One of the most common cases experienced car accident lawyers handle involves a crash in which one car is rear-ended by another. First, in almost every case (though not all), when one driver crashes into the back of the car in front of them, they are at-fault in the accident.
Can I collect money if I am the victim of a Maryland rear-end car accident?
In any personal injury case, the first issue is determining who is at fault. In Maryland, when you drive a vehicle on a public road, you are obligated to follow all traffic regulations. If one driver tailgates another driver, this is a violation of MD Transp Code §21-310, Following too closely.
Pursuant to this section, a driver is not allowed to follow another vehicle in a manner that is closer than reasonable and necessary under the current road and weather conditions. While there is no set distance in the statute, it basically means that there must be enough distance for the following driver to safely stop if the front car slows down or stops. On a clear day this might be a closer distance that on an icy winter day, but we are all generally aware of the distance we must maintain from another vehicle.
If one car rear-ends another driver, they are likely going to be at fault in the accident. Once it is determined that the other driver is at-fault, the next issue is to determine how much the at-fault driver’s insurance company should pay to compensate the victim. While this amount will differ in every case, and you should talk to a Prince George’s county car accident lawyer about the facts of your particular case, one of the most important things to do is make sure everything is documented.
The first thing you should do is to call the police. It is an established policy in Maryland that if both vehicles are drivable and there is no personal injury, the police will not typically come to the scene, it is still important to call 911 and report the accident. This can protect you from being charged with a crime and it will also document that the accident occurred.
The next thing to do is seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling any discomfort or are otherwise injured. If the police offer to send an ambulance, it is often best to take them up on the offer so you are not listed as “having refused medical attention.” Since you are probably reading this blog after the accident, there is a chance that you may have already refused medical attention. This is not necessarily detrimental to your case, but you should still see a doctor as quickly as possible as this will do two things. It will make sure that you are properly assessed by trained medical professionals and it will prevent the at-fault driver’s insurance company from claiming there is was a delay in treatment.
What is a delay in treatment and why is this bad?
In a Maryland car accident case, a delay in treatment occurs when a car accident victim waits too long to seek treatment. In some cases, there is a legitimate reason for the delay such as when an injury is not apparent at the time of the crash, but in other cases, the insurance company will argue that there were no injuries as a result of the crash and you only sought treatment to help win your car accident lawsuit. While your car accident attorney can fight back against these claims of a delay in treatment, it is best to avoid this situation by seeking prompt medical attention.
You also want to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible because the at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to contact you as soon as possible to get you to settle the case for much less compensation than you deserve. They often call you when you are still in the hospital and offer to pay your emergency room bills. While this may sound like a good offer, it is not. This is because you will typically have to sign a general release and waiver of all claims in order to get your ER bills paid and that means this is the only compensation you will receive even if you end up with many more medical bills in the future.
The insurance company may also try to get you to make what is known as a recorded statement. This is when the insurance company asks you what happened and makes a recording of what you say for the purpose of using it against you later if possible. While telling the truth might not sound like a problem, you may be in a state of shock and not able to accurately describe what happened. This is one of the things the insurance company wants as they will typically use it undervalue your claim. They also train their adjusters to ask questions that are far more beneficial to their financial interests than making sure you receive an appropriate compensation following your Upper Marlboro car crash.
This is not to say that everyone who works for a car insurance company is evil, but insurance companies in the United States collect trillions of dollars in premiums each year and want to make as much money as possible. They do this by paying out as little in claims in possible. This is the case with health insurance companies as well as car insurance companies.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Maryland or Washington, DC that was not your fault, contact the Gross Law Firm, LLC for a free and confidential consultation by calling (301) 388-5434 or online and remember there is no fee unless you collect.