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Silver Spring Car Accident Lawyers

sideswipe accident

You didn’t plan for this. No one does. Car accidents take us all by surprise. We cannot plan for them, and once they happen, they trigger a series of inconveniences and repercussions that can last a lifetime. As if life wasn’t already difficult enough before your accident, now you have even more to worry about: car repair and the accompanying bills; other property repair; medical treatment and therapy that is costly both physically and financially; possible legal disputes; offers from the insurance companies that are less than you expected, if the offer even comes at all; emotional distress that follows you each time you slip behind the wheel—the list goes on and on.

Time and again, we have represented people who have been involved in an accident on the road. No matter how big or small the accident, the effects can be lasting. We have seen so many distraught clients break down in our office at the frustration, physical pain, and stress under which they now feel they are drowning.

We are ready, willing, and able to take your case. The law protects you if you have been injured in an auto accident due to the negligent actions of others. If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident in the state of Maryland, speak to the Silver Spring lawyers at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered today. We can help you pursue the fair compensation you deserve for your damages.

Do I really need to speak to an auto accident attorney?

car accident injury

Some people think that there is no need to speak to a lawyer when he or she has been involved in a minor car accident, but even minor accidents can lead to major legal issues. The severity of your car’s damage has no bearing on the severity of injuries that you may have suffered in that accident. People may walk away from major collisions unscathed and others suffer permanent or major injuries as the result of a fender bender.

Some people choose not to speak to an attorney because they do not believe that they were injured seriously enough in the car collision. But accident injuries are strange, and it sometimes takes days or even weeks to see symptoms. It’s imperative that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible in order to evaluate the claims you might be able to bring.

Also, you may not think that you need to speak to a lawyer, but the other parties involved in the accident may have already reached out to one. If you delay, you may soon find yourself sitting across the table from an experienced lawyer who has been retained to bring a lawsuit against you.

Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t give the other party the chance to deprive you of the compensation that is rightfully yours. You deserve financial justice. Take the prudent course and contact the auto accident lawyers at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered.

What should you do after an auto accident?

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After an auto accident, it is very important that you gather as much information as possible. You should record the names, contact information, driver’s license numbers and expiration dates, insurance information, and car information of all parties involved in the accident. This includes other drivers, passengers, and witnesses.

It is very important that the witnesses talk with the police; if they cannot or if they refuse, you should ask them what they saw and record everything that they say. Witness testimonials can be very important down the road if a lawsuit is brought against you. In representing you and your auto accident injury claim, we often utilize the words of the witness to build a case for your innocence and the other side’s fault.

If possible, take photos of the scene, take notes of weather and road conditions, and record the name and badge number of the officer at the scene. The more information you have the better your chances of obtaining financial compensation for your damages.
We also recommend that you see a health care professional who you trust. You need to be examined for injuries and treated for them as soon as possible. At DuBoff & Associates, Chartered, your health and well-being is our priority. Before we do anything else, we will make sure that you are physically stable, recommending you to health care professionals we trust if necessary. You may not be able to see any bumps, scrapes, or bruises, but it is important to remember that some of the most life-altering injuries are invisible to the naked eye and can surface tenfold months or even years down the road. Early treatment and/or therapy could prevent this from happening.

What if the other driver is uninsured?

car accident

If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you still have options. Most drivers do not know what kind of car insurance they have. This is why we encourage all of our customers to bring in their policies so that we can walk them through exactly what their particular policy covers and does not cover. We can also advise you on possible changes to your policy that could provide you with better protection in the future.

We value educating our clients on their legal matters. Whether you are confused about your insurance policy or something else entirely, we encourage you to ask us questions. That is what we are here for. This is our area of expertise; we want to ease your mind as much as possible by helping you to understand the complicated legal process in which you now have found yourself entangled.

What if I’ve already worked with my insurance company?

Yes, we can still help you. Typically, what insurance companies want to get out of any injured person involved is a recorded statement, as well as their social security number. They want to get the recorded statement so that they can use that against you at a later date.

In many instances when someone is hurt in an accident, they may not immediately realize they are injured. If you speak with an insurance company within 24 hours, you may say in the recorded statement, “I’m okay. I’m just a little sore.”

Fast-forward a few days later; all of a sudden, that person who said they were “a little sore” can no longer get out of bed. They can’t even bend over and tie their shoes. Because of their pain, they’re being forced to miss time from work. Now they realize, “This is not getting better. This is not going away. I need to go see my doctor.”

Your doctor is going to examine you, and he or she may say, “You need to go to physical therapy for six weeks to three months.”
With this new development in your health, the insurance company may try to hold your initial comments of “a little sore” against you.  They may question your medical bills and time away from work.
The insurance company may take small bits of information out of context and run with it. That’s all the insurance company is trying to do at that point. I must say, there are two sides to insurance companies for a personal injury claim.

