Victims injured in car accident in Maryland have questions. And you want answers. Our lawyers have successfully handled thousands of serious injury Maryland auto accident cases. We know the questions people ask right after a crash.
These are answers to immediate questions victims have after an accident. You can also find answers to the bigger picture questions of the value of your case, other more intricate questions about your case, and the insurance company you are dealing with elsewhere on this informational website.Questions
- What should I do first after a car accident?
- Can I talk to police at the scene?
- When should I contact a lawyer?
- Should I get medical treatment?
- Who is responsible for getting me a rental car?
- What if the at-fault driver fled the scene after the crash?
- What is PIP insurance and do I have it?
- Should I let my health insurance pay my medical bills?
- What if my health insurer or PIP insurance does not cover all of my bills?
Answer: The biggest thing you can do is to say little and get as much information as you can. Tell police what happened if they come to the scene. But do not provide the other driver unnecessary information and keep your answers concise. If you are injured, make this known, but you do not have to go into extensive detail.
Getting as much information as you can -- witnesses, time, photographs, weather, the nuances of the crash, etc. If your injuries do not allow you to do this, you want to 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 going to be necessary because you want an unbiased third party's information collection as well.
Setting up your claim the right way from the beginning is a key to maximizing the value of your case.
This is easier said than done if you are injured, but taking or dictating copious notes can make your path to compensation a great deal easier. Why? Because insurance companies will dispute every little thing in personal injury cases in Maryland. Our lawyers fight them in the weeds and information is the biggest weapon in the battle.
Answer: Clearly, you have to provide information to police if they come to the scene of the crash. The question is whether you should provide more than just your name, rank, and serial number type information. The answer is almost invariably yes.
In most case, you want to advise them both how the accident happened and what your injuries were. Are there cases where providing unnecessary details to police at the scene can cause damage to a viable injury claim? Yes. So you have to either call a lawyer at the crash scene if you want to get real legal advice tailored to your particular situation.
If you do go into detail with the police, be concise. You do not need to offer large volumes of extraneous details. Just the hard facts.
- Am I required to report my accident to the police in Maryland?
- Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance companies? Maryland law has a quirk on this you should know.
Answer: You want to talk to a lawyer immediately, particularly if there are serious injuries. Most lawyers -- including the attorneys at Miller & Zois -- who handle car accident cases in Maryland are going to provide free advice or at least point you in the right direction. You want to get a lawyer early in the process. The urgency varies from case to case. In some claim, irreparable harm is done to the case by not getting legal counsel quickly. In other cases, it makes no difference at all. So the best thing to do is call a lawyer and start better understanding the landscape of your particular case.
- Do I need to hire a lawyer? It depends on how severe the injury are.
- What I should know if I don't hire an attorney.
Answer: You should get medical attention if you believe you were hurt. If you are not hurt, you should not get medical treatment. If you are looking at other attorney websites, you might hear some ambulance chaser mumbo jumbo about not knowing whether or not you are hurt. While this is partially true -- many automobile accident injuries have a delay in onset -- there is no reason to get medical treatment because you think you might have a problem later. If you feel pain, go to a doctor. If you don't, then don't.
Question: What is the best and fastest path to getting my car fixed?
Answer: In most cases, the at-fault driver's insurance company will step up and get the car fixed. If they do not, the only remedy to force them to pay is to file a lawsuit. If you have collision coverage with your insurance company, that is the best route to take when the at-fault driver's insurance company does not step right up. Sure, you may have to pay a deductible. But you will get that money back when the insurance companies determine you were not responsible for the crash.
Why is there a delay? Sometimes, the insurance company is not able to talk to its insured and witnesses in a timely fashion to make an immediate decision on responsibility for the accident. In other cases, the insurance companies believe they have a defense to the claim that their driver is responsible. We have seen our fair share of ridiculous denials of responsibility. Usually, these defenses get dropped long before trial.
- What you need to know when handling your property damage case.
- Learn more about how responsibility gets assigned in property damage cases.
Answer: The answer to this question mirrors the property damage question above. Hopefully, the at-fault insurance carrier accepts responsibility and provides you with a car until your car is fixed or you get a check for your vehicle if your vehicle was a total loss. But if the insurance company does not accept liability and you do not carry rental coverage on your vehicle, you only have two options. First, you can get a rental car and send the bills to the insurance company that they may pay after they accept responsibility. The second option is to go forward without a car.
- How to win the rental car battle.
Answer: In Maryland, if your vehicle is insured, you have uninsured motorist coverage. In these cases, your insurance company is obligated to pay for any losses you have up to the amount of your uninsured motorist coverage. Maryland law treats a hit-and-run driver as uninsured.
How much uninsured motorist coverage do you have? Your coverage generally mirrors your liability coverage. So you have $300,000 in insurance coverage to protect you against your causing injury to another driver, that is also the amount of your uninsured motorist coverage. The law treats that phantom vehicle as an uninsured driver.
Answer: In Maryland, PIP is an acronym for personal injury protection insurance. This is no-fault insurance through your insurance company to pay for medical bills and lost wages from the accident regardless of who is at fault.
Many victims have a reflex of not wanting to use their PIP insurance. But we have never seen a scenario where it is unwise to avail yourself to PIP coverage. First, Maryland law prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates for making a PIP claim. Second, at the end of the day, your PIP money goes into your pocket. Why? Because you can collect twice on the same bills that PIP pays.
Even if PIP pays all of your medical bills, you can claim those same medical bills in your claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company because of a rule called the collateral source rule. Because those bills are already paid, the money that would go towards paying those bills goes to you.
- Understanding Maryland PIP insurance.
Answer: You want to let your health insurance pay your medical bills. Under most medical plans in Maryland, your health insurer has a right of subrogation which means you have to pay back what your health insurer pays out. But it is still worthwhile to have your medical insurer pay because health insurance companies don’t pay the full bill and often require the health care provider to accept their payment as full and final on the bills. More importantly, we can fight to reduce the health insurance lien for a variety of reasons.
Answer: If your health insurer or your PIP insurance does not cover any or all of your medical bills, then the only party that will likely step up and pay these bills is the at-fault insurance company. The problem is that the at-fault insurance company does not pay these bills as they come. A personal injury settlement is full, final, and forever. So those bills are owed long before the case gets resolved.
What do you do? The best trick that works in the vast majority of cases is when our firm sends a letter to the health care providers explaining the situation to them asking them to defer collection efforts.Hiring a Lawyer
Have you been hurt in a traffic collision in Maryland? Call us right now 1-800-553-8082. Can we solve your problem? Let's find out. You can also get a free on-line no obligation consultation.