Car Accident Lawyers in Prince George’s County
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 Should I Do After a Car Accident in Prince George’s County?
A car accident can happen when you least expect it. Whether you are involved in a minor fender-bender or a serious car crash with life-changing injuries, it is important to know what to do following a car accident. The following steps can help guide you if you are involved in a Prince George’s County car accident:
- Call 911: It is crucial to call 911 regardless of the type of car accident or injuries. The police should also be called to the scene of the accident so that they can file an official report. Be sure to obtain all possible assistance and documentation from law enforcement for future insurance claims and possible legal proceedings.
- Get to safety: If you are able to move your car to the side of the road after the accident, you should do so immediately in order to prevent additional accidents. If you are unable to move your car, you should concentrate on getting yourself to a safe place off the road.
- Seek medical assistance: Get medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident since some serious injuries are not initially visible. It will also help preserve documentation of your physical injuries and the medical treatment received.
- Document an accurate report: Make sure to tell investigating officers the details what occurred as clear as you can. However, do not speculate if you are unsure of certain facts or if you are asked whether or not you are injured. Also, make sure that any statements given by other parties involved in the accident and eyewitnesses are correct.
- Take photos and videos: If you are able, take pictures of your physical injuries and damage to the vehicles involved at the scene. It is helpful to have photos of road conditions, skid marks, traffic lights and signs, and weather conditions.
- Exchange information: Getting other parties’ information is important. Do your best to obtain the names, phone numbers, and insurance information of all drivers, as well as any passengers, involved in the accident. In addition, try to get contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident so that your car accident lawyer can contact them if necessary.
- Report to your insurance company: Make sure you notify your auto insurance company as soon as possible after being involved in a car accident. It is also essential to understand all available coverage for your injuries and damages with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
- Contact a Prince George’s County car accident lawyer: This is one of the most important steps to take if you have been involved in a car accident. Your attorney will file claims against all liable parties while you focus on healing.
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 Prince George’s County 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.
What is Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP)?
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 Much Is My Prince George’s County Car Accident Claim Worth?
The average settlement for a Maryland car accident claim ranges between $10,000 and $400,000. Where your particular case falls in depends on the extent of medical treatment and expenses, property damage, and whether you have a claim for lost wages.
It is always wise to discuss your particular case with a car accident lawyer who knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and opposing legal counsel. An attorney can thoroughly review your case and take several things into consideration when determining the value of your claim.
The following are factors that play a part when calculating the amount of compensation you may receive:
- Severity of your physical injuries.
- Level of property damage.
- Insurance coverage available.
- Type of car accident.
- Liable parties.
- Degree of harm and loss.
It is never a good idea to try and settle a car accident lawsuit without legal guidance. Dealing with insurance companies and opposing attorneys without the help of a knowledgeable car accident lawyer is not only stressful and difficult, but it can also cost you the full and fair monetary award you need to cover your expenses and loss.
What Are the Most Dangerous Roads in Prince George’s County?
Prince George’s County is reported to be one of the deadliest counties in Maryland in terms of fatal car crashes. This is also true when it comes to pedestrian fatalities that result from car accidents.
The following roads are places where dangerous car crashes most commonly occur in Prince George’s County:
- Indian Head Highway (Route 210): Indian Head Highway, or Route 210, is one of the most dangerous highways in the entire state of Maryland, as well as one of the roads most frequently traveled. It is also the most common area in Prince George’s County for traffic violations related to speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence.
- MD 202 Landover Road: The heavily trafficked stretch of road between the Capital Beltway and U.S. 50, MD 202 Landover Rd. ranks in the top 50 locations for accidents involving pedestrians. It is also an area with a significant number of serious car crashes every year.
What Are the 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 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.
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.