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Are police reports admissible in evidence at Maryland car accident trials if the police officer is there?
This answer confounds lay people but lawyers try and admit police reports with some regularity and invariably unsucessfully. However, the officer can use the report to " refresh their recollection" which can have the same impact.
Do police reports come into evidence if the officer is absent?
No they don't except in some small claims cases and then only in the discretion of the trial judge.
Do I have to settle my car accident claim for property damage and personal injuries at the same time?
No. They are dealt with separately. Property damage is routinely resolved early in the process whereas personal injury cases often take far longer.
Do I Have to Settle my Maryland Car Crash Case?
No you don't have to but in many instances you will receive more compensation by doing so. The fact is that many Maryland car accident cases involve limited available insurance and once the insurance limits are gobbled up, it is rarely worth pursuing the at-fault driver for any perceived underpayment.
Trials of large cases invariably involve medical expert testimony and that is expensive. Similarly depositions if frequent enough and long enough can eat up money that would otherwise go in your pocket.
What is an IME?
An IME is a so-called independent medical exam. The qualification that it is "so called" stems from the fact that when an insurance company sends you to an IME doctor, they are choosing one who is unlikely to be "independent".
Which is to say that a small cadre of doctors make large amounts of money seeing victims of personal injury and consequently can be relied upon by the insurance industry to opine that the injured person wasn't that hurt or didn't require the treatment they underwent or a host of mother opinions calculated to devalue the victim's claims.
Will the at-fault driver's insurance company pay my medical bills?
No they will not. There are some circumstances where an at-fault driver's PIP insurance may pay some of your medical bills but that is the exception more than the rule. At-fault insurance companies will pay what a judge or jury makes them pay, which can include your medical expenses but only if the judge or jury awards those medical expenses.
Do I have to go to the insurance company's doctor before undergoing surgery?
Periodically our clients are compelled to undergo surgery as a result of vehicle accident injuries. Increasingly insurance companies are pushing for crash victims to see their doctor before surgery. Clark and Steinhorn, LLC take the position that crash victims have no obligation to see the doctor of the insurance company whatsoever. If a case is in litigation the at fault driver can through his or her attorney seek an examination by a physician of their choosing but even that exam can be resisted or constrained.
Do I have to file a lawsuit in my Maryland car accident case?
At Clark & Steinhorn, LLC we are often asked if our clients have to file a lawsuit in their Maryland car and truck accident cases. The answer of course is no. Nobody has to file a lawsuit ever.
However, a lawsuit may be necessary in order to obtain fair compensation. Insurance companies often low-ball injured crash victims before suit. Some lawyers and victims take the unduly low offers to avoid the time and hassle of a lawsuit. However, when they do this they often leave money on the table.
At Clark & Steinhorn, LLC we try and advise our clients on the best way to maximize their economic compensation while minimizing the hassles and delays.
I was in bad accident. Do I have to go to the insurance company's doctor?
Periodically we are asked about insurance company requested medical appointments and whether victims of crashes must attend them? The answer is maybe. If a case is in litigation (a lawsuit has been filed) then the answer is generally yes. However, there are various limitations. These include limits on how far you would have to travel for such an examination, how many times and when the exam is scheduled.
Often the insurance company has to provide transportation or pay for mileage to and from the doctor and parking.
However, if the case isn't in a lawsuit the answer is no unless under some circumstances the P.I.P. insurance can request such an exam, which is however quite rare in Maryland.
Injured in an Uber or Lyft car accident, what should you do?
The most obvious answer is get necessary and appropriate medical care and call an experienced lawyer. The source of insurance proceeds available to you and the amount is quite fact specific and requires a detailed and thorough investigation. Call Clark and Steinhorn, LLC at (301) 317-1001
Why do I need a lawyer for my Maryland Car or Truck Crash Case?
There is an easy answer and a more complex one. The easy one is that insurance companies routinely take advantage of victims of car and truck accidents. They know if you don't take their "final" offer that the odds of you successfully filing and pursuing a lawsuit are very low.
The more complex answer involves the fact that insurance company adjusters are trained to elicit information from victims of Maryland car and truck accidents calculated to diminish the value of their cases and to lower expectations at settlement. Lawyers serve as the spokesperson for injured car accident victims and understand the true value of cases. Lawyers always have recourse to filing a lawsuit if the insurance company is reluctant or unwilling to offer a fair settlement.
The lawyers at Clark and Steinhorn, LLC are highly knowledgeable about the complex interplay between different kinds of insurance coverages. Strategic use of insurances available to victims of Maryland car crashes can maximize the settlement or verdict they receive. Health insurance, PIP insurance, disability insurance and of course liability insurance all come into play in a major crash and need to be managed properly.
Workers compensation and PIP interact uniquely particularly in cases with uninsured or underinsured motorist claims. Don't be a victim twice, consult Clark and Steinhorn, LLC to ensure you receive all of your fair compensation.
I was hit by an uninsured motorist, what do I do?
