120 E Baltimore Street, Suite 1802, Baltimore, MD 21202 | (410) 346-3983
Our Baltimore Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Pursue Justice
We all know Baltimore has a lot to offer, from the delectable eats of Little Italy to shopping in Hampden to the legacy of historical sites like Fort McHenry. However, these attractions also generate a lot of local and tourist traffic, making Baltimore a major hub for car accidents.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) recorded more than 20,000 crashes in Baltimore County for 2021, which led to roughly 4,400 injuries and 75 deaths. While most people are aware of the dangers posed by high-volume corridors like the Jones Fall Expressway (I-83 South) and I-95, they sometimes overlook other dangerous areas, like the intersection of Gwynns Falls Parkway and Reisterstown Road.
Car accidents can be life-altering events, and dealing with the aftermath is hard when you’re also handling medical expenses, property damage, and a complicated insurance claims process. The experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have helped our community members navigate this process and pursue the justice they deserve for more than six decades. When you need a car accident lawyer in Baltimore, MD who will give your case personalized, diligent attention, call us at (410) 346-3983 or schedule a free case review online.
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What Should I Do Immediately After a Baltimore Car Accident?
The first thing you should do after an accident is to make sure that you, your passengers, and the other driver(s) are safe. The next step is ensuring that you do not compromise your case in any way, even if you do not initially plan on taking the issue to your insurance company or to court. The unfortunate truth is that the at-fault driver could falsely claim that you were responsible for the accident and take legal action against you. Here are some important actions to take after your accident:
- Call 911: Emergency personnel can help ensure the safety of everyone involved in the crash. Furthermore, it’s important to obtain a police report for your records. When talking with police, you should be cooperative without admitting fault.
- Collect evidence and documentation: Good examples of evidence include photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved and their license plates, contact and insurance information for the other parties involved in the accident, and eyewitness statements and contact information.
- Seek medical attention ASAP: If you cannot move after an accident, wait for the authorities to arrive so you do not harm yourself further. Even if you can move and feel fine immediately after an accident, you need to be examined by a qualified medical professional ASAP. Many injuries may not be noticeable for several weeks or even months.
- Contact a Baltimore car accident lawyer: Even if you do not ultimately pursue legal action, it’s helpful to have an experienced auto accident lawyer in Baltimore review your case and examine your options. The Baltimore car accident attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel specialize in this field and have a deep understanding of the relevant laws – request your free case review today.
What if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
While Baltimore drivers might assume they are out of luck if the other driver is uninsured, the state of Maryland provides some avenues to pursue compensation. Maryland law requires that all drivers hold uninsured motorist coverage (UM insurance) or enhanced underinsured motorist coverage (EUIM insurance) that covers at least $30,000 in damages per person injured, with a cap of $60,000 per accident. Assuming your own insurance policy is up to date and valid, that will likely be the best way to recover damages.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s important to follow all the steps we recommended in the previous section. Beyond that, don’t accept any cash offers from the other driver, as that can be interpreted as a settlement in certain circumstances.
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What Happens if You Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
Not carrying car insurance in Baltimore, Maryland can have significant consequences in accordance with state laws. In Maryland, drivers must maintain valid auto insurance coverage. Failure to do so can result in serious penalties and legal repercussions. If a driver is involved in a car accident and doesn’t have insurance, they may face various consequences.
Maryland operates under a fault-based system, meaning that the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the damages resulting from the accident. If an uninsured driver is found to be at fault, they may be personally liable for all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, property damage, and legal fees.
In addition, driving without insurance in Maryland is considered a misdemeanor offense, and the driver may face fines, license suspension, and even potential imprisonment. Therefore, not carrying car insurance in Baltimore, Maryland can have severe legal and financial ramifications in the event of an accident.
Why Hire a Baltimore Car Accident Attorney?
The process for pursuing compensation after a car accident is particularly challenging in Baltimore, because Maryland is a contributory negligence state. That means you can only receive damages from another driver if you can prove they are 100% at fault for the accident – if you share even 1% of the blame, you are typically out of luck. When you work with a local lawyer, there’s a much better chance that they will know the ins-and-outs of the very specific state laws that apply to your case.
A qualified Baltimore car accident lawyer will work hard to prove the other driver was negligent. The right lawyer will also help you negotiate the claims process, avoid lowball settlements, and fight to receive the damages you are owed. If you would like an expert car accident lawyer in Baltimore to review your case for free, contact Ashcraft & Gerel today.
When Should I Contact a Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer?
