Car Accident Laws in Maryland
Knowing Maryland car accident laws is part of what it takes to be a safe driver. There are a variety of car accident rules and regulations that you must know in order to protect your legal rights if you’re ever injured in a crash.
To make it easier for Marylanders to understand the state’s laws after being in an auto accident, Trollinger Law LLC has put together the following guide. For personalized advice, schedule a free consultation with the firm’s founding attorney, Matt Trollinger, today.
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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in MD?
The statute of limitations is the time limit set by a state for filing a legal claim for compensation. In Maryland, you have three years from the date of the accident to resolve a claim for damages against the at-fault party. This is accomplished by settling the case or by filing a lawsuit prior to the three-year statute of limitations. Failure to file a lawsuit by the deadline could bar your right to compensation forever.
There are a few exceptions. First, wrongful death claims have the same three-year time limit, but the clock starts running on the date of death, not on the day of the crash.
Second, there is an exception to the statute of limitations for minors. Anyone under the age of 18 at the time of a crash has until their 21st birthday to file a claim for damages in Maryland.
Finally, if a person was mentally incapacitated when the crash occurred, the clock begins to run after he or she is deemed legally competent again.
Is Maryland a No-Fault or At-Fault State?
Maryland is an at-fault state for car accidents. That means that drivers are allowed to sue another driver for compensation after a crash. However, there are certain insurance benefits that are not based on fault, which gives drivers additional options to recover damages after a collision.
For example, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is must be offered by insurance companies in Maryland. Maryland drivers can include as part of their insurance policy. PIP is a no-fault benefit. Using PIP, drivers can be reimbursed for their medical expenses and a percentage of their lost wages after an accident.
The main advantage of PIP is that drivers don’t have to supply evidence of fault in order to be compensated. That means PIP benefits are paid out quickly.
By contrast, drivers filing a personal injury claim must supply compelling evidence that another party is at fault before compensation can be awarded. With PIP, you can rest assured that financial benefits for some of your accident-related expenses can come immediately while other claims are pending. These benefits are time sensitive, however. In Maryland, a PIP application with your insurance company must be completed within one year of the collision.
Negligence Laws in Maryland
Determining who is at fault for an accident is critical in order to receive compensation after a car accident. Maryland is one of a handful of states that operates under a strict doctrine called contributory negligence.
The contributory negligence law puts a harsh restriction on fault. If you are found even one percent responsible for the car accident that injured you, you will be unable to recover any compensation. Because the law is so restrictive, it’s important to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can develop a strong claim that entirely places fault on the responsible party. Sometimes, it’s not always clear who is to blame.
Who Can File a Car Accident Claim in Maryland?
Individuals who can prove that the other driver behaved negligently, whether by driving drunk, drowsy, distracted or for any other reason could be eligible to recover compensation after being injured in a car accident in Maryland.
If you believe your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you should speak to an attorney immediately. Even if you believe that you might be partly to blame for the crash, it’s better to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to have them evaluate your claim than to face the insurance company alone.
Your attorney will be able to tell you if you can seek compensation and if you are eligible, they can help you get what you’re owed. At Trollinger Law LLC, learning your options can be done during your free consultation. There is literally nothing to lose by contacting us today.
Car Insurance Laws
Maryland has specific minimum car insurance requirements for all drivers. All Maryland drivers are required to carry:
- $30,000 in bodily injury or wrongful death coverage for a single person in an accident (if the driver was at fault)
- $60,000 in total bodily injury or wrongful death coverage for everyone involved in a single accident (if the driver was at fault)
- $15,000 in coverage for any property damaged or destroyed by the driver as a result of the accident
It’s important to remember that these are minimum requirements. Many car accident injuries, especially severe ones, will have medical expenses that well exceed the minimum policy limits. For this reason, it’s smart to purchase as much insurance as you can to protect yourself if the worst occurs.
Is a Police Report Required After a Car Accident?
A police report is not required after all car accidents in Maryland. If the accident just results in property damage, drivers are only required to move their accident off the roadway (if it’s safe to do so) and exchange insurance information. Maryland has an easy form driver can fill out to document the accident without getting the police involved in cases where there are no injuries.
However, there are certain situations in which police are required to investigate a car accident. These situations include:
- If someone is injured or killed
- A driver hits an unattended vehicle or unattended property, and the owner cannot be located
- One or more of the cars cannot be safely moved
- The accident involves a drunk driver
- Hit-and-run accidents
- One of the drivers refuses to exchange information or is unable to do so
- One of the drivers hit a domestic animal (a cat, dog, etc.)
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
While you’re not required to hire a lawyer after being injured in a car accident, it’s highly recommended to at least speak with one.
Given the strict requirements to prove liability in Maryland car accident claims, you’ll benefit from an attorney’s help to secure maximum compensation. Insurance adjusters are skilled in tactics meant to deny, dismiss, or delay payouts on injury claims. With a trusted lawyer by your side, you have an advocate who is experienced in dealing with insurers and building claims to counter their arguments.
How Trollinger Law in Waldorf, MD Can Help
Car accident claims in Maryland can be a challenge to overcome, but with the right legal representation, you can be protected rather than hurt by them. Here’s what Trollinger Law LLC can do for you:
- Thoroughly investigate your car accident case to determine liability: It may seem at first glance that you are partially to blame for what happened, but appearances can be deceiving. We’ll launch our own investigation and collect evidence to identify the party(s) who caused your crash.
- Handle all legal communications and paperwork: There are lots of forms to fill out and deadlines to meet if you want to succeed with your Maryland car accident claim. We’ll do the legal legwork for you and communicate with the insurance company directly so you don’t have to. Your main job is to heal.
- Fight for the maximum value of your claim: Under Maryland law, you’re entitled to a wide range of damages after a car accident. This includes your medical costs, lost wages, the value of any damaged or destroyed property, reduced earning potential, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more. Rest assured that we’ll pursue every dollar that you deserve.
Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Waldorf, MD
If you have more questions about Maryland car accident laws or wonder if you have an injury claim in Maryland, Trollinger Law LLC is standing by to answer your questions.