Prince George’s County Car Accident Lawyers
With its dense population and drivers commuting in and around it, Prince George’s County has become responsible for most of the car accidents that occur in Maryland. With its proximity to Washington, D.C. and major highways such as the Capital Beltway, there are numerous locations where accidents occur. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact our Prince George’s County car accident lawyers today for a vigorous ally by your side.
Although there are reasons for people to drive through the area, the county itself boasts its own dense population, including Upper Marlboro, which is the county seat. Other locations throughout the county include Bowie, College Park, District Heights, Glenarden, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Laurel, Mount Rainier, New Carrollton, and Seat Pleasant, Maryland.
Even with the latest advances in safety technology, car accidents are still an unfortunate reality that can cause significant property damage and life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, a Prince George’s County car accident lawyer can help you after a serious collision.
What Are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Some common causes of car accidents in Prince George’s County and throughout the country are listed below.
Aggressive driving is more common than most people think. It is reported that 66 percent of all car accident fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Auto Vantage auto club.
If you encounter an aggressive driver, the best course of action is to focus on the road, keep both hands on the wheel, or pull over. If the aggressive driver will not go away, the local police department should be called for assistance.
Everyone seems to be busy these days, but speed limits are put in place for a reason, and they should be followed. For the sake of everyone on the road, drivers need to slow down and obey speed limits.
When you are exceeding the speed limit, it can be difficult to stop as quickly, meaning you cannot react to an emergency in front of you in time. Other cars may also not anticipate your speed and cut you off with minimal notice.
Distracted driving involves everything from a cellphone to a conversation with a passenger. Distracted drivers take their eyes off the road, but they often do not know how far they are traveling when they are not focusing on driving. Texting while driving is an especially dangerous form of distracted driving.
Drunk and Drugged Driving
More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-impaired driving accidents each year in the United States, according to the NHTSA. Drugs other than alcohol, legal and illegal, are involved in a significant percentage of motor vehicle crashes. The penalties for drunk and impaired driving are severe. No driver should ever get behind the wheel while impaired.
Drowsy drivers are trying to get home, to work, or to another destination without stopping. Many motorists would rather continue to drive than be late. Drowsy drivers should ask for a ride or use a rideshare service instead of trying to stay awake on the road.
Someone who is leaving the house early in the morning often feels tired because it is still dark. If possible, drivers should wait to leave until the sun is rising. If that is not possible, carpooling will put other people in the car who can drive if they are not feeling tired.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
A car accident injury should be treated by a medical professional. After any type of accident, you should be medically evaluated. Some common car accident injuries you should be aware of are listed below.
Head injuries can be closed or open. Someone with a concussion might not have any visible signs of an injury. Someone who has a headache or who has hit their head should go to the doctor or ask the ambulance to take them to the hospital.
A closed head injury can be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a host of chronic issues, such as short-term memory loss, headaches, anxiety, depression, and changes in personality.
Spinal Cord Damage
Spinal cord damage may lead to numbness, tingling, reduced motor control, and/or partial or total paralysis. Those injured in accidents cannot assume that the tingling or pain from the accident will go away. A doctor must diagnose spinal cord damage using imaging technology and prescribe a course of treatment.
Whiplash is a common injury, regardless of the speed of the crash. Those who have whiplash may not know that they have whiplash because they may not feel pain and tenderness in their neck or shoulders right away. Left unchecked, this condition can cause the person to miss work, lose sleep, and have difficulty leading a normal life.
Broken legs and arms are common in car accidents. When someone has a broken bone, they might see a bruise without realizing a bone is broken. Injured drivers should request medical care and speak to a car accident lawyer about how their extensive medical bills from the accident will be paid.
How Can Drivers Avoid Accidents in a College Town?
The University of Maryland employs approximately 17,000 people, and those people flow in and out of the campus for much of the year. The school educates around 40,000 students every year, and they make the small town of College Park one of the most populous cities in the state when school is in session.
College towns also bring young drivers who have little to no experience on the road. Although it can be difficult to avoid inexperienced drivers in the area, motorists should be aware of the vehicles that are around them. Motorists should steer clear of erratic drivers, aggressive drivers, or anyone exhibiting signs of road rage. It is important to leave a greater stopping distance and check carefully before turning or changing lanes.
How Can I Avoid an Accident While Driving on the Beltway?
Prince George’s County houses a 28-mile length of the Capital Beltway. Interstates and other highways run through the county, and traffic flows in and out of the area every day. Prince George’s County abuts Washington, D.C.
Because of the traffic conditions on these highways, drivers often get stuck on roads throughout the county as they attempt to get on a highway heading toward Washington, D.C. or Virginia. Drivers who are sitting in traffic should be slow to proceed because rear-end accidents occur often on congested roads.
If drivers are driving responsibly, they will obey all speed limits. The speed limits often change on busy roads as the roads enter and exit cities. Surface streets often have lower speed limits, and drivers should be watchful because they might encounter children on bicycles, pedestrians, and/or slow-moving traffic.
There are many reasons why traffic accidents are so frequent on this stretch of highway. A major one has to do with the sheer number of drivers that travel the road daily. With so much traffic, drivers must pay attention to the road, and many do not. They can get distracted with items in their car or the outside environment and they fail to see that the car in front of them has stopped.