We recommend you contact a car accident lawyer in Baltimore as soon as possible if you’ve been injured in a car accident – even if you’re unsure about pursuing legal action. A good lawyer will help you understand your legal options while simultaneously protecting you from any false allegations by the at-fault driver (or other attempts to take advantage of you).
Insurance companies will also be acting fast and looking for opportunities to trip you up, confuse the narrative, and otherwise deflect responsibility. Our Baltimore car accident lawyers can get ahead of those tactics, expedite the claims process, and help fight for the maximum amount of compensation you may be owed.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Baltimore Car Accident?
A statute of limitations is simply a deadline set by the state that limits how long you have to take legal action after a car accident. There are many factors and circumstances that can change this time period. It may be shorter than the general rule in some cases (and longer in other circumstances). We recommend that you consult a Baltimore car accident attorney to better understand your specific timeframe to take action.
Who is Liable for my Injuries in a Baltimore Car Accident?
Stated differently, this question boils down to “who is at fault for my accident?” This question matters a lot in Maryland due to the concept of contributory negligence in car accidents, which means you cannot seek compensation from another driver if you share even a small fraction of the fault.
All states require that drivers operate with a duty of care (defined as a reasonable degree of care and safety). Your Baltimore car accident attorney will need to show that the other driver violated this duty of care by acting negligently, and that violation caused the damages for which you are seeking compensation. Some examples of negligent behavior include:
- Making an illegal turn or other traffic maneuvers
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Running a red light
What Damages Can You Pursue After a Baltimore Car Accident?
The damages you are able to pursue after a car accident will largely depend on the nature of your accident and the impact it had on your life. Some examples include:
- Medical expenses: You may be able to recover expenses related to hospital bills, doctor appointments, physical therapy or mental health counseling, medication, and more.
- Lost wages: If you are unable to work – temporarily or even permanently – due to someone else’s negligence in a car accident, then you can typically claim this lost income as damages.
- Property damage: This category includes the cost of repairing or replacing your car and other valuable items that were damaged in the accident, like laptops.
- Pain and suffering: It can take a long time to recover from the physical and emotional trauma of a car accident, especially if it leaves you with permanent scarring, disfigurement, anxiety, chronic pain, or other painful conditions. You may be able to receive compensation for this pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium: This category of damages may apply if your spouse or partner dies as a result of your car accident.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Baltimore, MD?
Every car accident case is different, and Maryland state law does not mandate that a specific or average amount of settlement money must be paid out to an accident victim. Instead, the victim has the option to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover compensation for the full amount of damages that they have incurred as a result of the accident. The Baltimore car accident lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have earned more than $1 billion dollars for our clients.
On a national level, the 2021 average for an auto claim with bodily injury was $22,734, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The average property damage claim in an auto accident was $5,314. Generally, settlement amounts tend to grow larger in relation to suffering larger financial and property losses, more severe injuries, and extensive pain and suffering.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Baltimore Car Accident Case?
Like many legal questions, determining the average timeframe for a settlement is not a straightforward process. It depends on the specific facts of your case. Very straightforward claims can typically be resolved within six months, but more convoluted or complex scenarios could take a year (or several, especially if your case must go to trial). The process may take longer if it involves:
- Severe injuries
- Lengthy medical treatment
- Disputed liability
- A larger number of parties involved
- A low level of cooperation from other parties and their insurance companies
Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Baltimore?
In general, Maryland state law puts the responsibility of covering damages in a car accident, including medical bills, on the at-fault party and their insurance company. However, many hospitals will not wait for your case to settle before they send any outstanding bills to collections. For most people, it’s not ideal to pay out of pocket while you wait for a settlement. It’s often best to try and cover these expenses using your health insurance, or optional coverage policies like Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and MedPay insurance.
PIP coverage is no-fault coverage that can be applied to medical bills, up to 85 percent of your lost wages, and household services, regardless of who caused your accident. However, this coverage is optional in Maryland, and most auto policies only offer coverage between $2,500 and $5,000. This amount can go quickly when expensive healthcare procedures are involved.
Unlike PIP, MedPay solely covers deductibles and medical expenses that your health insurance plan or any other insurance plan fails to cover. However, the amount you receive from MedPay will be restricted to the coverage limit in either scenario.
What Causes Most Baltimore Car Accidents?
While there are many conditions and unexpected events that can lead to a car accident, Baltimore tends to follow national trends when it comes to the most common causes of car accidents. Those include:
- Distracted driving: When drivers are on their phones, fiddling with touchscreen car controls, or participating in any activity that takes their attention off the road, they pose a serious risk to other. MDOT reported more than 50,000 distracted driving crashes in 2021 alone! Those incidents led to nearly 15,000 injuries and more than 200 deaths.
