Why You Need a Laurel Car Accident Lawyer
Several busy and congested highways pass through or near Laurel, including Interstate 95 (one of the busiest roads in the nation), the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and U.S. Route 1. Located near the center of the sprawling Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area — a region well-known for its traffic congestion — car accidents are simply a fact of life in Laurel. Car accidents often lead to injuries, which can significantly affect the lives of their victims. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a Maryland motor vehicle accident, please contact a Laurel car accident lawyer.
The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
When you are involved in a car accident in Southern Maryland, recovering your losses involves filing a claim against the party that was at fault. Typically, this means filing a claim against the other driver (or under the other driver’s insurance policy), but there are other possibilities as well. To determine who is liable for your injuries, you will need to hire a Laurel auto accident attorney to identify the cause of your accident.
There are an almost limitless number of reasons why cars get into accidents, but some of the most common scenarios we see on a regular basis include:
- Speeding: Speeding increases the time it takes for a vehicle to come to a complete stop, which can often be too long to avoid striking another vehicle or nearby object.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving occurs when a driver focuses on anything other than the task at hand (i.e., driving), and includes a wide range of behaviors such as texting, eating, smoking, applying makeup, adjusting the radio, looking at objects outside the car, and hunting for dropped objects.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving generally refers to intentionally aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, running stop signs and lights, brake checking other vehicles, cutting other vehicles off, and driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is extremely dangerous because use of these substances lowers their users’ inhibition, slows their reaction time, and makes it difficult for them to see clearly.
- Mechanical failure: Not all car accidents are the result of human error; occasionally mechanical failure, such as tire blowouts, brake failure, and car fires can also cause accidents.
Other Possible Causes of Auto Accidents
As we said at the beginning, while driver negligence is the most common cause of car accidents, it is not the only possibility. Other possible causes of car accidents include:
- Vehicle Defects – If your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle was defective in any way, then the vehicle’s manufacturer, the dealership that sold the vehicle and various other companies could potentially be liable for your accident-related losses. Common defects include defective brakes, defective tires and wheels, faulty lights, and faulty accelerators and transmissions.
- Negligent Vehicle Repairs – If a repair shop or dealership made a negligent repair, then the shop or dealership could be liable for your losses. Similar to vehicle defects, this applies to both your car and the other driver’s car, truck or SUV.
- Negligent Road Construction or Maintenance – Negligent road construction can lead to dangerous hazards for drivers. So can the failure to perform necessary road maintenance. If your accident involved a pothole, a low shoulder, a bend that was too sharp or any other road-related issue, then you may have a claim against the Maryland State Highway Administration or another government agency that is responsible for the road.
- Negligent Hiring, Supervision or Entrustment – Many car accidents involve drivers who are on the clock behind the wheel. If you were hit by a driver who was working at the time of the accident, the driver’s employer could be liable for negligent hiring, supervision or entrustment.
10 Common Driving Mistakes that Cause Car Accidents
In most cases, car accidents are the result of driver negligence. Here are 10 of the most common types of driving mistakes for which accident victims can seek financial compensation:
- Driving While Distracted
- Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired
- Driving While Fatigued
- Driving Without Glasses
- Driving the Wrong Way
- Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
- Turning or Merging Without the Right of Way
- Turning or Merging Without Signaling
- Following Too Closely or Waiting Too Long to Brake
- Speeding and Making Other Careless or Reckless Mistakes
When to Hire a Laurel Car Accident Lawyer
You are not required to hire an accident law firm, and you may not need to, particularly if your accident was minor and did not involve serious injuries. However, if your accident more than a fender bender and your injuries or property damage are severe, you may be better off letting a Laurel car accident attorney handle the matter. Generally, you should consider hiring an attorney if one or more of the following are true:
- You suffered severe injuries
- You incurred expensive medical bills
- Your accident has kept you away from work and resulted in lost wages
- An insurance company is pressuring you to settle
- Your case presents complex issues of liability
You should also note that, if you are planning on challenging an insurance company, the company will almost certainly be represented by its own counsel who knows how to reduce your compensation or deny your claim altogether.
