If you are a driver in the state of Maryland, you may have questions best answered by an auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD drivers turn to for reliable, helpful advice. Unfortunately, car accidents often involve multiple parties, which can make it difficult to determine who is at fault and how much you are entitled to recover for your injuries. A reliable auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD residents can count on would thoroughly examine the facts of your case and help determine the best course of action.
So how exactly is legal responsibility determined? It is no surprise that an auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD residents rely on can help them navigate Maryland’s state laws. Maryland follows a “fault” system to determine who is legally to blame for the accident. In most cases, car accidents are treated as negligence cases. Whenever someone operates a vehicle, they are responsible for maintaining a standard of safety to ensure they do not harm themselves or others. If a driver fails to uphold this standard and is subsequently involved in an automobile accident, they are considered to be negligent. Examples of plaintiff conduct that may be considered negligent include:
- Driving too fast
- Unsafely changing lanes
- Failing to watch for crossing pedestrians
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving a car with a defect (i.e. broken brake lights)
- Making an illegal turn
In Maryland, there is presumed liability for rear-end collisions. This means that if there is a stationary vehicle that has been hit from behind by another vehicle, the moving vehicle is presumed to be at-fault for the accident. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, so it is crucial to consult an auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD drivers trust to analyze these cases.
States have different systems to handle instances of comparative fault, a situation in which more than one party is at fault for an accident. Maryland is one of five states that follows the fairly harsh doctrine of “contributory negligence,” which is why it is imperative to turn to an auto accident lawyer in Gaithersburg MD who is familiar with this strict state standard. Under the contributory negligence rule, someone is completely barred from recovery if they contributed to the accident in any way. In other words, the defendant must be 100% responsible for the accident in order for the plaintiff to recover anything.
An experienced auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD has to offer would emphasize the importance of preserving evidence. The first few days after an automobile accident are often the most important time for a victim to find evidence and document their injuries. A responsible Gaithersburg MD auto accident lawyer will likely recommend that victims take the following steps as soon as possible after their accident:
- Return to the scene. If you are able to return to the scene of the accident, be sure to locate any remaining evidence and photograph any conditions that may have contributed to the accident. At the time of the accident, it is often hard to remain calm and focus on your surroundings, so it is important to return to the scene to identify things may have overlooked.
- Protect physical evidence. Try to preserve any physical evidence exactly how it was at the accident, or take photographs if you are unable to preserve the actual object. Physical evidence that can be seen and touched is of great value in proving your claim. It is much harder for a defendant to deny damage that occurred if that damage is evident right before their eyes. Physical evidence can also help show the extent of the damage. For example, damage to the car or torn and bloody clothing may help demonstrate the severity of the injuries.
- Locate witnesses. Witnesses who can confirm your story are of great value to your case. Witnesses may have seen things you were unaware of that could further prove the other driver is at fault. Even if there was not a witness directly at the scene of the accident, check surrounding storefronts or restaurants for witnesses you may not have seen. Locate these witnesses as fast as possible, as memory fades quickly and testimonials can become unreliable.
- Document your injuries. It is important to report your physical injuries to a healthcare professional and to photograph any visible marks, cuts or bruises. Visible injuries eventually heal, so take photos immediately following the accident when they are most severe. Seek medical attention because failing to do so may make your injuries seem less serious.
After fault has been proven, an auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD drivers count on can help demonstrate the proof of each and every damage they claim. “Damage” refers to the results of the other driver’s carelessness. Damages in Maryland automobile accident law can be broken down into two main categories:
- Property damage. Property damage refers to the damage that is done to your vehicle. The at-fault driver is required to pay for the vehicle repairs necessary to return the car to its pre-accident state. A vehicle is a “total loss” if the costs of repair exceed the total worth of the car. In this case, the at-fault driver must pay the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. The at-fault driver is also required to provide the victim with a rental car while their vehicle is repaired or until they are paid the actual cash value in the case of a totaled vehicle.
- Personal injury damage. Personal or bodily injuries include both economic and noneconomic losses. Examples of economic losses include medical bills incurred from the treatment of injuries caused by the accident or loss of income from time spent away from work due to hospitalization. Examples of non-economic losses include emotional distress or damage to ones marital relationship.
Contact Us Today
If you are searching for an auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD residents deserve, look no further. Car accidents are a painful and stressful experience, and victims should not face any resulting legal battle alone. For more information or any questions you may have, please contact our Maryland office at (202) 955-4529. If you or your loved ones have been involved in a car accident, turn to Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for a top auto accident lawyer Gaithersburg MD drivers can rely on.