Negligence plays a part in insurance actions and Maryland is a “fault” state with a mandatory insurance requirement, and the negligent driver’s insurance will typically be responsible for paying repairs, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering for the driver who was not at fault. However, if a driver creates an unreasonable risk, they are barred from recovery in the State of Maryland. All Maryland drivers must carry insurance protection as follows:
$30,000 for bodily injury;
$60,000 for 2 or more people;
$15,000 property damage.
Proving driver fault.
When an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of a reasonable person, and it results in an injury, it is called “negligence.” In order to prove negligence in court, elements that must be present in your case should include:
- Duty – other driver owed you a duty of care;
- Breach of duty – other driver failed to meet duty of care;
- Cause in fact – you would not have been injured if other driver did not breach duty;
- Proximate cause – your injury was caused by the other driver’s failure to uphold duty of care; and
- Damages – you have injuries or have suffered some loss that a value can be assessed for.
- Check for injuries, and make sure all passengers and cars are safely out of harm’s way.
- If anyone at the scene has been injured, call for emergency services right away.
- Call the police because you will need a police report for the insurance companies to decide degrees of fault. When the police arrive, make note of their name and badge number.
- During the time it takes the police to get to the scene, you may gather your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, and take pictures of the scene and the vehicles, making sure to get a shot including the car license plate.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver if they are welcome to that idea. If there is a reason they are resistant or antagonist, just wait for the police officer to arrive to get that information from them.
- Listen to everyone at the scene, but do not say anything regarding what you think happened or how the accident occurred. Do not admit fault.
- Keep a journal regarding the accident, the damages to the vehicles, and the injuries sustained. Make specific entries regarding how the injury is affecting your daily routine and frequency of medical visits with costs.
- Visit a doctor immediately after the accident just to make certain there is nothing wrong with you due to the accident. You can file a PIP claim for medical bills and a percentage of lost wages.
- Keep records of all doctor visits, treatment plans and adherence to those plans. Follow doctor instructions and do not wait to see medical treatment as it could hurt your
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible after you and your vehicle have been secured.
- DO NOT SPEAK with another insurance company.
Seek legal counsel.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Murnane & ONeill, to review the case and determine actions based on insurance coverages, fault and necessary compensation.