Fault and Damages in Maryland Car Accident Claims
When you are injured in a car accident in Maryland, there are two things you need to prove to file a successful claim for financial compensation. These are (i) who was at fault in the accident and (ii) how much you are entitled to recover (your “damages”).
Proving both fault and damages requires the representation of an experienced Laurel car accident lawyer. When you file an insurance claim, the insurance company is not on your side. The insurance company will dispute liability, and it is going to try to pay you as little as possible. It is up to you to prove who was at fault and how much you are entitled to recover, and this means that you need an experienced lawyer on your side.
Proving fault in a car accident involves collecting evidence at the crash scene and from various other sources. You probably have some evidence in your possession already—and you will want to give everything you have to your lawyer. Your Laurel auto accident attorney will need to investigate to collect additional evidence of fault as well.
Evidence You May Have Already
Some examples of the types of evidence you may have already include:
- Photos or videos you took with your phone at the scene of the accident
- The other driver’s insurance and contact information
- Contact information for any eyewitnesses
- Your medical records
- Repair estimates for your vehicle
- A copy of the police report
- Your notes about what happened and how your injuries have impacted your life
Evidence Your Laurel Car Accident Lawyer Will Need to Collect
Some examples of the types of evidence your lawyer will need to collect to prove fault in your car accident include:
- Forensic evidence from the scene of the accident (i.e., skid marks or landscape damage)
- Traffic or security camera footage
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Cell phone records
- Employment records (if the other driver was on the clock, his or her employer could be liable for your injuries)
- Vehicle maintenance and repair records
- A detailed inspection report of the damage to your vehicle
Potential Damages After a Car Accident
Proving your damages requires a thorough understanding of your medical needs and the various other ways that your injuries will impact your life. Your Laurel car accident lawyer will be able to help you calculate your damages and seek just compensation for losses, including:
- Medical bills, medical supply costs and prescription costs – This includes all medical expenses you have incurred to date and are likely to incur in the future.
- Transportation and other out-of-pocket costs – Besides medical expenses, you are also entitled to just compensation for your additional out-of-pocket costs.
- Lost wages, salary and benefits – If you have been unable to work, your damages include lost wages, salary and benefits.
- Lost future earning capacity – If you are unable to work in the future, your damages will include your lost future earning capacity as well.
- Pain, suffering and emotional trauma – In addition to financial losses, car accident victims in Maryland can also recover damages for their pain, suffering and emotional trauma.
- Scarring and disfigurement – Scarring and disfigurement are additional forms of non-financial loss for which damages are available under Maryland law.
- Loss of society, consortium, companionship and enjoyment of life – In Maryland, car accident victims can also seek to recover damages for their loss of society, consortium, companionship and enjoyment of life.
Our Laurel Accident Attorney Explains Maryland Auto Insurance Laws
Maryland law requires that every insurance policy provide personal injury protection insurance. This generally covers any lost wages and/or medical bills that arise from an accident. It is no fault driven, meaning that it doesn’t matter if it is your fault or the other drivers fault for you to receive PIP benefits. However, this protection can be waived so be careful that you do not waive this benefit as it is necessary if you are ever in an automobile accident.
PIP benefits cover your lost wages and/or medical expenses if you have been in an automobile accident. Most PIP coverages have a limit of $2,500.00, meaning that your carrier will pay for lost wages and medical bills up to that amount. In some cases a client’s wages will exhaust PIP and vice versa for medical expenses. If this is the case, you will want to recover your lost wages first, as doctors generally will wait until settlement to be paid.
Do I Have to Report My Car Crash to the Police and Insurance Company?
Maryland law requires that if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision that you provide your name, address, contact information, and insurance information to the opposing driver. It is mandatory that you exchange information to the driver of the other vehicle.
If you would like to seek coverage or some type of benefit from your insurance company, then you will need to report the accident to your insurance company. If the other driver was at fault you will need to report the accident to their insurance carrier so that a claim can be made.
Speak to a Laurel Car Accident Lawyer Today to Fight for Compensation
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be able to recover for your losses through a personal injury claim. To get started, please contact a Laurel car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles by calling 301-723-7076 or filling out our online form.