After immediate health concerns are addressed from a car crash, the drivers involved may start to wonder about who caused the accident and what the next steps are. Determining liability in a car accident can be complicated depending on the circumstances of the collision and how many vehicles were involved. If you’ve been in a wreck, we’re here to help prove you were driving responsibly and deserve compensation for your injuries.
Car accidents are expensive. Medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement costs can quickly pile up against lost wages from time off of work. When it’s discovered who’s at fault for the accident, the victim can collect compensation to cover the accident-related expenses and focus on recovering, instead of worrying about finances.
In order to understand how liability is assigned, it’s important to understand the associated laws, how evidence applies, and why determining fault isn’t easy—especially without the help of an experienced lawyer.
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 a wreck 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. Photographs of the vehicles and notes about the condition of the road and weather at the time of the crash should be collected. If there were witnesses present at the time of the collision, their testimonies are likely to be useful.
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. Specific connections between the accident and the losses need to be made in order to prove fault.
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.
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 car accident lawyer can help you avoid the confusion and frustration of dealing with insurance companies.
If you’re attempting to seek compensation for an accident you believe was not your fault, taking the matter on by yourself could result in you receiving less than you deserve. The attorneys at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC have years of experience and fully understand the laws and regulations that apply to your claim. We’ll handle the complicated paperwork and conversations, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back in order. To learn more about the benefits of seeking legal representation, reach out to us today for a free consultation.