Determining Fault in a Maryland Car Accident

Written by Jobeth Bowers. Posted in .

Key Takeaways:

  • Maryland is an at-fault state.
  • A car accident attorney can help protect your rights.
  • Victims make claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • PIP insurance can cover damages if the at-fault party is uninsured.

Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are home to several top museums and universities and a wealth of one-of-a-kind historical attractions. Unfortunately, they are also notorious for their traffic levels, ranking ninth and fifth among the top 10 most congested cities in the United States.

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. The car accident lawyers at Bowers Law can help you hold the at-fault driver responsible and fight for full compensation.

Breaking Down a Car Accident Claim In Maryland

Car accident claims are fairly straightforward, but it is important to understand the different aspects of a claim.

Understanding Liability in Maryland

The person or entity liable for an auto accident in Maryland is the one whose negligence or carelessness led to the accident. This can come in many forms, but generally, any behavior leading to an accident qualifies. Some examples of behaviors that might make one liable include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Driving erratically, especially during inclement weather conditions
  • Distracted driving like texting, eating, using dashboard controls, etc.
  • Tailgating
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Failure to signal when changing lanes
  • Changing lanes when it is unsafe to do so
  • Turning illegally or when it is unsafe to do so
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Both economic and non-economic damages can be claimed in personal injury lawsuits. Economic damages are easily quantifiable financial losses resulting from the accident, while non-economic damages are more abstract and difficult to assign an exact dollar amount. Here are a few examples of both.

Economic Damages

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages

  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

How is Car Accident Liability Determined in Maryland?

Maryland is an at-fault state for car accident cases.

  • All insurance companies involved investigate the crash.
  • Insurance companies determine fault after their investigation.
  • The at-fault party is the one responsible for damages.

More often than they should, car accident claims result in 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 contributory negligence laws are so rigid, having an experienced, knowledgeable car accident attorney in your corner becomes even more important. Your personal injury lawyer can:

  • Collect evidence
  • Build a strong case for you
  • Provide legal advice
  • Hold the at-fault driver responsible

Proving the other driver’s negligence can get complicated, and our attorneys know how to fight for your right to compensation as an accident victim in a personal injury claim.

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in Maryland, 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?

A woman calling emergency services after a car accident

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 the 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.

  • Enables you and others to get medical attention
  • Establishes a medical record for you
  • Catches injuries early when they do not display symptoms
  • Demonstrates that you are taking your injuries 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 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 progresses.

Here are a few things you will want to get photos of:

  • Your own injuries
  • Damage to the car
  • Skid marks
  • Potholes
  • Road signs
  • The positioning of the vehicles after the accident

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 as evidence in court, it can be a vital tool and a touchstone to reference as time passes 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.
  • Begin building your case with their help.
  • Let your lawyer handle conversations with insurance adjusters.

Go to Your Insurance Company

The final thing to do is report your accident to your insurance company.

If you hire Bowers Law, there is no need to communicate with your insurance company — we handle that for you at no additional cost.

Do

  • Report your accident
  • Give an honest account of what happened
  • Refer them to your lawyer for future inquiries

Do Not

  • Apologize or take responsibility
  • Volunteer more information than they ask for
  • Defend your actions

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 damages. To prove negligence, however, your lawyers must establish several factors.

  • The other driver had a duty of care.
  • They violated that duty of care.
  • That violation led to the accident.
  • The accident caused your injuries.

Different Types of Fault in Maryland

There are three types of fault in Maryland.

Unclear Fault

  • It is difficult to assign fault.
  • No clear responsible party is apparent.

Partial Fault

  • Fault can be attributed to multiple parties involved.
  • Injury victims are often responsible for the crash to a small degree.

Full Fault

  • Fault is clearly attributed to a singular party.
  • Injury victims are best positioned to recover compensation with this type of fault.

Why Car Accident Clients Partner With Bowers Law

A lawyer reviewing paperwork

At Bowers Law, we understand that every case is different. That is why we offer custom solutions for our clients all while maintaining a communicative attorney-client relationship that puts your needs first. Take a look at what some of our previous clients had to say about our services.

Testimonials

“Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness. This has to be the best injury firm on the eastern shore. They have an incredible texting system where you get almost immediate responses. I would never go anywhere else!” — Gina P.

“The man. Nothing to say except that. Not only handled my accident claim, but helped me change my car insurance so I can get paid better if I get in another accident. 10/10!” — Canada J.

“Kind, patient, thinks outside the box, and ready to take on any case. They know life happens and you shouldn’t have to suffer as a result. There’s no one better to have on your side in court.” — Charlotte F.

Frequently Asked Questions about Determining Fault in Maryland Car Accidents

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Maryland?

The statute of limitations for car accident claims in Maryland is three years from the date of the accident in most cases. Notification requirements for certain entities and government agencies tend to be much shorter, with some as short as 180 days. It can often be unclear the relationship someone has with a government agency, so it is important not to delay in having these notice requirements met in all cases.

Will I Get a Rental Car While Mine is in the Repair Shop?

Whether or not you can get a rental car while yours gets repaired depends on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If their policy does not offer you a rental car, you may have to pay for one out of pocket and bill the insurance company for it later. Of course, your own insurance company could cover the cost if your policy includes it.

I Don’t Have a Liability Claim. Can I Still Recover Damages for My Injuries?

You may be able to recover damages for your injuries even if you do not have a liability claim. You must file a claim with your insurance company through your personal injury protection policy. This policy covers damages regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

Whose Insurance Company Pays for My Medical Bills?

Most of the time, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for your medical bills. Alternatively, it could be your own insurance company through personal injury protection coverage or uninsured/underinsured driver coverage.

Can I File a Claim Without Insurance?

Yes, you can file a claim without insurance. If you are not at fault for the accident, then it only matters that the other driver has insurance.

The At-Fault Driver Has No Insurance. Now What?

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you can pursue compensation through your own insurance’s uninsured/underinsured driver coverage. If you do not have that kind of coverage, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party directly, but it is unlikely that they will have enough money to cover the compensation you are owed.

What Are the Minimum Insurance Requirements in Maryland?

The minimum insurance requirements in Maryland are as follows.

  • $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $60,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $15,000 in property damage liability coverage

Determining Fault in a Maryland Car Accident is Complex. Get the Protection You Need at Bowers Law.

In the aftermath of a Maryland car accident, all you want to do is focus on getting better. With help from Bowers Law, you can prioritize your recovery while we take care of your legal issues. Call or text us at 667-220-6500 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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

Schedule a Free Consultation with Jobeth Bowers

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