident injuries as well as your prognosis. This information determines what type of compensation, often referred to as damages, you’re eligible for. Compensation-related damages fall into two categories:
- Compensatory damages – These account for losses that are quantifiable and often broken down into economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include losses such as hospital and medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages refer to losses like pain and suffering, which are more difficult to quantify but can still be proven. For those suffering catastrophic injuries, you may also experience loss of enjoyment of life. If you’re no longer able to take part in activities you used to enjoy or are living with an injury that always causes pain, you may be able to recover compensation for that.
- Punitive damages – These are rare in the state of Maryland and go above and beyond compensatory damages. They’re generally only rewarded when the judge and/or jury feels that wrongdoings must be punished.
- Your legal team sends a demand letter to the defendant. This details your injuries, the facts surrounding the investigation, and the details about the monetary damages you’re seeking. Mediation may take place to negotiate terms. If the defendant agrees to the terms, you may receive an early settlement. A significant portion of all car accident claims settles early.
- If an agreeable resolution isn’t possible, the lawsuit will proceed to litigation. Eyewitnesses and expert witnesses are called upon. This is when the case will proceed to trial.
Every case may not follow the exact steps outlined above. Extra requirements may be necessary depending on the unique needs of your case. Your lawyer will give you a detailed account of what will happen and when.
Moving Forward with a Legal Team You Trust
You deserve to have reliable representation when you’re fighting for your rights. Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC is dedicated to providing our premier legal support to those who need it. Our firm has helped those who were injured get justice, and we may be able to do the same for you. When you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve the chance to hold them accountable for their actions and receive fair compensation for the pain they’ve caused.
The legal process can take time and may require more than negotiating a settlement. While we’re assisting you with your case, it may come to a point where you need to take the case to court to get fair compensation for what you’ve been through. This may seem like a long process, but when the other side isn’t willing to negotiate or is offering an unfair settlement that won’t help you cover the losses of the car accident, going to court is your next option.
When your case goes to court, you will have a result at the end of the process. In a courtroom, you have a better chance of receiving full compensation from the defendant. However, you may be aware that a jury has the power to rule in favor of you or in favor of the defendant. That’s where our expertise and experience in the courtroom will help. Our attorneys are prepared to represent you in court and take steps so you feel confident in the courtroom. We’ll present your case so it’s clear how the other party acted negligently, caused an auto accident, and you were injured in that accident and deserve compensation.
If you were injured in a car crash in Maryland, our Baltimore car accident lawyers are on your side. If you have any questions or would like to meet with us, don’t hesitate to reach out to our personal injury firm today. Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC offers zero-obligation personal injury consultations at no cost. We’re committed to helping injured victims and their families.