Does the at-fault driver have to pay for my damages?

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The short answer to this question is yes, but as with any piece of the law there are some dynamics that make the answer to this question dependent on other factors.
Even though the other driver’s insurance company has accepted responsibility for the damage to your vehicle, there are still several questions that need to be answered. 

Will the insurance company pay for all of the repairs, or will it say some of the damage was pre-existing? Do you have to get your vehicle repaired where the insurance company tells you to go? What if my cell phone or laptop is damaged? What if my vehicle is declared a total loss?

This is why it is important to document everything that happened. The first information to retrieve is things like the names, addresses, driver’s licenses, insurance information, and phone numbers of anyone involved, including witnesses. It is also good to ask for the investigating officer’s name, badge number, and report number. Next, gather things like photos of your car, the scene, and your injuries in order to show what all occurred the day the accident happened.

If you are physically injured in any way, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention. Your safety should always be your first priority. However, when you are at the doctor’s office, it is also important to inform them of any pre-existing conditions you had before the accident and any pain or injury that has started occurring after the accident. Doing so will help document what injuries were not a cause of the wreck and what injuries were. Plus, the doctor’s notes of what injuries were caused by the accident will be able to be used as evidence of your trauma, therefore making it more difficult for the insurance agency to deny you money for your damages.

After taking all of these steps and gathering your information, it is important and very helpful to contact our firm. Having a lawyer look your case over and help guide you along the way will ensure that no key step is forgotten about. An attorney would also know when the insurance company is giving a low-ball offer, and how much you actually deserve for your injuries and damages.

Can I still pursue legal help even though my accident wasn’t recent?

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Yes. Under Maryland law, an injured person has three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit.

If you have been injured in an auto collision and you didn’t pursue any legal help shortly after the accident, your medical bills may be piling up. If you feel like the insurance companies are coming after you—you’re getting letters and phone calls, and you’re starting to feel uncomfortable with the process—please call DuBoff & Associates, Chartered. We’ll advise you of your rights and help you make confident decisions moving forward.

Who’s going to fix my vehicle after my accident?

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The liability insurance company—or the insurance company of the person who hit you—has 45 days to accept or deny liability for the purposes of property damage. Typically, they will step in and be responsible for repairing your vehicle and putting you into a rental.

If you find yourself in a situation where the liability insurance company is denying your claim or they’re dragging their feet and haven’t accepted or denied your claim, you can turn toward your own policy for rental coverage. However, you would need to have elected to have rental coverage on your own policy.
Essentially, you have three options for repairing your vehicle.

Option 1: Take your damaged vehicle to a repair shop of the insurance company’s choosing.
This type of repair shop is called a 
preferred shop. You can take your car to a preferred insurance company shop to get repaired, but know that the mechanic who’s working on your vehicle probably has the insurance company’s best interest in mind and not necessarily yours.

Option 2: Have your vehicle appraised by the insurance company.
The insurance company, after an appraisal, may offer you a check right then and there for your repairs. Let’s say you accept, cash the check, and then get an appraisal from a repair shop you trust that is higher than the check amount. This could pose a problem, as the acceptance of the check may be considered a final “offer and acceptance” for your vehicle repairs. Consequentially, you may need to negotiate and fight the insurance company to have them pay for any supplemental repair costs above and beyond the amount of the initial check they issued to you.

Option 3: Have your car appraised by the insurance company and then take your car to a mechanic or auto collision center you trust.
The insurance company will pay directly to the mechanic or auto shop of your choosing. This is the best option going forward for someone who wants to have his or her vehicle repaired to the fullest extent.

What kind of things can I claim if I file a personal injury claim after a car accident?

If it can be proven that the other driver was at fault, you may be able to file a claim for some or all of the following:

-Current and future medical expenses
-Loss of income
-Rehabilitation expenses
-Diminished earning capacity
-Pain and suffering
-Loss of the use of a limb
-Permanent or temporary disability
-Full or partial disability

Depending on the circumstances, there may also be other items you could include in your claim.

Do I really need a car accident attorney even if it was just a small “fender bender”?

It’s always best to speak with a qualified auto accident attorney whenever you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident. Sometimes injuries are not apparent right away and you may not feel symptoms for days or even weeks afterward. These are called “delayed onset” injuries.

You may also notice later that your car has suffered damage that wasn’t apparent when the accident first occurred. After some time has passed, you will find that arguing with the other driver’s insurance company without the help of a lawyer can be extremely difficult.

What can I do to help my own case when I’ve had a car accident?

If you haven’t suffered any injuries that prevent you from doing so, and you can find a safe place to do it from, you should use your phone to take pictures and document everything that you can. It is especially helpful to get photos of the vehicles in their final resting places and before the vehicles are moved from the roadway. You should take pictures of more or less everything. Take photos of anyone that was injured. Take photos of the vehicles from different angles. Photograph specific damage to the vehicles or any other property. Snap pictures of marks on the roadways, street signs, anything and everything that you can think of. Also, take clear close up photos of the other person’s insurance card, vehicle registration card and driver’s license.

