Suffering a personal injury due to a car accident can be a life-altering event, both physically and emotionally. In Maryland, victims have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and losses. However, determining the value of a personal injury claim can be a complex process influenced by various factors. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key aspects of valuing personal injury claims in Maryland, provide an overview of relevant laws, and offer valuable insights to help you understand your rights and seek fair compensation.
When valuing a personal injury claim, several factors come into play. Insurance adjusters and attorneys consider various aspects to assess the compensation you may be entitled to receive. These factors include:
It’s important to note that valuing non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, can be challenging as there is no standard chart or formula. Each case is unique, and the severity and impact of injuries vary from person to person. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to accurately assess the value of your case based on its specific circumstances.
In Maryland, all automobile liability insurance policies are required to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This coverage protects drivers and passengers if they are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver. The minimum UM coverage limits in Maryland are:
If the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate for the damages, UIM coverage can help bridge the gap up to the policy limits. It’s important to note that UM/UIM claims are subject to the same deadlines and procedural requirements as other auto accident claims, including the three-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
However, because pursuing a direct claim against your insurance company is a breach of contract claim, you would have three years from the date of the alleged breach, not the date of the accident. Of course, if you are suing both your insurance company and the at fault driver, you definitely want to base the deadline off the date of the accident. In short, this can be complex and difficult to understand, making it imperative that you have the assistance of an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer.
Maryland follows the contributory negligence rule, which can significantly impact car accident claims. Under this rule, if a victim is found to be even partially at fault for an accident, they may be barred from recovering any damages from other parties involved. For example, if a driver is found to be 10% at fault and the other driver is 90% at fault, the driver who bears any degree of fault may be unable to recover compensation. This strict rule often leads to victims receiving no compensation, even if their contribution to the accident was minimal. Maryland is one of only five states in the entire country that still adopts contributory negligence.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is a no-fault coverage that provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Maryland law requires insurance companies to offer PIP coverage with every auto insurance policy, although drivers have the option to waive this coverage in writing. The minimum PIP coverage limits in Maryland are:
It’s important to note that PIP coverage does not compensate for pain and suffering and has specific deadlines for filing a claim, usually within one year of the accident.
Maryland law mandates that all drivers carry minimum auto insurance coverage to legally operate a vehicle. The minimum car insurance requirements in Maryland are as follows:
While these are the minimum coverage limits required by law, drivers have the option to purchase higher coverage limits or additional coverage options, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, to enhance their financial protection in the event of an accident.
If you suffer serious injuries in a car accident and wish to pursue full and fair compensation from the insurance companies, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the Maryland statute of limitations for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for auto accident lawsuits in Maryland is three years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this timeframe, your case may be time-barred, and you may lose your right to seek compensation.
An exception to this rule exists for minors involved in accidents. If the injured plaintiff is a minor at the time of the accident, the three-year statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 18. In such cases, the minor has until their 21st birthday to file a lawsuit.
Car accident lawsuits in Maryland often revolve around negligence claims. To establish that the other driver was negligent and at fault for the accident, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the driver failed to exercise the level of care expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances. Evidence of the other driver’s violation of traffic laws can often be used to support the claim of negligence. However, it’s essential to show that the violation of the law was designed to prevent the type of harm that occurred.
Defendants in Maryland car accident lawsuits commonly assert two primary defenses: contributory negligence and disputed damages/injuries.
While economic damages are relatively easy to calculate in most cases, the primary value of many claims is the non-economic portion, or pain and suffering. Having an experienced and aggressive lawyer will help ensure that the value of your claim will be maximized. A good personal injury attorney will be able to know exactly how to piece together the various damages in your case and present that case to the insurance company (or the jury if the case goes to trial) in order to extract the most compensation.
Knowing the policy limits information, both of the at fault driver and under your own insurance policy, are critical components in that valuation as is knowing the relevant legal standards involved, including contributory negligence if it arguably applies.
Understanding the value of a personal injury claim in Maryland involves considering various factors, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and future losses. Maryland’s uninsured motorist law, contributory negligence rule, and minimum car insurance requirements further shape the landscape of personal injury claims in the state. It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate these complexities, ensure your rights are protected, and seek fair compensation for your injuries and losses. If you have been involved in a car accident in Maryland, reach out to Dubo Law to guide you through the legal process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.