There are times when it is easier to determine who is at fault for a car accident than others. Perhaps you were hit by a speeding or drunk driver, or by a driver who ran through a stop sign because he or she was texting. In cases like these, a police report may back up your claim that the other driver caused the accident.
Sometimes, however, determining fault is not that easy. When the other driver or negligent party is claiming you hit them, the single best thing you can do is hire a Maryland car accident lawyer. This is because attorneys like us understand the importance of establishing fault quickly and definitively, and have the skills and resources to help you do so.
What is “fault” in a Maryland car accident?
The methodology for determining fault rests on the following points when constructing a personal injury claim grounded in negligence:
- Duty of care: Every time someone drives, they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others on the road, including pedestrians and fellow drivers. This duty of care is a standard in car accident cases, as drivers are expected to act with reasonable care.
- Breached duty of care: Establishing the defendant’s breach of duty is crucial. This is typically demonstrated by showing a breach from traffic rules or unsafe driving through reckless actions. Such a breach is commonly considered negligence and is pivotal in the case.
- Injury: Negligence claims require a tangible physical injury from the incident. This, as you will read later, is why you need to get documented medical attention to validate any injuries that you suffered from the accident.
- Causation: The plaintiff must demonstrate that their injuries resulted directly from the car accident, or an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. This element can be contentious, especially in cases involving back and neck injuries, further bolstering the need to get prompt medical attention after your accident to document your injuries.
Each element plays a distinct role in building a negligence case, with breach and causation often being the central issues. The presence of all four elements strengthens the foundation for seeking compensation in personal injury cases.
Why is it difficult in Maryland to get the compensation I deserve?
Maryland is a challenging state because of its contributory negligence law. The concept of negligence is closely tied to fault. Scenarios can be as simple as neglecting to check your blind spot and colliding with another vehicle during a lane change. Negligence might involve distracted driving, such as using your phone or texting before rear-ending the car ahead. Legal considerations also encompass recklessness as a basis for assigning responsibility.
Maryland is one of the limited states employing the principle of contributory negligence. This means that even a minor degree of fault on your part in the accident leading to your injuries can lead to a court denying your claim for compensation.
What is contributory negligence?
Only four states use the contributory negligence law of attribution, which dictates that if a driver is even one percent responsible for an accident their claim could be denied. This poses especially challenging hurdles for car accident injury claims where both parties may share blame, or where the exact circumstances of the collision may be difficult to determine. Our experienced Maryland attorneys are well-acquainted with these challenges.
Should I try to explain my side to the insurance company?
No. We understand why you want to, or why you believe that your own insurance company will be “on your side,” but our experience has taught us that insurers always prioritize profits. When you hire us, all communication with the insurance company(ies) goes through us; you never have to speak to them at all. Even if this is the case, you do not have to speak to the insurance company without us present. Part of our role as your attorneys is to help you prepare for depositions and, if necessary, testifying at trial.
What if the police report implies I am to blame?
A police report can be a useful tool for proving the other driver is to blame, but sometimes the reports are wrong. If the report implies you share blame, or completely contradicts the truth of the event, tell us. Crash reports are not the only type of evidence we can use, and accident reconstructionists can help cast doubt on the events of the collision. Remember, too, that law enforcement typically relies on witness testimony about the event as well as a predetermined set of descriptors for their report. We can help show that what is in the report is not accurate.
Getting involved in a car accident can have immediate and lasting effects on your life. During this challenging period, having the assistance of a capable Maryland car accident injury lawyer can ease the legal side of your burden. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., our statewide team of attorneys are prepared to help you secure the fair compensation you deserve following your accident. With nine convenient offices across Maryland, at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., we are here to help. Call or complete our contact form to arrange a consultation.