- Speeding and aggressive driving: These behaviors reduce a driver’s reaction time in response to adverse traffic events or changing road conditions. In 2021, MDOT reported more than 11,000 crashes caused by speeding or aggressive driving, which led to nearly 3,500 injuries and 120 fatalities.
- Driving while intoxicated: Drugs and alcohol severely reduce drivers’ reaction times, physical coordination, and ability to process ever-changing road conditions and circumstances. Per MDOT, driving while intoxicated caused more than 6,500 car accidents in 2021 and led to roughly 2,000 injuries and 150 fatalities.
- Roadwork: Regular maintenance to address potholes and other issues makes highly congested roadways like I-95, the Jones Fall Expressway (I-83 South), and the Capital Beltway (I-495) even more dangerous due to road closures and lane switches that can surprise drivers. You can view active road closures on the MDOT website.
How Do I Get a Temporary Rental Car After an Accident?
One of the most stressful aspects of being in a car accident is trying to recover from injuries, get to work, or just generally live your life while your car is being repaired or replaced. The process for obtaining a rental car can vary depending on the nature of your car accident. In an ideal scenario, the other party will quickly admit fault, and you will be able to obtain a rental car that is paid for by their insurance (or reimbursed if you have already used your own funds to obtain a rental).
However, if liability is disputed, you may have to wait until the insurance company investigates the accident. While you can pay out of pocket and hope to be reimbursed after a favorable ruling, not everyone can afford to do so, and that approach can be risky if you cannot conclusively prove that liability rests with the other party.
If you feel like your claim investigation is dragging on without good reason, we recommend you contact a Baltimore car accident attorney at Ashcraft & Gerel. Often, the best way to light a fire under an insurance company is to let them know you have a qualified and diligent lawyer in your corner.
What if I’m in an Accident in a Rental Car?
Driving in an unfamiliar car can make it harder to react appropriately to road conditions and traffic events, so it’s no surprise that rental car accidents happen. You are responsible for anything that happens to your rental car when it’s in your possession. However, there are usually several ways that you can insure your rental, and the claims process for rentals is very similar to the typical claims process for a non-rental car accident.
Your regular auto insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance may cover the damages. Also, most rental companies (and even some credit cards) offer different levels of coverage that you can purchase during the initial rental process. It’s a good idea to fully understand what type of coverage you have before driving a rental car.
Depending on the type of rental insurance purchased and the specific details of your crash, damages may be covered by the other driver’s insurance company, your rental company’s insurance provider, or your own insurance.
What Is UM/EUIM Insurance?
Maryland law requires that all drivers hold uninsured motorist coverage (UM insurance) or enhanced underinsured motorist coverage (EUIM insurance) that covers at least $30,000 in damages per person injured, with a cap of $60,000 per accident. This coverage is intended to help cover any losses caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance (or doesn’t have enough coverage for the damages in your accident). Some relevant examples would include a hit-and-run accident, an accident with a driver who let their policy lapse, or a driver who was simply risking it by operating without insurance.
Our Baltimore Car Accident Attorneys Are Ready To Serve Your Case
With compelling attractions and neighborhoods like the Inner Harbor, Fell’s point, and the Washington Monument at Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore is always going to draw a lot of tourists – and a lot of traffic. This fact increases the odds of being involved in a car accident. Maybe you have even experienced a close call while traveling down a busy roadway like Hollins Ferry Road or Washington Boulevard.
If you have been injured in a Baltimore car accident, we encourage you to reach out. At Ashcraft & Gerel, our Baltimore auto accident lawyers are ready to guide you through the complexities of your case. We understand how overwhelming a car accident can be. That’s why, for over 65 years, our firm has been representing plaintiffs in car accident cases in Baltimore, MD. We are confident that we can represent you effectively – call us at (410) 346-3983 or schedule a free case review online to get started.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle in Baltimore, MD
We’ve handled a lot of different car accident cases during our 65+ years serving the Baltimore area. Our specializations include:
- Car accidents that involve an injury
- Car accidents that don’t involve an injury
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Elderly driver cases
- Fatal car accidents
- Head-on collisions
- High-speed crashes
- Hit and runs
- Minor/small car accidents
- Passenger injury cases
- Pedestrian accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Rental car accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Road rage
- Rollover accidents
- Teen drivers
- Unsafe lane changes
- Victim of DUI cases
- Wrong way driving