In Maryland and the District of Columbia auto insurance is mandatory and failure to have it can result in a host of penalties. Despite this we see crashes with uninsured motorists frequently. This invariably worries the victims of these car accidents and at Clark and Steinhorn, LLC we reassure our clients that this is not an insurmountable problem.
Uninsured motorist coverage is included in everyone's auto insurance policy and serves to protect car accident victims from the actions of irresponsible drivers. The funds that your insurance carrier pays in these benefits will not raise your rates and the uninsured driver can be pursued to repay these monies. For more questions contact us. https://www.maryland-law.com/library/laurel-lawyer-on-maryland-uninsured-motorist-coverage.cfm
I've Been Injured in A Maryland Car Crash How Will I Pay For MY Medical Expenses?
There are a variety of ways that Maryland Car Crash Victims can ensure that their medical expenses are paid for. The first line of payment involves P.I.P. insurance. Personal Injury Protection benefits are a limited amount of "No-Fault" Insurance benefits that emanate from the insurance policy of the driver's car. The second line of payment is health insurance. The third is use of a physician or other healthcare provider who is willing to be paid out of the settlement of the victim's car accident claim.
The interplay between these payment sources is complex and consulting an experienced attorney at Clark and Steinhorn, LLC is advisable. (301) 317-1001 or Maryland-Law.com
I have been involved in a collision, what should I do?
Any time you are involved in a collision the first and most important thing to do is to put on your emergency flashers or other warning devices to ensure that no other vehicles become involved in the collision. Once this has been accomplished, contact the police or other local authorities and provide them information regarding where the collision took place, how serious the collision appears to be and if you know, whether there are injuries which will require medical personnel.
Often it will take some time for the police and other authorities to arrive and if it is safe to do so, it would be desirable to obtain as much information as possible about the collision. Obtaining the names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information of the vehicle operators and owners involved in the collision is very important. On occasion we find uninsured or unauthorized drivers involved in such collisions and getting the license plate numbers of the vehicles, along with their make and model can also be important.
In this era of camera phones, pictures of the location of the vehicles after the collision, the damage to the vehicles, and any skid marks or other evidence that could later demonstrate clearly how the collision happened should be taken, if it is safe to do so.
Sometimes, in the aftermath of a collision, tempers flare and it is important to keep calm in the face of a potentially dangerous situation. On some occasions drivers who cause collisions readily admit their responsibility for the collision and if they could be encouraged to do so in front of any witnesses at the scene or in front of the police officer or other authorities, pay careful attention to what is specifically said by those individuals and in front of whom it is said. Sometimes it is useful to take written notes at the scene about what was said and to whom.
When the authorities arrive at the scene make sure that you get the names and badge numbers of any police officers as well as their employers. If a police report is authorized, make sure to get the number of the police report. Often mistakes are made between county police officers and state police officers and locating them later to testify concerning their observations becomes very difficult. It could also be useful to take specific notes about the scene of the collision, including the weather conditions, time of day, location and any factors that may have resulted in the collision.
Assess carefully whether you feel you have been injured at the scene. Often drivers find that later in the day they end up going to the emergency room for injuries they sustained in a collision. The excitement and adrenaline associated with being involved in a collision will often have the affect of reducing the awareness of the accident participant as to any pain or difficulties they are suffering. At many trials of collision cases, defendants and police officers testify that they were told at the scene that the injured party was feeling fine and that that individual got in their car and drove away from the scene and went to work. This can result in judges and juries underestimating the extent to which a collision has brought about an injury and giving little credence to later complaints that collision victims describe.
What should you do if you believe you are injured?
If you believe at the scene of a collision that you are injured, it is important to make sure that the authorities are aware of this. They will often invite you to leave the scene of the collision in an ambulance and while we would never recommend any unnecessary medical treatment, it is often better to be safe than sorry. If you think that you are injured at the scene of the collision but do not wish to go to the hospital in an ambulance, advise the authorities that you are injured but that you are going to make your own way to your treating doctor or a hospital emergency room at your earliest convenience.
Whether you go to the hospital in an ambulance, in your own vehicle, or with a friend or family member, it is important to completely describe all areas of your body that were injured. A broken finger or toe or a large cut may be the primary focus of your attention and that of the hospital or doctor. Long after that fracture or cut has healed, an injured party may have serious neck or back problems that trouble them for the rest of their life which they did not mention at the emergency room. This would be used by the insurance companies and their lawyers to attempt to suggest that your permanent back or neck injury is unrelated to the collision as it was not mentioned at the first visit to the emergency room. It is better to give a detailed and comprehensive review of all areas of your body that were injured to any degree at the outset rather than to have to explain later why you did not notice problems with an area of serious injury until days, weeks or even months afterwards.
