Maryland Car Accident Attorneys Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions
What every driver needs to know—whether recently in an accident or not
People suddenly dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected car accident often find themselves being coerced into making important judgments and decisions based on limited information or knowledge, and within extremely narrow timeframes. At the law offices of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, Kudel & Gold, P.A., our Maryland car accident attorneys have more than 150 years of combined experience addressing the concerns of area residents seeking help after a car accident. Here are some of the most common questions and concerns our clients ask us after a car accident.
I’ve just had an accident. What should I do?
Immediately following any car crash, you should call the police. A police report is often necessary and useful evidence in proving another driver’s negligence, and should be obtained as soon as possible. In addition, you should immediately begin to record as much information relating to the accident as you can. Be sure to write down anything relevant, such as the road and weather conditions, the names, tag numbers, insurance information of everyone involved, and names, statements, and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Photographs can often provide invaluable, critical evidence as well.
It is also important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident. Even if you don’t think you have been seriously injured, certain serious injuries are not immediately apparent following a car accident, and a medical exam can both detect such injuries and provide important documentation of your medical condition.
Can I sue the other driver for causing the accident?
Every driver has a duty to not engage in unsafe driving behaviors. Such negligent behaviors include:
- Driving while distracted—eating, texting, using a GPS or talking on a cell phone while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while fatigued
- Speeding, tailgating, failing to stop, and other aggressive and reckless driving behaviors
Drivers causing accidents by such behaviors are liable for the injuries sustained in those accidents. At times, determining which driver caused an accident requires an investigation into various underlying factors and conditions. For example, in a rear-end collision, the driver in the back is generally presumed to have caused the accident by failing to keep a safe distance which allows them adequate time to brake. However, evidence showing that the driver in front was rear-ended after braking without warning, can result in that driver being liable as well.
What kind of damages can I seek to recover?
If you are injured as the result of another driver’s negligence, that driver can be held liable for any damages caused by the injury including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income
- Pain and suffering resulting from the injury
- Vehicle repair or replacement expenses
When a driver is found to have intentionally or willfully caused an accident through gross negligence, it is possible to collect punitive damages as well.
Can I seek damages when a loved one is killed in an accident?
Yes. A wrongful death action is similar to a personal injury action in that the same standard is used to determine the negligence of a defendant. However, in a wrongful death scenario,the plaintiff must show that they suffered a loss due to their emotional or financial dependence upon the deceased. Losses in a wrongful death action can include:
- Pain and suffering experienced by a loved one prior to their death
- Loss of the deceased’s income
- Loss of the deceased’s benefits, such as insurance or pension
- Loss of companionship, consortium or parental guidance
- Loss of services, such as child care or housekeeping provided by a parent or spouse.
- Medical and funeral expenses
Should I consult with an attorney?
If you are offered a settlement offer by an insurance company—even your own—or someone representing another driver, you are encouraged to consult with an experienced Maryland car accident attorney before signing anything. Early settlement offers are often intended to get an injured person to forgo or waive their rights while minimizing the other side‘s losses. Accurately calculating the full amount of damages following an automobile accident is a complicated task, and very often the amount offered in these agreements can fall far short of covering many future expenses relating to the injury. Our dedicated Maryland car accident attorneys aggressively negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, as well as proceed into litigation when necessary. But remember—you have only two years following an accident to seek damages, and the sooner we are able to get started on your case, the more evidence we can gather to help you.
What if I have more questions?
If you have been injured in an auto accident and have any more questions, or you are not sure about whether you may qualify for compensation for your injuries, call or contact the law firm of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, Kudel & Gold, P.A today at (800) 229-7026 or contact us online. We provide a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable Maryland car accident attorneys, and if you cannot travel to one of our five metropolitan Washington D.C. area offices, we can travel to meet with you in your home or at the hospital.