Is Maryland a “no-fault” auto accident state or an “at-fault” state? What are the differences between no-fault auto insurance and at-fault insurance? And if you are injured in a traffic accident, when should you contact a Germantown personal injury attorney?
What automobile insurance is a motorist required to have in Maryland? What are your rights if you are injured because a motorist was negligent? What steps can you take to recover compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and related damages?
If you’ll continue reading this brief discussion about automobile insurance, you will find the answers you may need about your rights – if you’ve been injured by a driver’s negligence – and the law in Maryland.
What Insurance Is Required for Drivers in Maryland?
Maryland is an at-fault car insurance state. This means when drivers are at-fault, they are liable for injuries to others, and an at-fault driver’s car insurance company may make a payout on a victim’s personal injury claim.
The required minimum auto insurance coverage in Maryland is:
- $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury or the death of one person in a collision when the owner/driver of the insured vehicle is at-fault
- $60,000 of coverage for bodily injury to more than one person or multiple fatalities in a collision when the owner/driver of the insured vehicle is at-fault
- -$15,000 of property damage coverage for any accident when the owner/driver of the insured vehicle is at-fault
Maryland law also requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage to cover at least $30,000 in damages for one person with a limit of $60,000 per accident.
Should You Carry More Auto Insurance Coverage?
Liability coverage reimburses the medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and related losses of anyone who is injured by or suffers property damage caused by the policyholder, up to the coverage limits. Uninsured motorist coverage also protects you up to the coverage limits.
It’s smart to purchase more coverage in case a devastating accident results in catastrophic injuries. If you’re at-fault, you will be personally accountable for any amount that exceeds your coverage limit, so additional coverage can protect savings and assets after a serious accident.
Liability coverage also applies if you have given a family member or anyone else permission to drive your vehicle or if you’re involved in an accident while you’re driving a rental vehicle.
How Does At-Fault Auto Insurance Work?
In no-fault auto insurance states, your own car insurance automatically reimburses you for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and related damages after a vehicle accident – without regard to which driver may have been at-fault.
You do not have automatic coverage in at-fault states like Maryland. If you’re injured by a negligent motorist, and if you need to recover compensation, you and your Germantown car accident lawyer may have to prove the other motorist was negligent and at-fault.
What Is Pure Contributory Negligence?
Maryland is among the few states that use the pure contributory negligence principle for assigning traffic accident liability. Under pure contributory negligence, injury victims who are even one percent at-fault for their own injuries are not entitled to compensation – not one cent.
That will not be a problem for most of the injured victims of negligence after most accidents because a single driver is usually one hundred percent at fault, especially in “t-bone,” rear-end, and head-on accidents.
How Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
If you are injured by a negligent driver in the Germantown area, or if it’s not clear which motorist should be held liable, have a Germantown personal injury attorney help you recover your compensation through the legal process with a personal injury claim.
That attorney will investigate precisely how the crash occurred, identify the at-fault party or parties, and negotiate for a fair and reasonable settlement. As mentioned previously, victims of negligence are entitled by law to compensation for their medical expenses and related damages.
Will Your Case Go to Trial?
Most injury claims in Maryland are settled out-of-court, but if your claim is disputed or if private negotiations go nowhere, your lawyer will take your claim to trial, explain how you were injured and how badly, and ask the jury to order the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay you.
What can you receive with a jury verdict or a negotiated settlement? There’s no single answer. Every case is unique, and compensation payments are based on the severity and extent of the victim’s injuries, losses, and damages.
How Will Your Attorney Prove the Other Driver Was At-Fault?
Because Maryland is an at-fault auto insurance state, if you pursue a personal injury claim, the burden is on you and your attorney to prove that you were not in any way at-fault – and the other motorist was entirely at-fault – for the collision and your personal injury or injuries.
The written accident report prepared by the police can be important evidence, and an officer who investigated the accident could be asked at a personal injury trial to testify regarding which driver was at-fault.
Eyewitness statements, photos and video, and other evidence may also indicate which driver was at-fault. If police officers found open alcohol containers in one driver’s vehicle, for instance, that could be regarded as conclusive proof of fault in a personal injury trial.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
The statute of limitations – the deadline for filing personal injury claims arising from traffic crashes in Maryland – is three years from the date of the injury. If that deadline has passed, there are several limited exceptions to the statute, so an attorney still may be able to help you.
However, an injured victim of negligence shouldn’t wait to consult an accident lawyer. Make the call once you’ve been examined and/or treated by a medical provider. Your lawyer needs to see the evidence while it’s fresh and question the witnesses before their memories fade.
Can You Afford a Lawyer If You’re Injured and Can’t Work?
Your first legal consultation with a Germantown car accident lawyer is offered without cost or obligation. You’ll find out how Maryland law applies in your own case, and you’ll receive sound legal advice about your rights and options.
If you move forward with legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee unless and until your attorney acquires your compensation with a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, and if you and your attorney can prove it, you will recover compensation. Immediately after you’ve been examined and/or treated, exercise your rights, and schedule a consultation with a Maryland personal injury attorney.