How Does Car Accident Compensation Work in Maryland?
An Attorney Can Help You Get the Money You Deserve
No one expects to be involved a car accident. But what happens if you are? What should you do after an auto accident? What are your rights? And who will pay for your accident, especially if another driver caused your crash?
Every state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to car accidents, including Maryland, Virginia and the District. That's why it's critical that you have an experienced D.C. Metro area attorney who thoroughly understands how the legal system works in each state when it comes to car accidents.
The Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick has years of experience handling complicated car accident cases throughout Maryland, the District and Virginia. We know how the rules work and we have the case results to prove it. That's why we put together this guide explaining how the system works. That's why we want to meet with you.
Maryland, D.C. and Virginia all Follow "Contributory Negligence"
One would think that the driver who is most responsible for an accident should bear the burden of the loss. However, in Maryland and our neighbor states, if you were even slightly at fault, you cannot recover any compensation for your crash even if the other driver was much more to blame. This is the rule of contributory negligence, and it is harsh and even unfair. The same rule applies in the District and Virginia. Therefore, if the court or jury finds that that you are even one percent at fault, you cannot receive any financial compensation for your crash at all. It's all or nothing. Fewer than 10 states have held on to this rule.
Maryland's strict fault laws make it essential that you have an aggressive attorney on your side who will stand up for your rights and knows how to analyze. Attorney Plotnick previously worked as the lead attorney for insurance companies. He knows the games they play and he knows how to win.
What are my options for seeking compensation?
In Maryland, the at-fault driver's insurance will usually be the one to compensate you for damages. However, if you've been injured or suffered property damage, you have other options available to you:
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver - Insurance companiesmay give you a lowball offer, or drag out the claims process. An experienced attorney knows the system, and knows how to fight for your rights. You only have a limited amount of time to take legal action. Under Maryland law, you have 3 years to file a lawsuit. This deadline is known as the "statute of limitations." But just because you can wait 3 years does not mean you should not act immediately in order to preserve your claim. (The District also has a 3-year statute, while Virginia is 2 years.) However, the sooner you take legal action, the better. Keep in mind evidence disappears and memory fades over time, so you need to have a thorough investigation done right away while things are still fresh.
- File your own claim with your insurance company - Called a "first party claim," this option establishes a paper trail, which can work in your favor. You will file a claim with your insurance under your PIP or Med-Pay coverage of your own auto policy. Your own insurance will then work to reimburse some of your expenses, including medical bills and missed wages from work.
- File a claim with the other driver's insurance company - Called a "third party claim," this option puts the responsible party on notice that you will be seeking compensation from him/her The other driver caused your crash. Their insurance company should pay for it.
Insurance Requirements in Maryland
The minimum legal Maryland car insurance coverage is:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: $30,000 minimum per person / $60,000 minimum per accident.
- Property Damage Liability Coverage: $15,000 minimum.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: $30,000 minimum per person / $60,000 minimum per accident.
All drivers in Maryland must have car insurance. Failure to obtain auto insurance in the state can result in large fines, suspension of driver's license and other penalties.
In addition, drivers in Maryland must have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. This type of mandatory insurance can help you if your accident was caused by a driver that doesn't have insurance, or doesn't have enough insurance to cover damages.
What does my car insurance cover?
The minimum insurance requirement in Maryland covers some property damage and injury costs. However, an accident may result in more than the minimum policy amount, or other damages not covered by basic insurance. For your own safety, you should consider getting higher policy limits and additional insurance, including:
- Personal Injury Protection - Known as PIP, this insurance is not mandatory to Maryland, but unless you waive it, your insurance provides you with at least $2500.00 in coverage. It can be very helpful. If you have medical bills that need to be paid right away, you can use your PIP coverage, particularly if you don't have health insurance to pay; but keep in mind unless you acquire more, PIP coverage is generally only $2500.00 or $5000.00.
- Collision coverage - Another type of optional insurance, collision coverage can cover damages to your car in the event of an accident.
- Rental car coverage - If necessary, your policy might also provide you with money to pay for a rental car for a brief period while your car is repaired or you are looking for a replacement.
Your case is our case. Trust us.
For more than three decades, attorney Stuart Plotnick has been actively involved in the legal field involving car accidents in the D.C. Metro area. He knows how insurance companies work because he worked for and advised them for years on how to handle claims. For the past 20 years, he has used that knowledge and experience gained on the inside to beat them at their own game - and get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Remember, insurance companies don't work for you. They often only care about one thing - paying you as little as possible after your accident. That's why you need us in your corner, personally standing up for your rights. That's why you need Stuart Plotnick.
Put the power of a personal injury lawyer who knows the system and who puts your best interests first to work for you. Contact our law firm and schedule your free case evaluation. Best of all, you only pay us if we win your case. That's because we work on a contingency fee basis.