If you go to the hospital and they recommend following-up with another doctor, it is important to do so. Often, in the immediate aftermath of a collision, the symptoms we suffer will increase with time rather than decrease. If at the emergency room you had a slightly stiff neck and a sore back, the only way to clearly demonstrate that these conditions both worsened and were related to the collision, is to go see an appropriate physician and to describe your problems and the fact that they have worsened. Our experience in trying many collision cases is that unless specific injuries are documented in medical records, jurors will not accept them as being related to the collision. Medical documentation of the extent and severity of your injuries is vitally important to getting fair compensation for your claim.
Should I talk to the insurance company?
Any time there is a collision there are automatically several different insurance policies involved. There is the insurance policy of your vehicle and the insurance policy of the vehicles of other drivers who caused the collision. You are not obliged to talk to the insurance company for the other driver. The insurance company for the other driver is focused solely on saving money and paying you as little as possible. Many insurance adjusters can be quite charming, friendly and understanding but they have no obligation to you; only to their policy holder. If you are injured, you should immediately contact the highly qualified accident collision lawyers at Clark & Steinhorn to receive advice and help in dealing with the insurance companies. Even if the subject is repairing your motor vehicle, receiving a rental car and other mundane matters, insurance adjusters are trained to elicit information from injured participants that is harmful to their claim.
Should I notify my insurance company?
The answer to this is yes. If the other driver is at fault, it is likely that his or her insurance company will pay for the damage to your vehicle. However, sometimes this will take a long time and your insurance company also has an obligation to repair your vehicle and often to provide you a rental car until your vehicle is repaired or replaced. Further, many automobile insurance policies provide personal injury protection or PIP benefits and Medpay benefits which can serve to pay medical expenses you incur as well as lost wages while your claim against the other driver and his or her insurance company is pending. Again, you can speak to your insurance company about the accident but they too have economic incentives to minimize the value of your claim. Notify your insurance company as to the date, time, and whereabouts of the collision and a brief description of how the collision took place. If you are injured you can tell them that you are and that you do not fully know the extent of any injuries you have. Our advice would be to contact Clark & Steinhorn to assist you in dealing with any insurance companies, police officers, doctors, hospitals, or healthcare providers.
How is it determined who was responsible for a collision?
Every state and the District of Columbia have somewhat different rules for determining accident liability or responsibility. What may appear to you to be a collision obviously caused by another driver may appear to the insurance companies more questionable. Again, there are incentives for drivers who cause collisions to tell their insurance companies that they were not at fault. They are often concerned about their insurance rates rising, tickets for their poor driving behavior, and potential civil liability if you obtain a judgment against them. One important factor in determining who is responsible for a collision is the information contained in the police report. There are occasions where the police officer either misunderstands how a collision took place or alternately appears to be interested in providing a report for one driver or another even if it is in contradiction to the facts of the collision. It is important that you describe how the collision happened to the investigating officer at the scene, but often in serious collisions the extent of the injury or circumstances make it impossible to tell the officer how the collision happened. If the police officer visits you at the hospital to discuss the collision it is useful to have another friend or family member present when the discussion takes place to ensure that the police accurately understands how you believe the collision took place and to ensure that your description of the collision is not affected by any medicines you might be taking, or the seriousness of injuries you might have suffered. There are occasions where police officers have difficulty reconciling the descriptions of the collision based upon their discussions with the participants and witnesses. This is where having pictures whether from a cell phone or camera can be very helpful.
Police reports do not determine who is at fault but they can be a useful tool. Most times the police officer did not actually see the collision take place, and describes how the collision happened based upon the descriptions of the participants and witnesses and observations made at the scene of the collision.
How does automobile/truck collision insurance work?
This can be either a very simple matter or a complex one depending upon the circumstances of the collision, the location of the collision, and the insurance companies involved. The laws of the District of Columbia are very different from those of Maryland or Virginia. The application of those laws to individual collisions can be difficult. Suppose one is a Maryland resident with a Maryland insurance policy who is involved in a collision in the District of Columbia while working for a Virginia employer. It is possible that the injured party could make personal injury protection and/or Medpay claims on their Maryland insurance policy while pursuing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company and a workers compensation claim in either Virginia or the District of Columbia. As one could imagine there are very many complex scenarios that require a serious legal evaluation by someone experience performing these cases.
The basic rule of thumb is that the injured party makes a claim against the insurance company of the driver responsible for the collision. The claim can be for many things including past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, loss of household or family services, and a host of other losses or difficulties which are generally encompassed by the term “pain and suffering”.
Will the other drivers insurance company pay my medical expenses and lost wages as they result?
Generally the other driver’s insurance company does not pay these expenses. The typical process is that a demand is submitted to the insurance company once you have completed all of your medical treatment and an accurate tally can be made of your medical expenses, lost wages and other costs along with the medical evaluation of what if any future problems you will likely have as a result of the collision. An extensive negotiation process often takes place and either a fair and reasonable offer is finally made or if it is not, a lawsuit is filed against the other driver.
This process will often take years. As a result, it is important to benefit from protections including insurance policies, health insurance, sick leave and disability leave to assist you in reaching the point where the case can be settled. The complex interplay of these many policies and provisions requires the input of lawyers experience in dealing with such cases.