Accidents are a leading cause of death and disability in the US, but you might not realize how often you are at risk of being injured. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional injuries are the fourth-ranking cause of death, with almost 201,000 fatalities every year. Another 122.7 million people require medical care for accidental injuries at their physicians’ offices or hospital emergency rooms.
Maryland personal injury accident laws protect victims of accidents, allowing them to seek compensation from the at-fault party. The legal process involves filing a claim with an insurance company, and you may need to go to court if the insurer refuses to pay. With either scenario, there are a few guidelines that you need to know. The first is retaining a Baltimore County personal injury lawyer to assist with the process, but some additional rules to follow after an accident include:
1. Always get medical care first.
Your health is the most important consideration, so get proper treatment based on the severity of your injuries. The ER is appropriate for serious, life-threatening harm, while an urgent care center works for injuries that require same-day treatment.
2. You can and should collect evidence.
Depending on your injuries, do your best to gather information at the scene of the accident. Use your cell phone camera to photograph:
- Damage to vehicles;
- Dangerous conditions on property;
- Your injuries; and,
- Any other relevant details.
3. The insurer is not your friend.
In a typical accident case, you are filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer – under a business, property, or homeowners’ insurance policy. The agent assigned to your claim may seem helpful, but always remember that these are for-profit companies. They protect their policyholders and their own bottom line, and your claim is lower in priority.
4. Do not engage with the claims adjuster.
You should always be polite, but provide the contact information for your lawyer instead of engaging in conversation with the insurance company employee. You might reveal too much, and it may be premature to discuss injuries when you are still receiving treatment.
5. Remember Maryland’s harsh contributory negligence rule.
Every US state has a law that focuses on the victim’s conduct in an accident case. If that person’s own negligence caused or contributed to the incident, these factors affect the victim’s compensation. In Maryland, a person will be barred from recovering any monetary damages under the circumstances. The harsh contributory negligence rule is a key reason that it is so crucial to follow Rules #3 and #4 above.
Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Accident Attorney is Essential
Whether you are dealing with an insurance company or suing in court, you will need experienced representation for an accident claim. For additional details on your rights, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman. You can set up a no-cost case review at our offices in Owings Mills or Glen Burnie by calling 410.363.6848 or visiting our website. After learning more about your situation, we can get started with important tasks.