Car accidents can be stressful and overwhelming. We talk to our clients. We see the look on their faces. We get it.
As a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist, you may have many questions about what to do next and how to handle the aftermath of a car accident. In this frequently asked Maryland car accident questions page, we aim to provide the information and resources you need to understand the legal and practical aspects of car accidents in Maryland.
From reporting the accident to your insurance company to seeking medical treatment and pursuing compensation, we’ve compiled the answers to the most common questions asked by Maryland residents who have been in a car accident in Maryland
- What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
- Who Is The At-Fault Driver In A Car Accident?
- Who Pays For My Car Repairs?
- Can I Get A Rental Car While My Car Gets Fixed?
- Who Pays For My Medical Bills?
- When Should I Speak To An Attorney?
- How Long Do I Have To File A Car Accident Claim In Maryland?
- Why Is The Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer So Low?
- Will My Insurance Rates Go Up After I Make A Claim?
- The At-Fault Driver Did Not Have Car Insurance Or Fled The Scene Of The Accident, Can I Still Bring A Claim?
- I Do Not Have Car Insurance, Can I Still Bring A Claim?
What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
The biggest thing you can do is say as little and get as much information as possible. Tell the police what happened if they come to the scene. But do not provide the other driver with unnecessary information, and keep your answers concise. If you are injured, make this known, but you do not have to go into extensive detail.
Get as much information as you can, including witnesses, time, photographs, weather, the nuances of the crash, etc. If your injuries do not allow you to do this, delegate this task to a friend or family member. Calling the police and getting them to document the details of the crash is almost invariably necessary because you want an unbiased third party’s information.
Setting up your claim the right way from the beginning is critical to maximizing the value of your case.
Insurance companies will dispute every last detail in personal injury claims. Taking or dictating copious notes can make your path to compensation much more effortless.
- More on what to do after an accident
- Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance companies?
- Am I legally required to report an accident?
Who Is The At-Fault Driver In A Car Accident?
The driver at fault in a car accident is the driver who did something that a reasonably prudent driver would not have done, resulting in injuries to other users of the road.
In most car accident cases, proving fault is not a big challenge, even when the insurance companies pretend it is. When a texting driver rear-ends another car at a stop sign or an inattentive driver blows through a red light, there is rarely a significant debate about liability.
The more significant issue is usually the compensation the victim should get. This amount ranges wildly depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the ability of their lawyer to articulate why they deserve more for those injuries.
- How to prove fault
Who Pays For My Car Repairs?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the property damage to your vehicle. When the insurance company does not step up to pay for repairs to your car, you can file a lawsuit to force them to pay. Delays happen either because the insurance company cannot gather enough evidence or because it believes the driver was not at fault.
If you have collision coverage, you can use your own insurance to get your car back on the road. You can recover the deductible cost when both insurance companies determine you were not responsible for the crash.
- Ways to get a better property damage settlement
- More on who is responsible for the cost of property damage after a car accident
Can I Get A Rental Car While My Car Gets Fixed?
Hopefully, the at-fault driver’s insurance will provide you with a car until yours is fixed or until the money comes through to replace your car if it was totaled. If not, your only other option may be to front the rental car cost and send the bills to the insurance company, hoping they eventually accept responsibility. If you have rental insurance through your insurance company, they will front the cost of your rental car until liability issues are settled.
- How to get insurance to pay for a rental car
Who Pays For My Medical Bills?
The first step in paying your medical bills is using your own health insurance coverage. However, in many cases, victims are left with outstanding medical bills.
Most Maryland drivers have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage worth anywhere from $2,500 to $20,000. PIP can cover the cost of lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses resulting from a car accident. You can use PIP regardless of whether you were the at-fault driver. PIP can help you get money quickly.
Finally, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic costs, such as the pain & suffering you suffered due to your injuries. Any medical bills will be paid from your settlement, which the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays.
A lawyer can also help you reduce the interest and other costs that your health insurance is charging and help to delay their payment deadlines until after you have received a settlement.
- More on how much money to expect from car accident settlements
When Should I Speak To An Attorney?
Speaking to an attorney immediately after an accident is a good idea, especially if you or a loved one was seriously injured. A lawsuit cannot undo the damage of a car accident. However, lawyers can help you reduce your financial burden and recover costs you cannot pay through other avenues.
Having experienced counsel at your side can make all the difference if you have a severe injury or wrongful death case. In more minor accident cases, you may want a lawyer, or you may not. There are some cases where the injuries are minor enough that proceeding without a lawyer is reasonable.
How Long Do I Have To File A Car Accident Claim In Maryland?
In most cases, Maryland statute of limitations law stipulates that you have three years from the accident date to bring a claim. Some exceptions can lengthen or shorten those three years. There are also notification requirements that sometimes have time limits as short as 180 days. Talk to a lawyer soon rather than later to determine how long you must bring a claim.
Why Is The Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer So Low?
Insurance companies are not trying to give you fair compensation for your injuries. These companies want to collect as much as they can in insurance premiums and pay out as little money as possible on every claim. When insurance companies offer less than a claim is worth, victims and their lawyers have to work hard to fight for a fair offer.
Will My Insurance Rates Go Up After I Make A Claim?
Your insurance rates will not increase in Maryland if you are not found at fault for the crash, even if you make a claim. However, your insurance rates will go up an average of 22 percent if your negligence is found to have caused the accident.
The At-Fault Driver Did Not Have Car Insurance Or Fled The Scene Of The Accident, Can I Still Bring A Claim?
Maryland drivers are required to have uninsured motorist coverage. If you have car insurance, you have uninsured motorist coverage. This means that if you suffer injuries due to the negligence of an uninsured driver, your insurance company must pay you fair compensation for the harm and losses you have suffered.
Under most Maryland car insurance policies, your uninsured motorist coverage mirrors the policy limits of your liability coverage. In other words, the insurance company pays you the same amount if you had been the negligent driver. You and your insurance company often battle over how much money you should receive for your injuries.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if the at-fault driver flees the accident scene.
I Do Not Have Car Insurance, Can I Still Bring A Claim?
You do not need car insurance to bring a claim in Maryland. The focus of the inquiry for determining whether you have a claim is simply whether someone else negligently caused you injury. You can be driving on a suspended license, underage, and the like and still bring a personal injury claim.
If neither you nor the at-fault driver have insurance, you have a problem. The at-fault driver is still responsible for compensating you for your property damage and injuries. However, it is unlikely that they will have the out-of-pocket funds to do so even if you bring legal action.
- FAQs on the settlement value of your car accident claim
- Valuing car accidents by injury type
- Negotiating with different insurance companies
Get a Lawyer Who Fights for You
This can be a difficult time if you or a loved one has been in a car accident. Our experienced lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 800-553-8082 or reach out to us online.