Road conditions are another problem. They see a lot of wear and tear because of the amount of traffic. Potholes can be a common occurrence, and vehicles could sustain damage while driving over one. Keep a sharp eye out for potholes and avoid them if you can. If you cannot, reduce your speed before driving over one, and release your brakes just before you hit the pothole.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Although most insurance companies want to protect their financial interests by persuading injured drivers to settle their claims quickly and for less than they deserve, a car accident lawyer will aggressively fight to secure the maximum financial compensation the injured party deserves.
Oftentimes, insurance companies will urge them to make a statement or sign documents that can negatively affect a claim. Therefore, it is imperative that an injured driver speaks to an experienced car accident lawyer before making any official statement, either verbal or written. Once an agreement has been signed, the injured party may not be able to pursue additional damages.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A car accident lawyer will be able to walk you through your legal options in the wake of your car accident. They can help you decide how best to proceed and provide you with the advice that you need that will help you achieve the best possible outcome.
If your situation winds up in court, a lawyer knows how to properly build a case and prepare witnesses. They will have relationships with the judges or at least understand what the judge will be looking for and how to present evidence in the best light that will benefit your case.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Filing multiple claims after a car accident can become a complex legal quagmire. If you choose this route, you will need an experienced lawyer who knows the proper procedures for filing the necessary paperwork, in a timely fashion, in order to get you the maximum amount of compensation. After you have been in an accident, you should start thinking about hiring a lawyer as soon as possible.
Personal Injury Protection insurance, also known as PIP, is no-fault auto insurance coverage. In Maryland, PIP coverage provides immediate funds to cover lost wages and medical bills if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. The coverage is typically between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on the amount selected. PIP insurance is no-fault coverage, which means you are entitled to the benefits regardless of who caused the car accident. In addition to medical expenses, PIP insurance provides some death and disability benefits.
PIP starts paying your medical bills and 85 percent of your lost wages fairly quickly after your accident. These benefits cover your out-of-pocket losses from your accident regardless of who caused the crash. It compensates both innocent victims and the at-fault driver. It is important to keep in mind that PIP insurance will only reimburse you up to your policy’s limits, which could be lower than the total cost of your medical bills. In that case you would need to turn to your medical insurance, disability insurance or the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy, if you were not the cause of the accident. Your PIP insurance will also not provide reimbursement for your car repairs or for any damage you cause to another person’s property. It only covers medical expenses and lost wages. Therefore, you almost always have to file more than one type of claim after being in a car accident in Maryland.
In Maryland this no-fault coverage is very advantageous when you are injured in a car accident because it basically allows you to recover twice for your medical bills and lost wages. For example: you have $25,000 in medical bills and $25,000 in PIP coverage with one insurance company, as the result of the negligence of a driver with coverage under a different insurance company. Your PIP coverage will pay all of your medical bills. Yet you can still collect from the negligent driver for the same medical bills, and also for your pain and suffering. This double collection is allowed under the collateral source rule.
The negligent driver’s insurance company will likely assume you are not aware of this and may take advantage of that lack of understanding to pay you less if you are trying to handle your own claim without an attorney.
Maryland law does not require PIP coverage on auto policies, but insurance companies must offer this coverage when you purchase an auto insurance policy. If you decide not to buy it, you can reject it in writing by executing a waiver. The simple fact that you were not paying for no-fault coverage is not considered a waiver of the coverage. If the insurer indicates that your no-fault coverage was waived, it is important that you or your attorney requests a copy of the waiver.
It is also important to remember that Maryland law allows insurers to set a one-year statute of limitations as a strict deadline in which a PIP claim must be brought from the date of the accident. If you make your claim after 12 months, you may be ineligible for these benefits.
How Soon After My Car Accident Should I Get a Lawyer?
After you have been in an accident, you should start thinking about hiring a lawyer as soon as possible. It is unclear what path your situation will take after your accident. You may have an easy time obtaining your compensation from your insurance company, or you may have a difficult time, or you may even face a lawsuit from the other driver.
When you have a lawyer available to you, they can handle any unexpected circumstance that arises. Therefore, it is wise to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The sooner they are representing you, the more issues they will be able to handle.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was Not My Fault?
There is no telling what situations will arise as your case progresses. You may be facing a lawsuit from another driver who believes that you are responsible for the accident. You may also find that your car insurance denied your claim or has been reluctant to move forward.
When these situations arise, it is good to have a seasoned Prince George’s County car accident lawyer on your side who can immediately act and begin fighting for you. The longer you delay on hiring a lawyer, the more time they will require to get up to speed when they come on board.
It is important to note that Maryland applies “pure” contributory negligence when it comes to car accidents. In the state, you cannot legally recover compensation if you acted negligently and caused your accident and injury. Under this guideline, you cannot be at all responsible for your accident, even if you were only one percent at fault. For this reason, it is critical to speak to a lawyer following an accident. Contributory negligence is used only in a few states, and a lawyer will fully understand this complicated legal concept.
What Types of Compensation Are Available After a Car Accident?
Maryland uses different rules from most states when allowing injured drivers or passengers to sue for damages. It is important to remember that the plaintiff must prove that they did not cause the accident in any capacity. A person injured in an accident might be able to recover the following damages if they can prove their claim:
- Medical treatment: Injuries are compensable if they are documented. Injured parties cannot sue if they do not have proof of their accident and injuries.
- Lost wages: Lost earning potential can be requested due to the driver being out of work for their injuries.
Prince George’s County Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Those Injured in Serious Collisions
If you have been injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our Prince George’s County car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.