If you’re injured in a car accident in Maryland, you may be hit with multiple losses that include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages from the responsible party, but the process for pursuing your claim depends on state law regarding “fault” and “no-fault” insurance coverage: Maryland is a fault state. While you should trust an experienced auto accident attorney to assist you in obtaining financial recovery for your losses, some general information on car insurance should be helpful.
Fault Versus No-Fault Car Insurance: A fault system determines who will pay for your losses if you’re involved in an accident. In a no-fault state, an injured person must first turn to his or her own car insurance policy to obtain compensation for damages; once this amount is exhausted, you may pursue a claim against the other driver. The fault of one or more drivers in the accident is inconsequential.
In a fault state such as Maryland, you aren’t required to exhaust your own insurance policy coverage before pursuing the driver whose actions led to your injuries.
Your Options if You’re Injured: You have three options to pursue the responsible party for compensation in a fault state:
- You can file a claim with your own car insurance carrier;
- You can sue the other driver for your injuries directly; OR,
- You may pursue the other driver’s insurance company for compensation.
In most cases, you’ll go with option #3 to seek financial recovery. It’s likely you wouldn’t seek compensation from your own insurance provider for an accident that wasn’t your fault. If you attempt to sue the at-fault driver under option #2, he or she will likely bring in the insurance company to pay any compensation to you; after all, that’s the reason motorists pay insurance premiums. Therefore, it’s typical to initiate your case by filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
Car Insurance Coverage in Maryland: There are certain minimum insurance coverage amounts under Maryland law. Drivers must carry at least:
- $30,000 policy coverage for the injury or death of a single person;
- $60,000 total for injury or death to multiple individuals; and,
- $15,000 for property damage.
If you’re in a serious accident and the other driver carries the minimum coverage, this amount may not be enough to cover all of your losses. With the help from an attorney, you may have options to recover additional amounts directly from the at-fault driver.
Maryland is a fault state for purposes of seeking compensation for your injuries in a car accident, so you have options when deciding to pursue a claim. However, when you file a claim through the other driver’s insurance company, you’re looking at an uphill battle. Insurers don’t make money by paying out large recovery amounts and they will fight you throughout the process, from settlement negotiations to trial. It’s essential to have an attorney on your side to ensure protection of your legal rights. An experienced lawyer will represent you throughout the process to get the highest amount of compensation allowed under the law. For more information on car accidents and “fault” under state law, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss your case.
Watch Michael Freedman discuss the difference between the two types of negligence: