Determining Fault in a Maryland Car Accident

Written by Jobeth Bowers. Posted in .

Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are home to several top museums and universities as well as a wealth of one-of-a-kind historical attractions. Unfortunately, they are also notorious for their levels of traffic, ranking No. 9 and No. 5 respectively, among the top 10 most congested cities in the United States. When people spend a great deal of time on the roads, from locals to visitors, they are prone to make mistakes and commit traffic violations. The problem gets worse when they are stuck in traffic.

Car accidents in these situations can be devastating and are all too common. In our office, we see car accidents result in catastrophic injuries and property damage, and we witness our clients face mounting medical expenses, all while battling insurance companies during recovery.

When you find yourself struck by a distracted or reckless motorist, knowing how to prove who is at fault in a car accident becomes paramount. In such cases, the car accident lawyers at Bowers Law, LLC can help you hold the at-fault driver responsible and fight for full compensation.

How Is Car Accident Liability Determined in Maryland?

Maryland is an at-fault state for car accident cases. What this means is that after a car crash, the driver’s insurance company on each side will investigate the case and make payments based on who is at fault. This means, at least in terms of the original car accident insurance claim, that the insurance company is the one who determines fault.

More often than they should, car accident claims end up proceeding to a lawsuit. This is because car insurance companies are not out to protect you; they are out to make money, and they do not make money by paying out significant claims. It then becomes necessary for a personal injury attorney to help prove fault in a car accident and have the courts determine who is at fault.

What is Maryland’s Contributory Negligence System?

Maryland is a contributory negligence state as opposed to a comparative negligence state. Only four states in the nation have this sort of law on the books. It means that when you are the victim of an auto accident, if you hold any responsibility at all for what happened, even 1%, you can be barred from collecting any compensation in your car accident case.

Because this system is so rigid, it becomes even more important to have an experienced, knowledgeable car accident attorney in your corner. The right personal injury lawyer knows how to collect evidence, build you a solid case, provide the legal advice and knowledge of the law you need, and hold the at-fault driver responsible with no doubt as to who is at fault. Proving the other driver’s negligence can get complicated, and our attorneys know how to fight for your right to compensation in a personal injury claim.

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in Maryland or D.C., contact our law firm for a free consultation and case evaluation today. Our phone number is 667-220-6500, or you can fill out our easy online contact form, and we will reach out to you.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Maryland?

Taking the right steps after a car crash is essential to avoid being blamed for the car accident. It can be very difficult to keep your wits about you, but staying calm and doing things right, step by step, can help your personal injury lawyer pursue your case and get you maximum compensation for your injuries.

Do Not Admit Fault

The first thing to remember is never to say sorry at the site. Anything you apologize for can be used by the other driver’s insurance company to put blame on you. It can make your case harder to pursue and harder to prove. If you do say you are sorry, be sure to let your attorney know right away so we can plan accordingly.

Call First Responders

Call 911 right away. Calling first responders accomplishes several things. First, it enables you and all others involved in the incident to get medical attention. Even if you do not feel hurt, getting seen by first responders can make a big difference. Some injuries can take weeks to display symptoms. In addition, it demonstrates that you are taking the accident seriously.

Take Pictures of the Damage and Gather Evidence

Take pictures of the accident scene from every angle you can, from close up and far away. Gather other evidence as well. Draw diagrams of what happened and make notes. Exchange contact information and insurance policy information with the other driver and get the phone number and contact information of any bystander witnesses to the accident if you can. The more evidence you can gather at the scene of the accident, the better off you will be as your injury case moves forward.

File a Police Report

Calling first responders also enables you to file a police report with the police officer at the scene. While you cannot use this accident report cannot as evidence in court, it can be a vital tool and a touchstone to reference as time forward and you need to recall details. Your car accident lawyer will also use a copy of the police report to help build your case.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

As soon as you get home from the scene, call a personal injury lawyer at Bowers Law, LLC. This could be the most important call you make. Your car accident lawyer can start building a case right away and be the ally you need while you struggle to get well again. They can even take over conversations with your insurance adjuster while you focus on getting better again.

Go to Your Insurance Company

The final thing to do is report your accident to your insurance company. Many insurance policies require you to do this to maintain your coverage. You do not, however, have to defend yourself at this time or tell your side of the story. Simply report the facts of what happened to get the process started. Do not volunteer more information than is asked. After this happens, when the insurance company contacts you again, you can refer them to your lawyer, who can handle communications thereafter.

Why Is Proving Fault Important After a Maryland Car Accident?

Proving negligence is the core factor in any personal injury case, including your car accident case. Because Maryland is an at-fault state, the insurance company for the driver who is at fault for the accident is responsible for covering the repairs. To prove negligence, however, your lawyers must establish several factors.

First, it must be shown that the other driver violated a duty of care. This duty of care is one that every driver on the road carries. Motorists are responsible for operating their vehicles in a safe manner, obeying all traffic laws, and not putting others in danger. Part of negligence is demonstrating that the other driver acted in a manner that was irresponsible in such a way that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would not act the same way. This is sometimes called the reasonable person standard.

Next, we must be able to show that the other driver’s actions led to the accident in some way. In this case, they do not need to have directly caused the accident. They could be the proximate cause of the accident. If they do something that causes you to have an accident with someone else, or to crash into an object, for example, this is a proximate cause of the accident.

Finally, we must demonstrate that your injuries were directly caused by the accident. It is important to clearly show all of these factors because of Maryland’s contributory negligence laws. Meanwhile, the insurance company and attorneys on the other side will attempt to demonstrate that you hold some responsibility, no matter how small.

What Evidence is Used to Prove Fault in a Maryland Car Accident Case?

Jobeth Bowers

Written By Jobeth Bowers

Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law

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