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Understanding Car Insurance in Maryland

| Category: Car Accidents | March 15, 2024

One of the things that makes car accident claims so complicated is insurance. While insurance provides an important safety net, how it applies to your case can be confusing. If you have been injured in an accident and have questions about your insurance claim, a personal injury lawyer can provide you with the information you need. 

Maryland Is an At-Fault State

The law of each state dictates how car accident claims are to be pursued. States have adopted one of two possible approaches: 

  1. “No-fault” states where the injured party pursues a claim under their own insurance, or
  2. “At-fault” states where the injured party pursues a claim against the at-fault driver. 

There are only 12 no-fault states in the country. Proponents of this system claim that it results in lower insurance premiums for consumers because it disincentivizes litigation. Drivers are required to carry some form of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that will pay a portion of their medical bills and lost wages, less deductibles and up to specific limits. However, injured drivers can receive compensation fairly quickly without having to prove that the other driver was at fault. 

Maryland is among the majority of states that use an at-fault approach. Under the at-fault system, an injured driver can pursue a claim against another driver if the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence. While the at-fault system allows the injured driver to potentially recover all of their losses, they must prove that the other driver was at fault. This process can take a long time, which can be difficult for those who are injured and relying upon that compensation to move on with their lives. 

Maryland Law Requires All Drivers to Carry Insurance

By law, drivers must carry liability insurance that meets minimum coverage requirements: 

  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death to another person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people in a single accident
  • $15,000 for property damage – typically to the other driver’s vehicle, but could include buildings and other types of property

As you can see, these policy limits are somewhat modest in terms of today’s medical expenses and the average cost of a vehicle. In this situation, you may have to pursue a claim against the other driver for any additional losses that are not covered by their policy. You may be able to get some compensation from your insurance, depending on the type of coverage you have. It is a good idea to carry underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage for this reason. 

What Happens if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance? 

Even though insurance is required by law, the reality is that many drivers do not have it. This is because they stopped paying the premiums and their policy was canceled, or something happened such that their insurance became too expensive. In this situation, your only option is to pursue a claim against the other driver personally. As you might imagine, drivers who do not carry insurance often do not have the resources to pay personal injury claims. As a result, you may want to consider carrying uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. For what it’s worth, UM and UIM coverage are usually packaged together. 

Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers are complex and pose numerous unique challenges. If you have been injured in an accident such as this, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

When Should I Consider Pursuing a Legal Claim?

Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations in car accident cases. This means that if you are going to pursue a legal claim, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of your accident. 

While that sounds like a long time, the fact of the matter is that the process for pursuing a claim starts long before you file a lawsuit. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to gather the evidence you need to prove your case. If you have sustained serious injuries in a car accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can explain your options so that you can decide what is the best course of action for you. They can also help you file your claim with the insurance company. As a result, they may be able to resolve your claim without filing a lawsuit and for more compensation than you may have otherwise been paid by the insurance company. 

Contact Personal Injury Lawyer Thomas E. Pyles

Thomas Pyles has been helping people injured in car accidents get the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. Contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and your options.