Maryland Car Accident Lawyer
On average over 40,000 people are injured every year and nearly 500 people are killed in Maryland traffic accidents. The worst fact about these tragic statistics is that the vast majority of automobile accidents could have been prevented had the at-fault drivers simply paid more attention or driven with a reasonable amount of care. More than a third of all Maryland traffic fatalities and over 60% of all car accident injuries are caused by distracted driving alone. Other leading causes of auto accidents in Maryland include aggressive driving, drunk driving and speeding. When a driver is hurt because of the negligence or distracted driving of another, the Maryland car accident lawyers at Steinhardt, Siskind & Associates, LLC provide aggressive, focused representation to help auto accident victims recover the full amount of compensation available to them.
Getting Your No-Fault Benefits
If you are hurt in a car accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company for coverage under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This no-fault insurance should pay your medical bills and other reasonable expenses, including reimbursement for lost wages for the time you are out of work. Unfortunately, most people only carry the minimum required amount of $2,500 in coverage, which may not cover all of your needs. Even if you carry as much as $20,000 in PIP, this sadly may not be enough to fully compensate you if you are seriously injured.
The process for filing a no-fault claim should be relatively simple, but often it is not. Insurance companies will still review your policy and the circumstances of the accident and may deny the claim if they can find any grounds to do so. If you need help filing your claim, or if your claim is denied, call Steinhardt, Siskind & Associates, LLC for a free consultation regarding your situation.
Holding the At-Fault Driver Accountable
In the event PIP coverage is insufficient to meet all your needs and the accident was not your fault, you may get a greater amount of compensation by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. All drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover at least $30,000 in personal injury damages (up to $60,000 if more than one person is injured) and $15,000 in property damage. To be successful in a claim against the other driver, you need to be able to prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault and caused your injuries, and you also need to be able to justify the amount of money you are seeking and the nature and extent of your injuries.
The other party’s insurance company may dispute your injuries or claim that their insured was not responsible. In this case, you need experienced legal representation who can negotiate a valuable settlement with the insurance company while preparing your case for trial if necessary. If you are not represented by an attorney, the insurance company will try to take advantage of you by denying your claim or offering far less than your claim is worth. At Steinhardt, Siskind & Associates, LLC, our lawyers go to work right away investigating the accident and building a strong case that proves the other party’s liability for all your damages. Insurers are more likely to settle the case for a proper amount rather than face us in court, and if they don’t, our skilled and experienced attorneys are ready to take your case before a jury for maximum compensation.
What to do after a Maryland Car Accident
Being injured in a car accident is a painful and shocking experience. It can be hard to know what to do or say at the scene, or what steps to take after the accident to ensure your claim for compensation. Yet the things you do and say (or don’t do or say) after an accident can have a major impact on the value of your claim, the ability of your lawyer to pursue your case, and indeed whether you will be able to collect any compensation at all. If you are ever in a Maryland car accident, follow the steps below to secure your claim, and call the personal injury attorneys at Steinhardt, Siskind & Associates, LLC to pursue your case.
Make sure everyone is okay. If there are any injuries or it appears anyone involved in the accident needs medical attention, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. You may want to perform First Aid in an emergency until help arrives, but don’t take any measures you are not qualified to perform or are unsure of. Remember that it is recommended to never move an unconscious person unless it appears absolutely necessary to save their life, such as if they are lying in the path of oncoming traffic.
If the vehicles are blocking traffic and it is safe and possible to do so, it is generally recommended to move the vehicles to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave the vehicles in place to preserve the best evidence for the police about how the accident occurred.
Call the police. In any injury accident or where significant property damage is involved, the police should be notified. Wait for the police to arrive; it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. The police will make a report and may take a statement from you. If you are prevented from making a statement at the scene of the accident because of your injuries, you or your attorney can obtain the police report at a later date and review it to make sure it accurately reflects the details of the accident as you remember them.
Exchange information. The information you exchange with the other driver should include your name and contact information, your driver’s license number, and the name of your insurance company and policy number. Don’t volunteer other information such as your policy limits, and don’t make any statements about who was at fault.
Take pictures. If you have a camera or even just a camera phone, take pictures of the scene of the accident and damage to the vehicles from all angles. If you have to move the vehicles, take pictures first if safe to do so. If there are witnesses to the accident, see if you can get their contact information and a description from them of what they saw.
See a doctor. Even if you did not need emergency medical attention immediately after the accident, you should still make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Some symptoms of serious injury are not immediately apparent but can be life-threatening if not promptly diagnosed and treated. Your doctor can give you a thorough examination and order any necessary tests.
Call a lawyer. You may have a lot on your mind after an accident, including dealing with your medical situation, insurance company paperwork, finding alternative means of transportation, and countless other details related to this disruption in your life. However, you do not want to delay calling an attorney. An experienced auto accident attorney will want to get to work right away viewing the scene and damaged vehicles, recording witness statements or ordering an accident reconstruction before important evidence is damaged or lost. Having legal representation from the start will help ensure you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company and that you are well-positioned to get the full and most appropriate value of your claim.
Other Driver Uninsured?
Yes, liability insurance is required by law in the amounts described above, but that does not mean everybody follows the law. In fact, over twelve percent of Maryland drivers do not carry liability insurance. What happens if you are hit by one of these uninsured drivers? In this situation, you can file a claim with your insurance company under your Uninsured Motorist coverage. Like liability coverage, UM coverage is required by law with at least the minimum 30/60/15 coverage amounts. UM coverage also includes Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, which comes into play if your injury damages exceed the other driver’s liability coverage, and your UM coverage exceeds that driver’s liability policy. A UM policy can also be used in the event of a hit and run, or if the other driver leaves the scene without exchanging information.
Just because you are dealing with “your” insurance company and not the other driver’s, don’t make the mistake of not contacting a lawyer. When making a claim with any insurance company, your interests are at odds with theirs, and without experienced legal representation on your side, you are not likely to receive the full value of your claim.
Help is Available from Experienced Maryland Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Maryland, call Steinhardt, Siskind & Associates, LLC at 410-766-7630. From our offices in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott & Annapolis, we help people throughout the state who have been injured by the negligence of another. Your call is free, and there are no attorney fees or expenses unless we win your case.