The more visual documentation you have of the accident, the more your attorney will have to work with and it will help immensely with the investigation of what happened.

What should I do immediately after a car accident?

The first thing you should do is call 911 to make sure that police arrive to file an official report of the incident and medical attention is available for anyone who might be in immediate need of first aid. A police report is invaluable for legal purposes, and help for anyone that has been injured is, of course, crucial.

What does a typical car accident personal injury case involve?

A typical case usually moves through the following phases:

-You call us for a free legal consultation with one of our car accident attorneys
-Our firm deals with the insurance companies regarding your vehicle repair and rental
-You go to the doctors and get the treatment you need
-Our firm handles all communications with the various insurance companies involved
-You achieve maximum medical improvement and get discharged from your doctors
-Our firm creates a Demand package which is a mix of the medical and legal aspects of your particular claim
-Our firm, working with you, negotiates the highest possible settlement offer pre-litigation from the insurance company
-We settle if you are happy with settlement offer
-We fight for you and file suit if you are not happy with the settlement offer 

In every case, we will handle all of the legal “red tape”, but whenever a decision needs to be made that will affect the outcome of the case, we will explain the situation to you and the final choice will be up to you. For example, we will not accept any type of settlement without your prior consent.

Other Considerations Following an Auto Accident

The Montgomery County and Prince George’s County auto accident attorneys at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered spend every day counseling victims of car accidents and helping them work through their particular issues. They accomplish this in a number of ways:

  • Advising clients on what to do after an auto accident, because taking certain types of actions can make the difference between a successful personal injury lawsuit and a failed one
  • Explaining how to determine fault in an auto accident, which is the basis of any successful legal action stemming from the incident
  • Filing an auto accident lawsuit
  • Explaining the legal aspects of common auto accident injuries
  • Taking the time to describe how a car accident attorney can help
  • Answering auto accident FAQs, including questions about Maryland automobile accident laws and how to understand your auto insurance policy

Maryland Car Accident Statistics

In Maryland, car accidents are not uncommon. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, the following statistics apply to motor vehicle accidents in Maryland in 2016. There were 472 fatal car crashes in the state this year. Of those, there were 505 actual deaths (this includes multiple fatalities in a single accident). The deaths per 100,000 population was 8.4, which is about moderate compared to other states.

Across the country, there were 35,092 people who died in a motor vehicle accident in 2015. This is about 7.2 percent higher than the prior year. The agency also reports that 28 people per day are killed each year as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving a driver that is under the influence of alcohol. About 40 percent of all accidents involve alcohol of some type. 33 percent are related to reckless driving. Additionally, 30 percent are related to speeding.

Maryland car accident statistics indicate that the number of car accidents occurring in the state are on the way up. The Maryland Department of Transportation indicates that two billion more miles were driven from the period of 2014 to 2016. And, information indicates that 91 percent of drivers as well as their passengers take steps to keep themselves safe, such as wearing seat belts. The agency continues to work to make modifications to laws and enforcement to reduce the amount of accidents that occur. Nevertheless, rates of accidents continue to increase year over year.

Maryland Car Accident Settlement Calculator

It’s a common myth to believe a standard car accident settlement calculator exists. There is no simple method for calculating the amount of loss an individual has. In simplistic terms, it is possible to add up all of the monetary value that a victim suffers as a result of the car accident. That can form a basis of any claim. However, many non-specific and hard-to-value elements exist in most cases as well.

What Settlements Include

Settlements for car accidents may include losses for medical bills, lost time at work, and long-term rehab. They can also include non economic compensation. This includes things like emotional distress, loss of affection, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Defining this limit is very difficult to do. Generally, each case is taken individually to assess what type of loss the victim suffers and to what severity.

Contributory Negligence

It is also important to factor in contributory negligence. This is a rule in Maryland that prevents someone from recovering damages if they are found to be at fault in the case. This can significantly reduce the amount that you can claim in any case. Even if you are just one percent at fault, this limits your claim and settlement.

To determine the amount of claim likely to occur, individuals need to work with a car accident settlement attorney. It’s important not to simply settle with an insurance carrier but to have an attorney calculate the actual losses suffered both immediately and in the long term.

Auto Accident Attorneys Who Care

The Silver Spring auto accident lawyers at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered possess more than 55 years of combined experience handling personal injury and auto accident lawsuits in the Greater Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Area. Contact us online or at 301.495.3131 to arrange a free initial consultation about your case today.

Home and hospital visits are available to our seriously injured clients who are unable to make it to our office, and we offer evening and weekend appointments when necessary. We are pleased to offer free initial consultations in personal injury cases and contingency fee arrangements when appropriate.

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